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Tony Flynn

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  1. Today we look at how the Borough of Eccles received the news and how they celebrated. This is how the Eccles and Patricroft Journal broke the news to its readers. At 10.30am on Monday 11th November a group of wounded soldiers from one of the local hospitals were stood outside the newspapers offices on Church Street when the news came through by telegram, and a poster was quickly displayed in the front window for all to see. Elsewhere in Eccles it was reported that the Managing Director of a local spinning mill received the news by telephone and immediately informed the workforce to go home and celebrate on full pay, a rather generous offer. By 11am the news had spread to Patricroft and Peel Green, once again the workers from the local factories and mills poured out onto the streets unable to contain their joy. Factory sirens, hooters and whistles were sounded from the numerous factories along with ships moored on the local Manchester Ship Canal all eager to join in the long awaited celebrations. In the article it says that local schoolchildren excluded from school by the Medical Officer owing to the Influenza epidemic paraded through the streets waving small home made flags. The 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic would go on to kill an estimated 50–100 million people worldwide. One paragraph stood out for me, I assume the girl munition workers were from the Gardners Engineering Works in Peel Green which During World War I made munitions and parts for heavy guns and engines for tanks. Church bells were heard ringing throughout the Borough a sign of once happier times. Even as news came through of the cessation of hostilities news was still coming to local residents news of deaths and disablement of relatives, a sobering thought. Another striking feature of the day was the number of cars and lorries that were bedecked with flags and bunting driving through the town. We were also told that the Anti-Aircraft guns in Winton which were supposed to be secret, how do you hide them? fired a number of blank rounds in celebration, no doubt alarming quite a few people. As dusk approached local children began letting off fireworks which they had presumably hidden away for this big day with rockets lighting up the night sky. A large crowd gathered outside Eccles Town Hall and the Mayor Alderman Bethel gave them a congratulation speech, adding that it was with great sorrow that so many young men had been killed in the conflict. Boy Scouts with Chinese Lanterns congregated outside the Carnegie Library and marched through Eccles with Eccles Borough Band joining in later on in the evening. The Salvation Army Band even got in on the act and paraded through the Borough, finishing off at Eccles Cross where they played the National Anthem at 11pm, a time usually when most people would be safely tucked up in bed. The people fully deserved to let their hair down and dance in the streets but for many, many residents it must have a day tinged with sadness and regret at the thought odf so many loved one's who would never be coming home again.
  2. I looked through the pages of the Salford City Reporter for Monday 11th, November 1918 to see how the newspaper reported how Salford celebrated the end to this terrible carnage which had raged for over four years and had claimed the lives of over a staggering 750,000 British soldiers. These heartbreaking losses decimated city's, towns, villages and hardly any family didn't suffer a fatality, some parents losing as many as four of their son's an horrendous statistic. The news of the signing of the Armistice was received in Salford Town Hall by a phone call from a Manchester newspaper, most likely the Manchester Guardian at 10.30am. The news spread like wildfire throughout Salford and within minutes flags were seen fluttering and bunting was hastily erected across streets as large crowds gathered on what was described as being a "sweet, sunny morning" By 1pm the the people of Salford were celebrating and its worth quoting what the Salford Reporter had to say, The celebrations continued to spread, ships in Salford docks were hastily decorated in flags and their sirens could be heard ringing out. to add to the noise factory sirens also rang out Workers from nearby mills and factories spilled out onto the streets in celebration, soldiers on leave and others in military blue in local hospitals were seen dancing with joy and embracing mill girls, it was reported rather coyly that, In Bexley Square the Mayor and members of the Corporation made congratulatory speeches to the crowds who thronged the Square, Salford Police Band took up their position and played a number of patriotic airs which no doubt added to the air of celebration. A strange story I came across regards the company of Reddaway and Co a rubber works situated on Lissadel Street where the owner Frank Reddaway no doubt swept away with patriotic fervour addressed his workers thanking them for all their efforts and praised the British Army for defeating the Kaiser. Remarkably he then added, This was obviously met with cheers and shouts of "He's a Jolly Good Fellow" a remarkably kind gesture by him although the cynic in me suspects that he made a hell of a lot of money from the War. Bells were rung from every church in Salford, something that was forbidden during the war years and special church services were held to celebrate an end to the war. A war that had drained the country of generations of men,food, vital supplies, and brought heartache for what? The Prime Minister David Lloyd George declared that he wanted to create, "a fit country for heroes to live in" Sadly we all know how that dream ended with returning servicemen finding no work and many small business had gone, . Local records show many cases of ex-soldiers begging or trying to make a few pennies by selling goods at unofficial street markets at the same time trying to avoid officials who wanted to close these markets down. In all these ways, the people of Salford had to endure enormous suffering, disillusionment and a lack of dignity during and after World War One.
  3. Sadly this view wasn't shared by Robert August Arnott a man who hailed from Edinburgh, but still found time to nick stuff when in Salford. Arnott was appearing at Salford Magistrates Court in October 1918, charged with being on enclosed premises for an unlawful purpose, which to these ears sounds like old fashioned burglary and theft. The place being St Philip's Church, Wilton Place, off Chapel Street a magnificent church dating back to 1822 and designed by Sir Robert Smirke, a Grade 11 listed building. Arnott was initially arrested on October 15th and was remanded for a week to Strangeways Gaol, the reason for his remand I found quite funny. He had been described by the police at his first hearing as being, "In a shockingly, filthy condition with his clothing literally alive with vermin and lice and in need of of fumigation" Hardly the sort of chap you want sitting next to you on the bus is he. Detective Inspector Clarke informed the new hearing that Arnott had, "sweetened up" during his stay in prison and was ready to face a trail. The court heard that Arnott was was seen by the caretaker of the church, Mr Edward Ainsworth acting suspiciously, and so decided to keep a beady eye on him. The week before somebody had sneaked into the church vestry and stolen the keys to to the collection boxes in the church. Arnott was seen to approach three collection boxes, two for the Soldiers Comfort Fund, the third for The Relief Of The Poor And Needy Of The Parish, He then proceeded to tap the boxes to ascertain if there were any money in them, perhaps he saw himself as being one of the Poor And Needy Of The Parish? He then made the fatal mistake of producing a key, presumably the one stolen from the vestry opened the box and hoisted the contents. Enraged Mr Ainsworth swooped on him and detained him until the police arrived. A search of his no doubt vermin ridden clothing produced one shilling and sixpence. he told the arresting officer that he was hungry. Detective Inspector Clarke really lashed into Arnott, telling the Magistrates Bench that Arnott was no stranger to police courts throughout the country or prison cells. In July 1918 he was arrested for stealing an umbrella from...you guessed it, St Philip's Church and trying to sell it to a local pawn broker, for which he received one months imprisonment. Not content with stealing in Salford the court was told that Arnott had been placed on probation in Edinburgh for stealing money last year and had been sent to prison in Scotland for 30 days for stealing from shops. The no doubt wretched looking Arnott pleaded for mercy by stating that he was once a good man but had been ruined by drink, also his wife had left him because of his "lazy habits", lets be fair, he doesn't sound much of a keeper does he? With a final throw of the dice he added that the police in Salford and Scotland had given him a bad character! Looking at his previous convictions I think Mr Arnott was over egging the pudding to blame the police for his misfortune. His plea fell on deaf ears and he was sentenced to two months with hard labour for good measure to be spent in Strangeways Gaol. Lets look on the bright side here, at least he would be fed, watered and clothed and as an extra bonus the Great War would be over before he stepped foot back into Salford again.
  4. This tale from October 1918 is particularly poignant because the War had only one more month to run before peace was declared and sanity would once again prevail, sadly it would be too late for 470 American soldiers aboard the HMS Otranto. The HMS Otranto was was an armed merchant cruiser which later became a troopship, however the ship was considered by superstitious mates to be cursed. When launched in in 1909 the tallow used to grease the slipway froze and it took a further four days before it could be launched, an early omen, perhaps? During World War 1 the ship had been deployed off the coast of South America on patrol duties looking for German shipping. Fast forward to 1st October, 1918 and the HMS Otranto was sailing from New York to England laden with American soldiers. She accidentally collided with a French fishing boat off Newfoundland which was laden with cod, the crew of 36 were taken on board the HMS Otranto and then oddly enough the decision was made to sink the fishing schooner as a safety measure. The "curse" struck again the next day when one of the crew died from Influenza, this was at the start of the Spanish influenza pandemic which would kill 50 to 100 million people, worldwide. As the ship approached the coast of Scotland it was battered by mountainous sea's and heavy gales which measured Force 11 on the Beaufort Scale. The HMS Kashmir was moored alongside the HMS Otranto when a calamitous error was made, the Kashmir accidentally rammed into the Otranto, hitting it on the port side, punching a hole some 20 feet deep and 16 feet wide, flooding the bulkheads and killing many crew members trapped below the waterline. The collision caused the Otranto to drift towards to the cliffs of Islay and certain death for most of the crew members. A rescue ship the HMS Mounsey managed to save 500 men also the rather unlucky 36 French fishermen, who lets be fair had, had quite an eventful trip to say the least. Large waves threw the Otranto onto "Old Woman's Reef" some three quarter of a mile from shore, 21 men were able to to swim ashore to safety, including a young man from Salford, the rest were doomed. By the following morning the Otranto had been completely destroyed and the grim spectacle of 100's of bodies, in piles up to 15 feet high were washed ashore was witnessed by horrified rescuers and locals who had rushed to help in any way they could.. A total of 316 American soldiers were drowned in several hours, their remains were recovered and buried on Islay on the nearby Island of Muck. As I mentioned earlier a Salford man, 25 year old, Albert Tilbrook an Engineer on the Otranto was one of the lucky survivors, he was washed up ashore after being in the water for five hours. Albert lived in Rudman Street, off Regent Road, Salford and he wrote home to his parents from Islay to tell them that he had survived. In his letter he is incredibly modest and stated that he abandoned the stricken ship to swim to rocks about two and a half miles away, where he was eventually picked up. "I am not hurt beyond one or two bruises, cold and exposure, I am being well cared for and so don't worry about me, I am safe sound and sound, love to all the family" We learn that Albert had attended St Bartholomew's school and have been known locally as a strong swimmer, attending Regent Road swimming baths. I would love to know if Albert received a medal or any form of recognition for this outstanding bravery and surviving the horrendous ordeal, he sounds a remarkable man. A stone tower was built by the on the Mull of Oa by The American Red Cross to commemorate the the brave men who were lost aboard from the Otranto. a fitting tribute to what is a tragic story.
  5. Take this story from the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal from October 1918 which send out mixed messages to me. Miss Blackshaw a teacher at Eccles Parish Church Church School, on Russell Street, now demolished and a car showroom stands on its site appeared at Eccles Magistrates Court charged with with an alleged assault on an unnamed eight year old girl pupil by striking her on the back with a cane causing bruising. The child returned home and told her mother what had happened, the next day Mrs Emily Wood stormed into the school with her daughter and demanded an explanation if not a grovelling apology. The Headmaster, Mr Snelson called for the school Doctor W. Hamilton who gave the child a medical examination and would later give evidence in court. The incident arose when Miss Blackshaw a teacher with 29 years experience told the court when she became annoyed at the child for not being attentive to her lessons in class and told her to put her hands out as she was to punished by caning across them. The child either in act of defiance or fear put hem them behind her back, undeterred Miss Blackshaw walloped her across the back with the cane, a tad harsh to say the least to treat an eight year old girl pupil. Mr F.W. Ogden was in court to defend to Miss Blackshaw and the honour of the school and soon ripped into Mrs Wood. He accused her of storming into the school and using "vile and abusive language" at Miss Blackshaw and Mr Snelson, to which she replied, "I can't remember saying that" Getting into his stride and his moral high-horse Mr Ogden carried on and declared rather pompously, "Such defiance of discipline before all of the class could and would not be tolerated, if the teacher not prepared to lose all authority over the class. "Miss Blackshaw whipped the child on her back because she wouldn't put her hands out for her deserved punishment" He sounds a right misery I wonder what his home life was like, no doubt with that attitude he ruled with a rod of iron. Next in the dock was Dr Hamilton with the results of his medical examination, don't expect any revelations or justice warning. He stated that he found two small black marks on her back that were very slight and he attributed them to....."the child's blood being out of order".. Carrying on with this medical rubbish he declared that whatever punishment had been administered was "moderate" and was certainly not as severe as he would expect if her mother had carried out the punishment. I can't believe what I have just read, so basically the child got off lightly because her mother would have given her daughter a proper, severe thrashing? Just when this farce of a "trial" couldn't get any worse the Clerk of the Court piped up, "Nothing to what we got in our school days" this was met with howl of laughter from the Magistrates Bench, unbelievable really. Mr W. Hughes decided in his wisdom that no excessive punishment had been carried out and dismissed the case, and so Miss Blackshaw left the court without a a blemish on her character which is more than can be said of the eight year old. Thanks to Wendy Leach Marshall for the photograph and Wendy Mallins for her memories of me!
  6. For the answer lets take a visit to Salford Magistrates Court, September 1918 to see what the Stipendiary Magistrate had to say. Our story starts on board the S.S. Chicago City a Cunard Liner boat that was moored at Porto Empedecole in Southern Italy, which was picking up amongst other cargo, cases of wine to be transported back to Salford Docks. What could go wrong?....The Captain was soon to find out. Alarm bells should have rung when it was noticed that several seamen had begun drinking heavily from the cargo being loaded onto the boat from cargo lighter boats, a type of flat bottomed barge which would transfer goods and passengers to and from moored ships. The Captain immediately put an armed guard on the ship and another on the shore in an attempt to stop the pilfering of wine by the crew. I think you can guess where this story is going and how its going to end. At 3am the next day the Captain was woken up by the Second Officer who told him that he was concerned about the amount of noise coming from number three hold. The men along with the Chief Officer prudently armed themselves with revolvers and went to see what the commotion was all about. As can be expected it wasn't a pretty sight, he saw a number of men lying on the floor, surrounded by empty wine bottles, others were singing loudly and as the Captain put it, "The men were mad drunk" A lovely expression. The men were locked in the hold overnight, presumably they had drunk all the wine that was being stored there and left to sleep it off. The next day the Captain found that none of the men detained were capable of working and were "not in a fit state to be talked too" They were then given one last chance to explain their innocence, none of them were able to do so. They must have shifted a lot of wine or it was very strong stuff for al of them to be unable to work or even speak properly. The ship sailed to Salford Docks without further trouble, no doubt the booze was firmly under lock and key if not an armed guard! Ten men were arrested by the dock police, they were, Patrick Birch, George Kyfinn, Daniel Delaney, Michael McKenna, Velkhelm Hansen, Maurice Crosby, Herbert Atwood, Harry Ward, Daniel Fitzpatrick and Jesse Baker. They were all charged with the theft of seven cases of wine valued at £25 the property of Cunard Liners. The merry matelots were were defended by Herbert Cunningham whilst Herbert Vaudrey appeared for the owners. Cunningham told the Stipendiary Magistrate that there was no truth in the allegations that they broke into the cargo, although it was obvious the cargo had been tampered with, however there were 31 men on board the ship and the men in the dock hadn't been seen doing the damage or theft. He continues that it was true that the men were very drunk but asserted that they had bought their liquor ashore and therefore had committed had no crime. Be honest that's not a very convincing argument for their innocence is it? The Stipendiary obviously not believing a word, said that he thought, "the men had broken into the cargo and after a heavy drinking bout, no doubt had a craving for more drink and committed the offence that they were charged with" He then fined each man 50 shillings or £2-10 shillings-0 pence which was about a weeks wage for the men, and a fairly hefty price to pay for going on a bender.
  7. This story from the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal from September 1918 is a mixture of both of the above emotions and an almost happy ending for once. Corporal David Macfarlane who resided at Cross Street, Eccles was before the outbreak of war a postman on the streets of Eccles and by all accounts a well known man in the Borough. He was no stranger to combat having fought in the Boer War in South Africa and in October 1916 he joined the 2/5th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusilier and was soon in action. He fought in the Third Battle of Ypres where his regiment suffered many casualties, he was shot through the hand as he was retreating and then in the leg as he lay on the floor, along with fellow Eccles man, Corporal Lee who lived at Cecil Road, Eccles he was taken as prisoner of war and taken to various camps around Belgium before settling at Munster Lager, Medical Hospital, Westphalia in Germany. With the war grinding to a bloody stalemate Macfarlane because of his age and ill health was repatriated back to Blighty after 13 months in captivity. He gave an interview to the Eccles and Patricroft Journal when he was on home leave from the King George Hospital in London, who no doubt wanted to hear tales of heroism and jingoism and he did not disappoint. When taken prisoner he was taken to a field hospital and the only treatment he received for his injuries where cold water bandages which left his hand deformed and useless, he did retain the use of his leg though. Now in his stride he told the journalist, "I saw plenty of British pluck on the Western Front but nothing compared to to the pluck of our boys who are in the hands of their German captors. "Nothing can induce them to or compel them to make munitions, one lad who refused was placed on bread and water for 17 hours and was forced to stand in bitterly cold weather, at the end of it he had to be practically thawed out but he maintained his refusal to work for them" He then thanked the Prisoner of War Relief Fund who had sent them essential food. "I received six parcels a month, the Germans were eager to buy our bread, dripping and soap but Tommy never parted with them, we make sure our boys get their share" Surprisingly he was allowed to visit the nearby town of Munster, he said that all the shops were either closed or had no provisions in them and yet the Germans were still convinced that they would win the war as the people of Britain were starving to death. Also in the Munster camp were three local men, Reggie Cox who lived at Boardman Street, Eccles, William Moore from Church Street, Eccles and a lad named only as Winn from Parrin Lane, Winton. Macfarlane finished the article by stating that he was eager to to resume his duties as a postman in Eccles when fully fit, despite his deformed hand. That newspaper article to me reads full of British bravado and the good old Bulldog spirit which is what the people wanted to hear. However that wasn't the the truth as his parents who lived at Vicarage Close, Eccles revealed that David was one of their seven sons. One had been killed, one had lost his right hand, and another son had lost his arm and a leg. The other three were still fighting in France and to be honest they still stood a good chance of being killed killed or maimed in that senseless bloodbath which would drag on for another three months. To have lost one son and had three others disfigured and maimed is beyond my belief, yet somehow people were still joining the Army, albeit more reluctantly than in 1914, which seems a form of collective madness which it obviously wasn't but begs the question why? I doff my cap to Corporal Macfarlane and the many, many men who fought and died in that that war yet still cannot understand why they didn't refuse to go, point blank after seeing the terrible loss of life and hardships that would be endured by families at home.
  8. It is said that a man in uniform does indeed attract the ladies, sadly this knight in shining armour turned out to be a cad and a bounder amongst other things. Our story begins with the Rutter family from Salford taking a short holiday in Bakewell, a small market town and civil parish in the Derbyshire Dales district of Derbyshire. The daughter Emily met a soldier Private William Graham from the West Yorkshire Regiment who was convalescing in a nearby Military Hospital from injuries he had received on the Western Front and they soon struck up a friendship. Emily asked him to write to her at the family home on West High Street, just off Cross Lane, which he dutifully did. The enterprising Private Graham went one better when he turned up unannounced at the family home looking resplendent in his new army uniform, complete with Military decorations, four wound stripes and he had even been promoted to a Lance Corporal! He told the family that he was on leave for a further week and would then return to the Western Front to fight for King and Country. The Rutter family welcomed him into their home where he soon made himself comfortable, he was given his own bedroom and was fed three meals a day, the least they could do for this brave boy. However this idyll was shattered on the Tuesday morning when at the breakfast table he told Emily that he was going upstairs to change his clothing, he was that long getting changed that she became suspicious and rightly so as it turned out. He came downstairs and brushed past her without saying a word and left the house, sadly a search revealed that he had taken with him a silver watch and several gold rings valued at £3 - four shillings. He didn't return that day and so the local police were informed, and by a simple twist of fate, he returned the next afternoon possibly for his dinner and was met by Detective Needham and Detective Dutton who promptly arrested him and took him to Cross Lane police station for questioning. A search of his clothing revealed the watch and rings, which Private, sorry Lance Corporal Graham denied ever having seen before. To add to this confusion Mrs Rutter whose husband owned a shop at 91 Cross Lane came into the police station and told the Detectives that Graham had been in her shop earlier that day, she was in the rear feeding chickens in the yard, she came into the shop and found him behind the counter. She asked what he was doing there, again he simply walked past her and strolled off along Cross Lane, taking with him, three flash lamps valued at three shillings. William Graham was charged with theft and appeared at Salford Magistrates Court the following day. Further misery was heaped upon his no doubt slumped shoulders when a Military escort appeared and informed the Magistrate that Graham should be charged with wearing Military decorations that hadn't been awarded to him, also the wound stripes were a lie and worst of all he was not a Lance Corporal, he had simply promoted himself and purchased the insignia, what a bounder but not in the same class as Percy Topliss the Monocled Mutineer. The Magistrate sentenced him to three months imprisonment for the theft of the jewellery and for the Military impersonation he was given a further months imprisonment, a total of four months in total. Ironically this would have saved Private Graham from any further military action as the Great War would end up in November 1918. As for Emily duped in love by a chap in his uniform, hopefully she learnt her lesson and possibly married a policeman, by all accounts a more honest type of chap.
  9. Sadly this is not a new phenomenon as the following story from August 1918 will show. Sarah Normond aged 72 of no fixed address appeared at Manchester County Police Court, charged with, "sleeping out" P.C. Walmsley informed the Bench that he was on duty at Worsley Police Station at 7am when Sarah Normond called in and asked if she could be allowed to dry her clothes, explaining that she had slept the night in a nearby field, when a sudden rainstorm had soaked her to the skin. P.C. Walmsley did everything he could to make her comfortable, making her a mug of tea and giving her a blanket to keep warm whilst he dried her sodden clothes. Her conversation and explanation as to how she had come to be sleeping out in the field alarmed him and so he decided to detain her for her own safety and let the Police Court decide on how best to help her. In the dock her conversation to the Chairman, Mr W.A. Rothwell was as equally puzzling. She told him that her father was a well known brewer of beer whilst she herself was strictly tee-total. Carrying on in a similar vein, she stated that she was a widow and was related to the Earl of Marlborough, adding that she didn't come from Manchester but had come from America and had been staying in the Everton district of Liverpool. The Chairman asked her, "If we release you, where will you go?" She replied, "I shall go where I like, I can get my living and I have got money, also I have two son's serving in the British Army and two daughters still living" No doubt concerned for her safety he asked her, "Where do you live in, Manchester?" Her explanation to this question was bizarre to say the least, "I don't belong to Manchester, I shall not go into the workhouse, I have never been in one yet, I have money to live upon, I can get it from the King of England, I can't say anything fairer than that" Again she was told that they only wanted to help her and to trace her relatives, however she would be remanded in custody for a week whilst enquiries were made to trace them. Supt. Rutter of the Manchester Police Force then circulated a description of Sarah Normond to police stations in the Manchester area in an effort to find out who she was. She was described as being aged 72, four foot, ten inches in height, grey hair, grey eyes with a fresh complexion. Her clothing she was wearing when found were described as, a fawn coat, blue skirt, blue stockings, and black lace up boots. Hardly the clothing to wear if you were unfortunate enough to be sleeping outside for any length of time. Sadly I couldn't find a happy ending to this story despite trawling through months of local newspaper reports. It does seem that poor Sarah was suffering from some delusional, mental health issue with talk of rich parents, links to the Earl of Marlborough and even the King of England being brought into the equation. A sad story which asks so many questions as to how a 72 year old woman could end up sleeping rough in a field in Worsley and provides no answers. I do hope that she found some peace in her life and didn't end up in the dreaded workhouse which surely would have been the end of her, sadly I don't think we shall ever find out.
  10. Ada fell foul of the Defence of the Realm Act, 1915 better known as DORA.. The DORA act included amongst its somewhat bizarre rules were that no-one was allowed to buy binoculars, no-one was allowed to give bread to horses, horses or chickens, no-one was allowed to buy brandy or whisky in a railway refreshment room, customers in pubs were not allowed to buy a round of drinks and public house opening times were also reduced to 12.00 noon to 2.30 pm and 6.30 to 9.30 pm. before the law was changed, public houses could open from 5 am in the morning to 12.30 pm at night. The price and gravity of beer was heavily regulated by this act as the Prime Minister didn't want you idling away your hours in the pub when you could be either fighting the Hun or making munitions to kill the Hun. Ada had a surprise visit from the boys in blue led by D.S. Bentham and Inspector Swaites two men known for their hard line, no nonsense style of policing and lack of humour. They called in at 9pm on July 13th and going into the vault found that the door was off its hinges and a table was blocking the doorway, and not surprisingly, no customers. In the lobby were six people drinking, with the parlour full of people and two old dears sat in the kitchen drinking half pints of bitter. No doubt shocked at this scene of debauchery Sgt Bentham summoned Ada over and demanded to to know what prices she was selling her beer at. She told him, eight-pence a pint in the lobby, and parlour but in the vault four-pence a pint. A search of the pub cellar produced damning evidence, two barrels of beer which piped up to the bar and marked four-pence a pint. Ada was charged with selling four-penny ale at eight-pence a pint and failing to exhibit price lists stating price and gravity of the ale. She was represented in court by Mr F.W. Watson who seems quite a humorous chap, when asked by Inspector Swaites if he knew the gravity of the beer on sale in the pub he replied, "No, but I know the gravity of this case" Touche! Ada told the court that the vault door came off its hinges on Friday evening and the room could not but used until the door was repaired on the Monday morning, but if customers wanted a four-penny pint she could serve them through the lobby window and charge four-pence a pint. The case descended into farce when Mr F. Watson produced several witnesses who stated that they were always charged four-pence a pint and on the night in question of the police visit. Mr Sidney Parker told the court that he only had to rattle the latch on the broken door and he would be served at four-pence a pint, not to be outdone, Mr Ernest Cooper stood up and said he had also tried the vault door but couldn't gain entry but was charged four-pence a pint stood in the lobby, adding for good measure that he had two pints of bitter in the parlour for five-pence a pint and was "marvellous stuff". Confused? the Chairman Alderman T. Grindle certainly was, stating that "It appears to me that it is quite a scientific thing to get to get drunk now" which brought laughter from the cheap seats. He then enquired ,"Are the other witnesses you have of the same kind, Mr Watson?" he was assured that they were. He then asked if there was any eight-pence a pint witnesses in the courtroom. not a soul moved, again this comment brought comment from the public gallery. Sadly that's were the laughter stopped, poor Ada was fined £2-2 shillings for the first offence and £1-1 shilling on the second offence. Seems a tad harsh to me just surprised that Ada told the police she was charging eight pence a pint though, a moral there somewhere I suppose! On a final note did you know that the original name of the Ship Canal pub was The Running Horses until 1865 when the Manchester Ship Canal Act was passed? The name Running Horses was to remember when Eccles could boast of having a race-course, which closed that year, and the land was later obtained by Messrs Engels and Ermen who built the Togo Mill. The name Togo is a strange name and I did a bit of research which showed that Togo was actually Admiral Togo Heihchiro who sank most of the Russian fleet at the Battle of Tsushima in May 1905 when the two countries were at war, possibly two fingers to the Russian Royal family by Engels who had no love for them. Value for money for me when it comes to obscure bits of local knowledge.
  11. And so keeping the ball rolling with the football theme, I bring you this story culled from the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal, July 1918. An everyday story of neighbours falling out over the trivial matter of a football landing in there garden which in turn leads to an appearance at the local court with a charge of assault and wilful damage. Eccles Magistrates Court heard the case which didn't go into extra time thanks to the Magistrate keeping his eye on his watch and deciding that 90 minutes was enough for anybody. James Knowles who resided at Stanley Avenue, Eccles was summoned by Alfred Brooke charged with doing wilful damage to the front door of his property in Stanley Avenue, he was also charged with assaulting the tenant of the property, Minnie Birch Williams. .map-responsive{ overflow:hidden; padding-bottom:32.4%; position:relative; height:0; border: 2px solid #fff; background: #262e33; border-radius: 2px 2px 2px 2px; } Minnie told the court that she was at in her front garden with her children enjoying the fine weather when a football landed in it, ruining their peaceful afternoon sojourn. The ball had been kicked in by a boy the younger brother of James Knowles. According to Minnie the boy in an "insolent manner" told her to give the ball back and then turning towards her son who was sat next to her, threatened to "knock his blithering clock round" if he didn't hurry up and return the ball. I must admit I have never heard that expression before, how quaint. James Knowles then appeared on the scene and told her that people could also be awkward and that if the ball was not returned in five minutes he would kick the front door in to get it back. She then alleged that James leapt over the garden fence in an attempt to snatch the ball back and in so doing, he knocked the garden gate open which hit her, causing bruises to her leg and back. Not content with bowling her over he chased her son who had wisely raced into the safety of his house, still clutching the football and slammed the door shut behind him. James with a kick that David Beckham would have been proud of, he booted the door so hard that the front handle came off. Minnie's father, Alfred Brookes then took the stand and said the damage to the door was three shillings and sixpence, but that the Knowles family had plagued his daughter and her family for a long time and were "unsavoury neighbours". He was so outraged by the damage to his front door that he waited for a full day before calling at the Knowles house to ask for an apology, possibly luckily for him the house was empty. Undeterred and no doubt further outraged he then authorised a solicitor to send a letter to the Knowles family demanding an apology. If you have ever read,"Diary of a Nobody" by George and Weedon Grossmith, you will identify Mr Brookes with the "hero" of the book, Charles Pooter. James Knowles took to the stand and as can be imagined told a different account of what had happened that fateful day. He said that he was asked by his younger brother and sister if he would get the ball back for them as they had been waiting for half an hour for it. He politely asked the boy in the garden if he could have the ball back, only to be told, "Come and get it, if you dare" James jumped over the garden fence to retrieve the ball and sadly knocked Minnie over, accidentally, of course, the boy had run into the house and slammed the door shut so hard that it caught James boot thus accidentally causing the door handle to fall off. Sounds plausible enough to me. The Magistrate no doubt wanting to go home or for his dinner weighed up the options available to him. He fined James three shillings and sixpence for the damage to the door and court costs. As for Minnies injuries? he decided that there had been a technical assault but that no injury was intended and the charge was dropped. Do you think that these two neighbours would soon be throwing open their front doors and welcoming each other in for a brew and a chinwag whilst laughing at the absurdity of the court case?...me neither.
  12. Readers of a certain age may recall the "thrill" of perusing the page, known as, "Before The Bench". This salacious news page gave full details of any felon who had the misfortune to appear before the dreaded Stipendary Magistrate, Mr Leslie Walsh, a proper, old school, no-nonsense Magistrate who would send you down if he even thought you looked guilty! .map-responsive{ overflow:hidden; padding-bottom:32.4%; position:relative; height:0; border: 2px solid #fff; background: #262e33; border-radius: 2px 2px 2px 2px; } Heaven forbids if your name was to appear on that page, you instantly became a social pariah a veritable, "talk of the washhouse" merchant. This particular story comes from August 1918 and tells of a gentleman called Charles Berry or Charles Clennel depending upon who he was meeting. Charles would appear to have been a somewhat silver-tongued, lothario, fond of the ladies, a drink and a gift of the gab as poor Miss Adelaide Evans was to find out. Charles Berry appeared before Salford Magistrates Court charged with obtaining sums of money from Adelaide Evans with intent to defraud. The couple met on that popular Salford thoroughfare, Cross Lane, where they got into conversation. Charles told Adelaide that he was a "well known local footballer" by the name of Charles Clennel, a single man who worked at Mather and Platts Engineering Company in Trafford Park. I liked the way he told her he was a "well known local footballer" perhaps Adelaide had visions of becoming a forerunner of the modern days WAG? He asked the fragrant Adelaide to "keep company" with him and promised her that one day he would marry her, what a smoothie. The poor girl should have got the "odour of rodent" when Charles began to borrow sums of money from her on various pretexts. He told her that during their courtship he had, had the misfortune to lose not only his father but his mother and aunt! fortunately, they had all left him sums of money in their wills, sadly he had to look after his sister who was ill and living in lodgings. Charles had some neck he even offered to take her to his family's solicitor's to verify the facts. When she declined this offer, the borrowing of money began, obviously with promises to pay it all back on a lump sum and an added bonus as a gesture of goodwill. Charles like all good con men went in low borrowing small sums such as 10 shillings one week and a £1 the following week, slowly increasing the amounts until he had run up a debt of £25-17-6, a tidy sum in those days. He then began to tell Adelaide further excuses as to why he couldn't pay her back just yet, the £15 his mother had left him had been stolen, the £50 his father had left him had somehow got misplaced by the bank, sadly no mention of the money his aunt had left him, eaten by mice presumably? The poor woman (and she probably was) by now had by now had enough and contacted the police who quickly tracked him down and arrested him, charging him with deception. Charles wasn't beaten yet he wrote to her from Strangeways prison, one letter read, "I have only you to think of me whilst I am in here, I am going to ask you to fix the day to make me the happiest of men" He is persistent I'll give him that! In the dock, Charles did the honourable thing and pleaded guilty to all of the charges. However, all sympathy for him evaporated with the appearance of a surprise witness, no other than Mrs Berry, his wife and mother of his two children. Mrs Berry told the court that Charles was a good husband and always tipped his wages up regularly, let's face it he could afford too. Charles told the court that he loved his wife but his downfall was horse racing and gambling, no mention of gullible young women. The Stipendary Magistrate said that this was a carefully thought out and cruel deception and sentenced him to six imprisonment with hard labour as a possible inducement to curb his future activities in Salford.
  13. Salford Magistrates Court saw George appear there charged with being drunk and disorderly and police assault, a fairly serious charge. George gave his address as Park Place a short road off Cross Lane which was infamous for the number of lodging houses or "doss houses" there. I have read that a man could get a "bed" for the night in a room shared with up to a dozen men for fourpence, if he was less fortunate he could pay twopence and sit in a cellar along with other men, also a rope was slung across the room from which men could flop against and try and get some sleep, hence the expression, "flop houses" I kid you not. Back at the Magistrates Court P.C. Case told the court that he was on duty on Cross Lane on Saturday evening, Cross Lane at this time could "boast" of having some 18 public houses, two music halls and an army barracks which no doubt contributed to the lively and vibrant atmosphere there. P.C. Case noticed a group of men blocking the footpath whilst watching a meeting of the Salvation Army, who were no doubt intent on saving these wretches from a like of drunkenness and debauchery, Bless them. George Udall was spotted by the eagle-eyed policeman, leaning on a chemist shop window, reeking of ale and unsteady on his feet. He was asked to "move on" no doubt in the politest terms used by the Salford Constabulary. To use the local parlance, "this is when it all went wrong" and George was arrested and taken to Cross Lane Police Station, no doubt for a rest and a cup of tea. The full story of the events of that night unfurled before the Magistrates Court as P.C. Case told the Magistrate that he asked George to "move along" and for his troubles was punched several times in the face and kicked about the body. George took the stand and gave a totally different version of events. He asked P.C. Case, The Magistrate asked P.C. Case if this was true and, "Did George go with you like a gentleman"? P.C. Case replied, "No he didn't act like a gentleman, more like a madman, punching and kicking me all the way to the police station" Outraged by this slur on his character, George replied somewhat bizarrely. I tell you if I was in that courtroom that day I would have stood up and applauded George for that speech a Clarence Darrow in the making. Sadly things began to unravel for George when he was asked to give evidence on oath. He told the court that he could not read or write because he used to play "wag" when he was a boy and never learnt how to. However he sprang back into defence mode and told the court, With a last roll of the dice and no doubt hoping for leniency, he told the court that he used to belong to the Salvation Army but had sadly fallen from grace and the reason he was there that night was in order to make a fresh start with God, until P.C. Case intervened. The Magistrate must have been impressed with George's heartfelt plea and instead of sending him down, which is what usually happened if you struck a constable, he sentenced him to twelve months probation and warned him about his future conduct. So did George regain his faith and change his wicked ways and end up flogging copies of the War Cry magazine to topers in the numerous pubs on Cross Lane? I somehow doubt it.
  14. Tony Flynn


    In his latest book, John has chronicled the history of the Gaiety Theatre, Manchester founded by Annie Horniman in 1907 as an answer to the Abbey Theatre in Dublin which at the time was producing works by such playwrights as Yeats, Lady Gregory, Moore, Martyn, Padraic Colum, George Bernard Shaw and Synge. Ms Horniman threw down a challenge to Lancashire playwrights to rival their work and out of this challenge the school known as the Manchester Playwrights was born. This included such luminaries as Stanley Houghton, Harold Brighouse, and Allan Monkhouse. With such formidable writers, the Gaiety soon became the most progressive theatre in the country, the first of its kind to create an identifiably local school of playwrighting as Tony Wilson famously said, “This is Manchester, we do things differently here.”. Dipping into this fabulously researched book I was fascinated to read how shocking some of these productions were considered at the time. Take, for example, Hindle Wakes by Stanley Houghton, the play concerns a young mill girl, Fanny Hawthorn whose weekend away unravels in tragedy as it is revealed she had spent a proverbial "dirty weekend" with the son of a local rich mill owner. This was in 1912 when such behaviour was certainly frowned upon, however Fanny isn't one to conform and tells her lover that basically they had had their fun and its over and more importantly doesn't want or need his riches and can make her way through the world on her own, a great example of early sexual equality. Incidentally when a film was made of the play a lot of the scenes were shot at Monton Mill and the canal side nearby. We all know Hobson's Choice which incidentally is playing at Salford Arts Theatre as we speak. Written by Eccles born, Harold Brighouse the play tells of headstrong Maggie Hobson a woman with plenty of fire in her soul who chooses Sam Mossop as her husband a man considered to be much lower than her on the social scale, once again we see strong independent women at the fore. Did you know that when the 1954 film was premiered it was shown at The Broadway Cinema, Eccles? I only learnt that from reading this marvellous book. This book offers so much and it is a pleasure to read, my eyes were opened at the wealth of talent in the area and is a fabulous insight to the world of repertory theatre and the pleasures and pitfalls that go with it. I can honestly recommend this book to anybody with a love of both theatre and local history, John Harding has done a marvellous job with his research and photographs that adorn the book and I doff my cap to him a remarkably researched and an essential read. The book costs £18.99 and at present is available from Greenwich Exchange www.greenex.co.uk FREE postage within the United Kingdom.
  15. James McGubbin aged 13 from Hart Street, Salford, stood in the dock charged with obtaining three shillings by false pretences and the theft of two silver brooches. Mrs Amtvall of West Thompson street told the court that young James called at her house and asked her if his mother could borrow half a crown - two shillings and sixpence - she gave him three shillings and told him to bring the change back, surprise, surprise, she didn't see James again. She gave it a few days and decided to call at his house for the money, the mother had no knowledge of this transaction, obviously, in a rage, she summoned the police to sort the matter out. Detective Needham called at the house to question James who readily admitted the deception, he told Needham that he had, "spent the money going to the pictures" For you younger readers, the "pictures" was a term for the cinema coming from, moving pictures which were shown on the screen. In 1918 cinema was on the boom throughout the country and in the area were James lived there was The Weaste, Royal, Langworthy, Prince of Wales, Empress and Scala cinemas, plenty of choice for a teenage film buff. The news got worse for James when his father turned up at the police station to complain that two silver brooches were missing from the house. To his credit James admitted the theft, telling the police that he had pawned them for money so that he could go and see more films at the local cinemas. Little wonder that many people in authority saw the cinema as being an evil and corrupting effect on the Nation's youth. The Stipendary Magistrate, Mr Ollier ordered young James to be given six strokes of the birch, perhaps that would stop him sitting down in relative comfort in local cinemas. Incidentally, the birch was usually administered either in the cells underneath the courts or at a local police station by a burly copper with the offender's parents in attendance if they wished, can't say I'd have cared to have witnessed one of my own being thrashed with a stick. The second case concerns an unnamed 11-year-old boy who lived at Barton Grove, Eccles who was charged with breaking and entering a house on Lime Street, Patricroft with intent to steal. .map-responsive{ overflow:hidden; padding-bottom:32.4%; position:relative; height:0; border: 2px solid #fff; background: #262e33; border-radius: 2px 2px 2px 2px; } The female owner of the house, whose husband was away with the army, told the court that she found the boy on the stairs in her house and asked him what he wanted? he brushed past her and walked out of the door. No doubt puzzled if not concerned she went out shopping and when she returned, she found that a window had been broken and the house had been ransacked and curiously enough nothing had been stolen. The ever intrepid Sergeant Bentham was informed and called at the house for further evidence and a description of the boy. With commendable police work, he tracked the boy down and arrested him the same day. The boy told the court a rather sad and strange story, he said that he had been reading, "exciting and adventurous literature". No doubt Boys Own or similar books of adventure and mystery, harmless stuff to be honest. The boy's Uncle appeared at the court and he sounds proper old school, told the Magistrate that the boy was reading this rubbish and was no doubt trying to emulate some of the characters in these books, adding, "I have since burnt all of his books and warned him not to bring any more home" Not content with the lad having his reading material go up in smoke the Magistrate ordered him to receive four strokes of the birch! You have to feel some sympathy for the boy, having lost his books he was known to be thrashed with a stick, he was only 11 years of age! Finally, you may be glad to know that birching of juveniles was abolished in this country in 1948 unless you were to commit a felony in the Isle of Man they carried out birching people until 1978! mind you homosexuality was only decriminalised there in 1992... Photo: Langworthy Picture House .map-responsive{ overflow:hidden; padding-bottom:32.4%; position:relative; height:0; border: 2px solid #fff; background: #262e33; border-radius: 2px 2px 2px 2px; } .map-responsive{ overflow:hidden; padding-bottom:32.4%; position:relative; height:0; border: 2px solid #fff; background: #262e33; border-radius: 2px 2px 2px 2px; }

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