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History With Flynn

I have been compiling stories from Salford’s past for many years and in the court cases from 100 years ago it seemed that the same old bobbies turned up time and time again.

There used to be a joke that went, “A policeman gets assaulted every 15 minutes in England, and he is getting tired off it”

The following Salford bobbies, P.C.s, Lamb, Neary, McDonald, Jaggard, Bennett, Gleeson, Newton, Ryan and Pitt were charged with patrolling Cross Lane and Trafford Road, an area known locally as The Barbary Coast which was popular with foreign sailors and ladies of the night who used to ply their “trade” in the many public houses there.

Here are just a few which I have gleaned over the years and have published in my, Cross Lane book or on SalfordOnline or Salford History, so take a walk on the wild side with me.

I have mentioned P.C. Lamb later to be Sergeant Lamb in many stories including one this week when he sorted out a house of ill repute on Treble Street, however I came this story about him which I found interesting.

In November 1923, Sergeant John Lamb who lived at Cross Lane police station with his wife and children was put in charge of escorting twenty Bolshevik Russian sailors from Salford Docks to Tilbury Docks in Essex. where they were to be deported to Petrograd.

Sadly he had a heart attack at Tilbury and died, his body was returned to Salford for burial in Southern Cemetery. Manchester.

At his funeral 100 policemen accompanied the coffin from Cross lane police station and the funeral cortege was half a mile long and witnessed by thousands of people who lined Cross Lane and Trafford Road.

June 1917 and two brothers  James and Dennis O’Neill from Belfast had come to England to work in munitions for the war effort, but seemed 

intent on causing their own war on Cross Lane.

They were seen standing in the road shouting and swearing and were asked by P.C.s Lamb and Neary to move along. quietly.

James O’Neill was having none of it and shouted out, “This is a free county and we shall stand where we like!”

Not to be outdone his brother,Dennis O’ Neill in a fit of confused patriotism shouted out. “We are not Prussianised in England yet!”

A large crowd gathered as the men were taken to Cross Lane police station, police reinforcements were sent for who broke up the angry mob gathered outside.
The O’Neill brothers were given six months hard labour for their troubles.

Perhaps the most serious example of public disorder came in July 1917 when Thomas Bright a discharged soldier was seen with a friend and two female companions  talking to a soldier from the nearby Drill Hall,

He told them he was going back to France with his unit, Bright shouted out,

“You are not going back to fight for those ********* policeman there are you” and pointed at PCs  McDonald and Neary.

He then took the rifle from the soldiers shoulder and said,

“You are not going back to fight for those ********* policeman there are you” and pointed at PCs  McDonald and Neary.

He then took the rifle from the soldiers shoulder and said,

“If I had two rounds of ammunition in this rifle I would blow their ********heads off!”

The constables arrested Bright but the situation escalated as a large mob gathered intent on causing trouble.

P.C.s Lamb and Howard arrived on the scene but they were attacked by the crowd and they all retreated into the safety of the Cross lane police station.

The mob by know had grown to some three or four thousand strong and some were threatening to wreck the police station if Bright wasn’t released and fighting broke out again.

Amongst those arrested  was a Mrs Hannah Henshall who was shouting.

“You ****** rotten dogs, you ought to be in the army, where my husband is!”

James Larkin, presumably not the same one, was heard to shout,

“Come on, let’s get him out, there are only two ********policemen!”

William Forsyth was encouraging the mob and shouted out, 

“Come on, we won’t let them take our wounded soldiers, lets bash them with a bottle!”

The mob eventually broke up but police reinforcements guarded the police station overnight in case the mob returned.

The next day the accused appeared at Salford Magistrates Court Bright was fined £1 and was told by the Stipendary Magistrate MrAtkin that if hadn’t have had a good army record, he would have been sent to gaol.

The others received fines ranging from five shillings to a £1, only James Larkin received a prison sentence, he was given seven days hard labour.

It was interesting to read that a large crowd had gathered in Bexley Square outside the courts and afterwards had a collection for the people who had received fines, so they could be paid!


Edited by KARL

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