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  • 100 YEARS AGO: CLOG FIGHTING IN ECCLES


    Tony Flynn
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    History With Flynn

    Lancashire has had some grand traditions which have sadly died off, coal mining, child chimney sweeps, rickets, bare knuckle fighting, dog fight, bear baiting and that old favourite, "purring" better known as clog fighting.

    The rules like the combatants were simple, two people which often included women as often as men, would grasp each other by the shoulders and start kicking the living daylights out of each other with steel tipped, heavy wooden clogs, until one of the combatants either collapsed in agony or worst....

    The following story from the pages of the Eccles Journal, December 1921 tells how clogs were used to good effect, in a neighbourly dispute.

    Mrs Emily Shimmonds and her husband, Frank who resided at Strand Street, appeared at Eccles Magistrates Court charged with assaulting, Ethel Whiting.

    The Court heard that Ethel Whiting was seen by neighbours having an argument with Mrs Shimmonds on her doorstep which quickly escalated into a full blown brawl. Mrs Shimmonds took off one her clogs and used it as a weapon to batter Mrs Whiting around the head with it.

    A neighbour, Gertrude Bent told the court she had gone to bring her milk in and saw the women fighting, she bravely separated them, only for Frank Shimmonds to come out of his house and he joined in hitting Ethel about the head and body, and urged his wife to carry on with the assault.

    Emily Shimmonds admitted to the Clerk of the Court that she had given Ethel Whiting, two black eyes by striking her with her clog, but only because she had bit her husband, Frank on the arm.

    Frank Shimmonds took the stand and told the Court that Ethel Whiting was always interfering and was a busybody, who had scratched and bit him when he tried to calm her down, and that there had been bad blood between the two women for the past five years.

    The unnamed Clerk of the Court, said that he hoped that there would be no return to clog fighting on the streets of Eccles.

     

    He fined Emily and Frank Shimmonds, ten shillings and sixpence each, Ethel Whiting was cautioned to her further behaviour and the neighbours left the Court no doubt to lead a quiet and peaceful life.



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