Dipping my toes in the pages of the Salford City Reporter for October 1920, I came across this little story which was headlined, "Ruffians Ejected From Salford Cinema".
The Rex Cinema on Chapel Street, Salford is a lovely little building, dating from 1846 and became a cinema in 1912, it's frontage being listed as being of architectural importance, but you don't want to know that, you want to hear about the ruffians in question and how they went on at Salford Magistrates Court.
This is how the story unfolded at Court
P.C. Mulraney told the Court was on duty on Chapel Street, when he was asked to eject two louts from the cinema who had been upsetting the other customers by shouting, whistling and using "objectionable language" during the showing of the film, you have to remember it was a silent cinema then.
The brave P.C. approached the two men and asked them to leave the cinema as there had been complaints about their behaviour, they obeyed his request and followed him onto Chapel Street.
He noticed that they had both been drinking and asked them politely to go on their way and not cause any trouble, they replied in the negative and both attacked him.
"They fought like madmen and struck me several times about the body and head, I blew my whistle for help and P.C.Cannon came to my assistance.
"We attempted to take them into custody at the Town Hall but they became so rough, we had to enlist three of four civilians to help us get them into the station"
One of the arrested men, John Boyce aged 22 admitted being drunk but denied assaulting the policemen, saying, he couldn't remember..
The other prisoner, John Brown aged 19 admitted being drunk and he too denied the assault charge.
The Clerk of the Court asked P.C. Mulrany if he thought that the men had assaulted him on purpose?
"I am quite sure they did" replied the aggrieved P.C.
"One of them said he didn't mind being locked up and was up for it"
P.C. Cannon took to the witness box and told the Magistrate that as soon as he had gone to P.C. Mulrany's assistance he was struck four or five blows without provocation by the accused men.
Detective Smith then took the stand and told the court that both men were Marine Firemen and came from Glasgow, they had arrived at Salford Docks on the Monday evening, the night before they were arrested and werd due to return to Glasgow where they would be paid off.
The Magistrate wasn't having any of it and jailed the ruffians for one month with hard labour thrown in for good measure.
This didn't mean breaking rocks in the hot sun as the song goes, you were given meagre food rations, soup,mainly, one sheet on your bed, no talking to other prisoners on the landings, no visits etc, a short sharp shock.
Once released from Strangeways, the "ruffians" would have had to make their own way back to Glasgow and explain their absence to family and friends. Good luck with that.
By Tony Flynn
A rather sad and cautionary tale from the pages of the Salford City Reporter from October 1920 which gives an insight into the way that habitual drunkards were treated at the time and how times have changed.
Violet Whittle a 40 year old woman of no fixed abode appeared at Salford Magistrates Court, charged with being drunk and disorderly on Chapel Street, Salford the night before.
It would appear that Violet was no stranger to the court and was "fond" of a drink as they say.
Superintendent Clarke told the Magistrate that Violet was last before the court on September 16th (less than a month ago) and had been fined £1 for drunkenness and that within the last twelve months had been arrested for the same offence, seven times, giving her a total of 34 criminal convictions.
The previous evening when arrested on Chapel Street she was abusive to the arresting officer, P,C, Nolan. and in the cells she behaved, "in a disgraceful way", then added.
"If she cannot conduct herself properly when sober, I can imagine what she will be like in drink"
The newspaper reported that Violet has, "stood erect and attentive" when the above was read out to the court, the suddenly burst into tears and shouted out,
"I'm cast down!, I'm broken hearted, I only came out of prison yesterday, I don't have a dogs chance, the police are always locking me up"
The Magistrates Clerk tried to reason with her and explained it was because she always went back on the drink.
Poor Violet answered, "I would be better off dead, for I'm always in prison".
Superintendent Clarke then told the court that Violet had been sent to the Langho Inebriates Reformatory in 1906, but had not seemed to have cured her..
Langho Inebriates Reformatory opened in 1904 and housed some 300 women, was situated, seven miles from Blackburn, it later became a hospital for people with learning disabilities and closed in 1992, and have heard some terrible stories about the way the early patients were treated.
Having heard all the evidence, the Magistrates, Alderman Mather and Mr F. P. Nathan in their wisdom saw fit to send Violet to prison for one month with hard labour added for good measure.
How on earth is sending her to prison going to help this poor woman, who by her own admission stated she would be better off dead than in prison, she did need medical help and I'm certain the harsh regime in Strangeways prison didn't extend to this.
Plans for one of Salford’s major roads are now open for a three-week consultation.
Salford City Council is proposing new cycling and pedestrian improvements to Oldfield Road, which runs from Ordsall, across Regent Road and up to Chapel Street.
The scheme would include a cycle lane all the way from Chapel Street to Regent Road, separate from traffic and a CYCLOPS junction at the junction of Liverpool Street and Middlewood Street which keeps pedestrians and cyclists separate from traffic and gives them a signal controlled route through the junction.
Other crossings would be improved and new paving, street furniture, lighting, trees, rain gardens and wildflower grasses added. There are plans for loading bays for local businesses and limited waiting parking bays with restrictions to keep cycleways and footpaths clear, electric vehicle charging points and cycling parking stands and repair hubs.
Councillor Jim Cammell, who leads on cycling for Salford City Council said:
Salford City Council is working with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) on the proposals and public comments will support a full business case submission to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to secure funding to for the scheme.
The consultation runs from October 26 to November 16 and you can have your say online via the Commonplace website oldfieldroadcorridor.commonplace.is or via Salford City Council’s website www.salford.gov.uk/mcf by email to email@example.com or by writing to FAO Oldfield Road Corridor, Salford City Council, Civic Centre, Chorley Road, Swinton, Salford M27 5FJ.
By Tony Flynn
The Height and Bolton Road areas of Salford were subjected to a fortnight's rampage of burglary, arson and theft which only ended when two youths aged 15 and 16 appeared at Salford Magistrates Court in October 1920 and the full story unfolded.
Mrs Lewthtwaite owned a supper bar on Broad Street, Salford and on the previous Thursday evening at 10pm, she was in the kitchen of her house, when she heard a loud bang and glass breaking, she saw Cecil Wilkinson drop into her yard.
Her son ran out and apprehended him, only to be told that he was looking for his ball, he then saw another boy nearby, who ran away when approached, the police were sent for and Wilkinson was taken into custody for questioning.
Wilkinson soon told the police the name of his accomplice, Arthur Smith and he was soon arrested and brought into custody.
Superintendent Clarke questioned the boys and they readily admitted that, they intended breaking into the barbers shop next door to the supper bar and were looking for money to steal.
However once they started confessing they couldn't stop and told an astonished Superintendent Clarke a long list of their misdemeanours, they had carried out in the past fortnight.
At the Magistrates Court he applied to have the boys remanded in custody for a week whilst further cases might be investigated, the remand was granted and both boys. despite their age where remanded to Strangeways prison.
One week later the two boys, Cecil Wilkinson of, Saxby Street and Arthur Smith of Bolton Road, Pendleton stood in the dock and a remarkable catalogue of their crimes was read out.
Breaking and entering, 34 Acresfield Road and stealing foodstuffs to the value of £1, 18 shillings and ninepence.
Setting fire to The Olympia Picture Palace, West Street, stealing 10 shillings and a quantity of chocolate. damaging seventeen seats and a piano.
Damaging and spoling five motor cars, a planing machine and a band saw at Messr Thomas Carters Motor Works, Trafford Road.
Setting fire to St Thomas's School, Broughton Road, Salford.
Breaking and entering Messr Lancaster and Tonge's offices, Withington Street, Salford stealing £3 19 shilling and 7 pence, and a box of cigarettes.
Breaking and entering the schoolroom on King Street, the Height and stealing 11 pence.
Breaking and entering into St Anne's School, Brindleheath, damaging six panes of glass, two pairs of curtains and lengths of woodwork.
Breaking and entering Halton Bank School, Bolton Road damaging five electric globes, 38 pound of flour and a water pipe.
The boys pleaded guilty to all these charges.
Superintendent Clarke told the Court that there had been, "a fifteen day scare" as shops, homes, businesses and schools were targeted, in addition over £1,000 worth of damage had been caused by arson and wilful damage.
He asked the Magistrate Mr P. W. Atkin that the boys be sent to the Assizes for sentencing considering the severity of the offences and then dropped the bombshell that at the premises of Messr Thomas Carters Motor Works, Trafford Road, the boys had hung, the workshop cat and killed it.
The boys were defended by Mr Howard Flint, who asked the Magistrate if the boys could not be dealt with on this day by the court, adding that they were both from respectable families and had been influenced by reading "trashy cheap, literature"
The Magistrate turned down his plea for a trial at the Magistrate Court and added that there was no reason why they should be cruel to a cat.
The boys were sent to the Asizes for trial and here is the cliff hanger, I have no idea how they went on there, considering the amount of damage and mayhem they caused I am certain they would be sent to prison and it would that their act of cruelty to a cat ensured they would face the wrath of an Assize Judge.