Leafing through the pages of the now defunct, Salford City Reporter, you can always guarantee that you will find an amusing story from the Salford Magistrates section, later to come, Before The Bench, which most people turned to, first in the hope of reading about somebody they knew, c'mon admit it, we have all done it.
My eye was caught by the headline to the following story, which read,
"Amazing Admissions Of Girl Who Smoked In Bed"
Bridget Purcell who resided at, Oaklands Terrace, Salford appeared at Salford Magistrates Court, in October 1921, where she had summoned her step-father, Thomas Minogue for making threats to kill her and calling her "improper names"
What could have caused him to to utter these threats to Bridget? quite simply because she was smoking cigarettes in the house until 12 0' clock at night. The brazen hussy.
The Stipendiary Magistrate. Mr. P.W. Atkin, seemed amazed that a girl should smoke cigarettes and asked her if this was true.
Bridget answered that she did and it made her feel good, stating that before she started smoking she often felt giddy at work, she said that she was thread drawer at a local mill and worked from 8.30am - 5.30pm, but was now on overtime and worked until, 8.30pm.
I can well imagine your head would be banging, working 12 a hours a day in a mill on some noisy and often dangerous machinery, I'd want more than cigarettes I can tell you.
Mr Minogue then made the frightful admission that, one occasion he turned down the sheets on her bed and found half a dozen cigarette ends, does this girl have no shame?
When asked if it was true that she smoked in bed, she answered that she did, and elsewhere too, the girl is honest, I'll give her that.
Finally, Mr Minogue told the court that in desperation he had gone away for a week to escape the girl and the house, but there was no change in the girl's behaviour when he got back, despite her mother promising to chastise her.
Mr Atkin, asked him if he had threatened to kill her?. his reply was..."I might have used words like that...."
Mr Minogue was bound over in the sum of £5 to keep the peace for six months and told to stop threatening to kill her.
He then turned his attention to Bridget,
"It seems to me that you irritated him, a good deal, but I cannot have him threatening to murder you. I should like to hear what a Doctor has to say about your smoking and sometimes in bed, in order to settle your nerves, as for smoking being good for you, it's news to me"
Women smoking, what ever next? they will be demanding the vote next...they had to wait until 1928 for that as well.
Bridget does seem quite a feisty character and good for her sticking up for herself, working 12 a hours a day in a mill, she deserves a medal never mind a fag break.