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100 YEARS AGO: TROUBLE ON T'TRAM AS SALFORD LOUTS MISBEHAVE IN WEASTE

History With Flynn

I am certain we have all witnessed shocking behaviour on our buses, trains and trams over the years, I can still recall the horror of the last bus out of Victoria bus station as a callow youth and have witnessed a hail of meat and potato pies being hurled in a scene reminiscent of Agincourt, yes the good old days.

So this story from August 1919 reminds us that loutish behaviour is not a modern day phenomenon as two drunken chaps bring a new meaning to, men behaving badly.

Amos Williams 28, who lived at Irlams Place, Salford appeared at Salford Magistrates Court charged with with being drunk and disorderly in Eccles New Road and assaulting a female tram conductress, Ethel Featherstone.

Inspector Mitchell  told the Court that Williams and his chum, Joseph Mullen boarded the tram at Eccles Cross and were going to Weaste to meet a female friend.

However this journey to meet the mystery woman was curtailed when Amos Williams loutish behaviour resulted in the police being called.

Whilst the conductress was collecting fares upstairs, he decided it would be fun to continually ring the bell much to the annoyance of the other passengers.

One one occasion he rang the bell so vigorously that driver slammed the brakes on thinking it was an emergency stop, much to Williams amusement.

An elderly chap, Edward Smith, had the temerity to tell Williams to behave and asked him what he thought he was playing at?

Williams responded by grabbing hold off his legs and dragging him to the floor of the tram, were he began kicking him.

Ethel Featherstone. came downstairs to see what all the commotion was about  and asked him what he was doing, his reply was to slap her across the face and then attempted to push her off the tram, which fortunately had stopped. 

I noticed the driver of the tram hasn't come racing to her rescue!

The police were called at Weaste and managed to drag the two drunken men off the tram and into police custody and reflect on their behaviour.

In his defence, Amos Williams told the Magistrate:

"I had drank a lot of beer that day"

Truthful but hardly the best defence he could have come up with is it?

He was fined £1 or 30 days imprisonment for being drunk and disorderly, also he was fined £3 and six shillings for assaulting Ethel Featherstone or 28 days imprisonment, with the fine being paid to her in costs.

P.C. Cormie took to the stand to testify against his co-accused, Joseph Mullen who was also charged with being drunk and disorderly.

He told the court that Mullen kept interfering with Williams arrest, using bad language and even going so far as to attempt to incite the tram passengers to help release Williams!

Williams was hardly popular with the tram passengers so I should imagine his pleas fell on deaf ears.

Mullen told the Magistrate:

"All I did was to walk to the police station and see how my pal was and if he needed any money, then I got arrested"

He was fined £1 or 14 days imprisonment.

So a warning for us all, don't balloon on public transport unless you want to spend the night in the cells and face a possible hefty fine..and I haven't mentioned a single person I know!




Tony Flynn

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