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Tony Flynn

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  1. Hopefully you are all aware that Eccles did at one time have a wharf on the Manchester Ship Canal where ships could load and unload their cargo, this was at the bottom of Alma Street/Boardman Street area. This story from December 1919 concerns this wharf but also tells of the misfortunes of a couple of Japanese seamen who fell foul of the law and and local mob justice. Trouble had been brewing for several days in Eccles with news that local girls who worked at Nickels and Nagel Starch Works, which later became Brown and Polson's, had to get a ferry from the wharf to get to work and the same return trip back to Eccles. Japanese seaman were moored there unloading a supply of timber and the girls soon became a focus of their attention. On the Monday evening two girls had made the trip across the canal and were walking along Barton Lane, towards the town centre at 10.30pm. They passed a group of the seaman who whistled and shouted at them, one of the girls then was tripped up by them, possibly innocent horseplay, they called the police but they couldn't see any of the alleged assailants. The next evening, six of the seaman were seen drinking in various public houses in Eccles, word had quickly gone round that these were the men who had offended the girls the previous evening, not only that but were rumoured to be carrying knives and firearms. P.C. Berry saw saw one of the men, worse for wear with the drink, who was singing and urging people to fight him, he was taken into custody possibly for his own safety as it turns out. The other sailors dispersed and made their way back to the ship, however one of them wasn't to make it. He was found on nearby Irwell Grove, bleeding from from the head, with a group of men stood around him, his attackers? The police took him to Eccles and Patricroft Hospital were he was detained although his injuries were described as being, "not serious" they consisted of a "large bruise to his face, a deep cut on the head and suffering from concussion" Presumably with that medical diagnosis if you were in a coma you would be described as being "stable". Wednesday morning saw the arrested Japanese sailor at Eccles Magistrates Court, charged with drunkeness, on the Bench were Messrs E.C. Adams and G. Brooks. The man couldn't speak English so the court case was a bit dodgy to start with, however the case went ahead. Inspector Swaits of the Eccles Constabulary asked the man how much whisky he had drunk, to which he replied in "Good English" as the Eccles Journal reported, "No whisky, five beers" Five pints of Holts or Boddingtons was no doubt a strong pint 100 years ago, and Eccles had quite a few of those pubs, or had he been in the "Stinking Stocking", the Albert Edward to you more refined readers, the pub allegedly got this nickname from the ladies of the night who plied their trade in there, but I digress. He was fined ten shillings and sixpence or 14 days imprisonment. There are no further reports of trouble between locals and the Japanese sailors, so they would have to wait until December 1941 before hostilities could begin again.
  2. After the incident which made the news for all the wrong reasons, which included a phone call from my brother in Australia asking what had happened, I decided to do something, anything to make some good from this awful day. The next evening I went back to the scene of The Battle of the Albert Edward as it has become known and retrieve the cone which had been hurled at Idiot Number One, and took it to a safe house, mine. It dawned on me that it would be a good idea if I was able to raffle the cone off, I could possibly raise some money to help the two charities that Idiot Number One had managed to offend in one foul swoop, the genuine homeless and the ex-serviceman. Well you certainly rose to the occasion in some style, and the money kept coming in, (sorry for any inconvenience Eccles Gateway staff!) with donations of fivers and tenners. Then Angie Shepherd kindly donated a signed photograph of the Eccles Cenotaph in the early 1960, taken by her father, George who you should know is a magnificent photographer and a true gentleman, which was quickly snapped up for £50 by Karen Mansley. I did my reckoning up today and you have kindly donated the eye watering sum of £270! Give yourself a massive pat on the back! So I went to Mustard Tree in Eccles Precinct and gave half the cash to the Manager, Alistair who thanked me profusely and said that the cash would be used to stock the emergency weekend foodbank which was running low, to clarify, you have to be referred to the foodbank bu a Housing Association, Doctor or Social Services, you don't just turn up and get free food! This afternoon Karl turned up in his pimp mobile and we drove to Broughton House Nursing Home which provides comfort, food and shelter for ex-servicemen and has been helping out since 1916. We were met by Laura Carr from the Management Team who gave us a mini tour of the building and told us about the history and showed us what a great service they provide. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/broughtonhousepinbadges We then handed over the remaining cash and were delighted to hear that it would be put to good use use for the veterans including Christmas treats! So we have hopefully put the "Conegate" incident to bed, and we have made good fortune by turning around what was a truly dreadful day, finally something good has come out of it, and it's all because of you good people. Finally the cone was purchased for £50 and will be living out it's years in a back garden in the local area, safe from any trauma, trouble or stress, it needs a rest.
  3. We are often told that a policeman's lot is not a happy one and this cautionary tale from November 1919 backs this theory up. P.C. Gleeson was making his way along Bolton Street in no doubt an orderly fashion, when he noticed a head suddenly peer out from around the corner of nearby Gore Street and as quickly vanish. Our brave boy in blue made his way to the corner to investigate who the mystery person was, and what he saw ended up with Karl Christian Thomsen, a foreign seaman and Agnes Astall of Farm Street, Salford appearing at Salford Magistrates Court charged with being drunk and disorderly and police assault. P.C. Gleeson a man no doubt of the highest morals told the court that he saw the couple, "Conducting themselves in an improper manner" And I think we can all guess what they were up to, the mucky pups. He asked them what they were doing (honestly) and Agnes became abusive to him and proceeded to strike him about the head and body, he decided that enough was enough and he would arrest the amorous couple and take them to Chapel Street police station. Agnes had other ideas and continued her assault on him kicking him about the legs and body, eventually she fell to the floor because the street was covered in mud. P.C. Gleeson shouted for assistance, (I thought they blew their whistles?) and heard footsteps running to his rescue, sadly it wasn't a local hero, it was Thomsen who immediately punched him straight on the jaw. No doubt cheesed off with this latest assault he turned his attention to Thomsen who he described to the court as "Being like one demented!" A few restraining blows by the burly copper brought Thomsen to his senses, who threw his hands up and agreed to go the police station. Agnes was being restrained on the floor by the boots of the policeman planted not on her throat but on her skirts to stop her running away, a crafty move. Both were marched to the police station and charged with the offences. At the Magistrates Court Mr Foyster asked the couple if they pleaded guilty, Thomsen nodded in agreement, whilst Agnes no doubt made of sterner stuff shouted, "How could I assault a big man like him?" For an answer P.C. Gleeson held up a large, swollen disjointed thumb as evidence. The Magistrate found them both guilty and fined them £1 or 14 days in prison for being drunk and disorderly, he then fined them both £2, five shillings for police assault or 21 days in prison. It is recorded that the couple paid their fines on the spot and left the court free to continue with their dalliance. I assume that Thomsen being a foreign seaman was moored at Salford docks and had met Agnes, no doubt a shy, sweet, retiring young girl for a glass of beer and things got out of hand as they say.
  4. Tony Flynn


    If like me you are a vinyl junkie - a record collector for all you youngsters - and used to avidly purchase albums when they came out hoping for the best because you have usually bought all their previous stuff, and have since winced when looking through your collection and thought, "what was I thinking?" However salvation and succour is at hand thanks to the publication of a spiffing new book by, Manchester music legend (he must hate that expression) Ian Moss, with 100 Unhip Albums, That We Should Learn To Love. The book blasts apart musical snobbery and reassures you that "guilty pleasures" means sod all, its just pure pleasure, so enjoy it. There are actually 110 mini essays on albums from such artists as Bob Dylan, Edgar Broughton Band, Mungo Jerry, Nic Jones, The Kinks, The Prick Jaggers, David Essex, Queen, Fatima Mansions,Barry White, Love, Status Quo etc etc. It is an incredibly well written and witty book which shows just how much of a musical magpie that Ian is, he writes knowledgeably about each band/artist with genuine love, humour and candour and made me think twice about certain albums lurking in my collection. As a wet nosed kid I recall seeing Leo Sayer on the OGWT in 1973 dressed as a white faced Pierott singing these incredible songs, which made me rush to the local record shop and purchase his album, Silverbird, which was amazing, songs so sad and delicate with a voice that haunted me. We all know what happened to Leo don't we, he became the curly mopped, all round entertainer with terrible songs and a permanent grin on his face, reader I wept and hid the album away. However reading this book has given me a new slant on both the album, and that it's OK to like your music, feel no shame because you purchased say, David Essex albums, if you you liked it then, so what? put your musical snobbery to one side and wallow in the pleasure of music. Enough from me, I urge you to seek this book out you will not be disappointed, its one of those books you can open at any page and be charmed by the writing, a real love for music shines out, still concerned about my Gary Glitter album though...... Available from Empire Publications, 1 Newton St, Manchester M1 1HW at £9.95, yup the ideal Christmas present!
  5. I was granted exclusive access to the Albert Edward pub, Church Street, Eccles, today Thursday 14 November by the workmen from the brewery who are cleaning up and repairing the damage caused by the squatters who left the premises yesterday. The pub is in a bit of a mess as can be expected with empty cans of lager dotted around the place, half empty pint pots of stale beer and overflowing ashtrays. The beer that was in the pub when the squatters moved in has been drunk as you can imagine along with all the bottles etc. I have no idea what the living quarters look like but I can only imagine they are in a mess and the pub needs a deep cleansing. I was annoyed to see that several pictures had been taken from the wall, including one's of Eccles war hero, Jimmy Rushby who was a regular in there, Jimmy sadly died in January 2016, aged 89, why on earth remove these photographs and a much loved poem that was written about him, senseless? A new landlord is being trained up and will take over the Albert Edward next Monday, however a date hasn't been set for when the pub will be open to the general public, but it looks like next weekend and I for one will be happy to see it reopen as it is one of my favourite watering holes in Eccles. So hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, Cheers!
  6. Tony Flynn


    They say a Mother's love for her son or daughter is unconditional, all lasting, a bond that will never be broken and she will do anything to protect them. Perhaps Edith Rigby who was residing on Wellington Road, Eccles was being a tad over protective of her daughter, as this court case from November 1919 shows when she appeared at Manchester Assize Court charged with Unlawfully wounding, Thomas Livesey on October 17th, 1919. The court heard that Thomas Livesey was employed at Lockett's Finishing Works, on Bazaar Street, Salford just behind Pendleton Church. On the 17th October, Edith called at the works asking for Mr Livesey, she found him working in a room, in a stooped position, she went behind him and put her hand on his shoulder and drew a cut throat razor across his face. Having doing this she walked calmly into Mr Lockett's office and told him, "I have marked him for life for my daughters honour". She was quickly arrested and taken into custody by Detective Sergeant McNee. Livesey was taken to hospital with a wound to his face from his chin to his left ear and a slight wound to his scalp. At the police station Edith told the police that her daughter was pregnant by Livesey and this was the reason for the attack to defend her honour. At the Assize Court she was defended by Mr St John Yates who advised her to plead guilty to the offence as charged. He told the court that he could not disguise the seriousness of the offence in using a razor, then added that if she had wanted to commit Grievous Bodily Harm she could have easily done so, however she had, "Merely drew the razor across his face and obviously without much force" Getting on his moral high horse he told the court that, "This woman's daughter was employed at the same works as the complainant, and in due course she met him, a married man who under the pretence of being single seduced the girl "The mother upon learning of her daughter's condition and without thinking what she was doing picked up a razor, went to his works and committed this offence. "I understand she is very sorry now for what she has done and wishes me to express her sorrow for this act and whilst in prison has been under constant medical attention" Strangeways prison doctor, Allan Pearson told the court that she had been in his care since her arrest and at first she was nervous, agitated and not sleeping well, however her condition has improved and she is now eating well but full of remorse for he actions. Sir H.A. McArdie in passing sentence said, "You only meant to mark him , your phrase was to, "mark him for life" but one twist of the hand, a little moreforce and this man would have been dead and you would have been in the dock today charged with the offence of murder. "I recognise the provocation you have suffered and the deep grief you felt when you learned what he had done to your daughter. "You are a woman too, but if omitted to to punish you I should omit to indicate the law which I am here to see carried out to the full. "The sentence of this court is that you must go to prison for four months" That is what I call a result, she had made her way some three miles from Eccles to Pendleton to carry out this attack, never mind "without thinking what she was doing picked up a razor" and presumably got public transport there which gave her plenty of time to reconsider what she had planned out. Also one slip and poor old Livesey was dead, it was lucky he didn't get his throat cut. I suppose this story gives some indication of the moral outrage that must have been felt in those times, a married man getting a young, single girl pregnant, obviously not the thing to do, and on reflection not a thing to do in these more modern liberated times.
  7. Tony Flynn


    Reverend Ross Garner from Churches Together In Eccles led the service and did a sterling performance considering certain events. He told us about the first Eccles casualty of the Great War, James Holt, from Pym Street, Patricroft who died in 1915 aged 21 also mentioning other soldiers who had taken part reading from their letters they had sent home from the Western Front. Tears filled people's eyes when Laurence Binyon's poem, For the Fallen was read out by Graham Walker, an ex-serviceman himself. The Last Post was played expertly by 10 year old Oliver Tattersall who considering he is the youngest member of the Goodshaw Band, to his absolute credit performed it magnificently. Wreaths were laid by numerous organisations including, RAOB, Blesma, Rotary Club, Merchant Navy, British Legion, GMP, Salford Council, Veterans Garage, Churches Together, RN Reserves, Scouts, Brownies, Guides and literally hundreds of small individual crosses were planted in the small memorial garden there. I have to admit that there seems to be more and more people attending each year which is a good thing, also I have seen school parties laying home made wreaths prior to this event at the war memorial, a nice gesture which I appreciated. Finally congratulations to the organiser, Graham Walker who arranged for safety barriers to be installed which enabled the marchers easier access to the memorial and also helped the onlookers to gain good vantage points.
  8. As I have written in earlier articles there was a spate of racial tension in Salford around the Greengate and Adelphi areas, these areas were populated by a lot of black seaman, mainly from Africa who had been paid off at Salford Docks and continued to reside here. The Salford City Reporter often carried out stories about these new residents and sadly often in in offensive terms, which was par for the course, 100 years ago and happily no longer the case. This story is from October 1919 and concerns four black men, none of whom resided in Salford who appeared at the Magistrates Court charged with, "Behaving in a manner likely to cause a breach of of the peace" and more seriously one of the men, Thomas Momo was charged with threatening to shoot Elizabeth Donohue and Mary Ellen Jones, also with assaulting Inspector Kelly and carrying a pistol without a licence. Again the Salford City Reporter used inflammatory headlines when they covered this story, Threatening Nig**r scare in the Adelphi area, "Will Kill All Whites" The Court was told that John Momo, Thomas O'Koro, Richard Dixon and James Andrews who all resided at Carter Street, Manchester were seen in Artillery Street, Adelphi and Momo was brandishing a revolver. A strange case then unravelled before the Court as the witnesses and accused told their side of the story. Mrs Donohue told the Court that she was on her doorstep talking to a neighbour when John Momo walked up to her and said, "You ------if you say anything, I'll put this pistol through you!" Momo denied saying this but a witness by the name of Ellen O' Brien stated that she did hear Momo make these threats. She then told the Court that she saw the four men accused walking down her street and remarked to a neighbour, "We've got Dixieland back" Momo approached her, drew his revolver from his pocket and said that he would shoot her, adding, "I will kill all whites" Things got heated when Momo said that as they passed young boys in the street, they began jeering him and throwing stones, he admitted pulling his revolver out but it was only to scare them he said. P.C. Foden took the stand and said that he was on duty at the corner of Adelphi Street and Chapel Street when he heard a commotion and went to investigate. He saw Momo walking quickly away and when asked if he was carrying a pistol, he denied this, but then showed him a pistol and said he didn't want to shoot anybody, he was then taken into custody along with the three other men to Chapel Street police station. When he was searched the pistol was taken from him and it was found to be fully loaded with six bullets in it's chambers. He then became violent and struck Inspector Kelly in the face and chest, he was so violent that it took four men to subdue him and put him in the cells. The Magistrate then dealt with Momo separately, he was bound over for £100 with two sureties of £50 each for 12 months or in default, three months imprisonment, and for carrying the pistol with no licence he was fined £5 or 26 days imprisonment. Sadly there is no mention of what sentences the other three accused men received. Obviously Momo was provoked by the Dixieland slurs and the children throwing stones but there is no justification for brandishing a loaded revolver in the street and threatening to, "Kill all Whites" The fine he received amounted to over £200 an amount these days which comes to almost £9,000! Perhaps the Magistrate used his discretion in not sending Momo to prison considering the provocation he received, but decided to hammer him with a massive fine. We'll never know if Momo managed to pay this fine and avoid jail, hopefully so, however Adelphi is a more peaceful place to live these days.
  9. I was pleased to receive this collection of photographs from Tony Green an ex-resident of Eccles, who took these photos in 1975, and show many scenes of the town centre, I love the bench outside the Bulls Head pub! Tony tells me,
  10. Tony Flynn


    Lucy Pugh, 19 a cotton operative at Connels Mill on Ancoats Lane, Manchester was walking down New Bailey Street, Salford when she came to the junction with Chapel Street, when Robert Lomas, 23 walked up to her and shot her in the face. Now that I have your attention I shall tell you the the full story of this shocking incident, of a violent and doomed relationship, which happened in September 1919, and is hardly Mills and Boon material. Lomas who resided at Islington Drive appeared at Salford Magistrates Court charged with, felonious, unlawfully and maliciously wounding Lucy Pugh with intent to cause grievous bodily harm by shooting her with a pistol on Chapel Street. He pleaded not guilty and was remanded in custody for a week whilst police investigations were made. Lucy had been taken to Salford Royal Hospital for treatment to her injuries, she had lost a lot of blood with a bullet wound to the left side of her face which exited through the right side of her cheek, she made a remarkable recovery and would soon be facing Robert Lomas in a courtroom. The police inquiries revealed that Lomas and ex-soldier had been seeing Lucy for about seven months, but it was a very volatile relationship with him often making death threats to her family. Lomas was then remanded to the Manchester Assizes to stand trial and was defended by a Mr Nolan, described as being, "a well known coloured barrister and Mr J. Thorpe prosecuted for the Crown Court. Lucy told the crowded court that she was walking home from work with a friend who also worked at Connels Mill when Lomas approached her and asked, "Where were you last night?" She told him that she had stayed in with her mother when she felt a blow to the face and passed out. Mrs Pugh was called to give evidence and it soon became clear that there was no love lost between her and Robert Lomas. She said that he was a regular visitor to the house and not always a welcome one, and on one occasion she came home to find him sat on her sofa, he jumped up and knocked chairs over and shouted, "I am Robert Lomas, I have had four brothers in the army and I will do all the Pugh family in, and I don't care for anybody" and then added, "You will soon be needing three coffins" P.C. Hunter told the court that on the evening in question he was on duty in Chapel Street with P.C. Lorinson when he heard a gunshot, they raced to the scene and saw that a man named Robert Craddock had tussled Lomas to the ground. They arrested him and a search revealed three live cartridges in his jacket all capable of being fired from the revolver which they also confiscated. He was taken to the nearby police station and was told that he would be charged with the offence listed, however Lomas showed no remorse and said that he would plead not guilty at court. Finally Dr Ghosh from Salford Royal Hospital gave evidence and stated that he treated Lucy Pugh for her injuries and said that if the bullet had deviated slightly it would have severed an artery which would have killed her instantly. Mr Nolan for the defence must surely have known that he was fighting a losing battle in this case, however he did try and plead for his client. He said that Lomas's threats had been carried out in a "boisterous mood", one way of putting it I suppose, and then added that when he pulled the revolver out he had no intention of firing it, merely to frighten her when it suddenly exploded in his hand!. For good measure he chucked in that Lomas had been drinking that day and had also served his country in the war, receiving injuries in the process. The jury retired to consider their verdict and were only out for a few minutes before they returned to declare that Lomas was guilty. Justice McCardie described the offence as a cowardly attack with a revolver on a girl. He sentenced him to seven years imprisonment. The paper said that in court Lomas was seen waving at friends in the public gallery and smiling, and rather prophetically was seen to hold up seven fingers before the sentence was handed down, hopefully Justice McCardie had noticed this act of bravado and took him up on his suggestion.
  11. With all the furore going on at the moment about the future of the Buile Hill Mansion, I thought it would be appropriate to include this rather sad tale of young Vernon Lowe, who tragically drowned in the the lake at Seedley Park in August 1919. Seedley Park was purchased for £,5,000 by Salford Corporation in March 1873 and was designed by Henry Moore the Head Gardener at Peel Park and covered 13 acres of land including a lake. An Inquest was held into the death of Vernon Lowe who was almost two years of age at the Salford Magistrates Court with the Coroner Mr A. Holmes in charge of proceedings. Captain Townson represented Salford Corporation and Mr A. Wilsher the Superintendant of Salford Parks was also in attendance. Mrs Lowe the deceased boys mother told the inquest that that Vernon was playing at the rear of the house along with his brother Eric and another boy, Albert Gatlow both aged three years of age at 10.45am. At 1.40pm the two boys arrived home minus Vernon, she asked where he was and was told, "He has fell in the duck pond and is crying" She rushed to the park with another son Leslie and met a gardener, James Buckley who told her that he had taken a little boy from the water and had done all he could to revive him, he then took her to a nearby tool shed to identify his body. Leslie Lowe aged nine told the inquest that he took his mother to the park to show here were the lake was, he then stated that he saw a park keeper hammering a railing into the iron fencing surrounding the lake. James Buckley then gave evidence, he said that at 1.40pm he went to feed the ducks and saw an object in the water, he waded in and discovered it was the body of a young boy lying face downwards in the water which was between three and four feet deep. He was asked by the Coroner if he had put any new railings in that day, he denied this and added that neither had he heard of any other park keeper having mended any railings around the lake on that day. He explained that the railings were examined daily and if any were found to to damaged they would be straightened immediately and if one was missing it would be replaced as quickly as possible. Leslie then told the inquest that the Buckley wasn't the man he saw putting in the railings, adding that the man he saw was wearing a park keepers hat. Buckley said that at the hour the boy saw the man mending the railings none of the men on duty in the park would be wearing uniforms. Finally P.C. Sykes took the stand and told the inquest that he took the boys body to Salford Royal Hospital and then to Wilburn Street mortuary. In his opinion he thought that boy could not have got through the railings, he had examined them and in no place were they wider than the width of his hand, and therefore he must have got over the railings in some way. The Coroner said it was impossible to say how the boy got into the pond and he must return an, Open Verdict. Several unanswered questions here obviously. How did Vernon manage to climb over the railings, or was he helped over? who was the mystery man who Leslie said he saw fixing the railings, if there was one? and why did the two young boys not raise the alarm instead of going home which was a ten minute walk away, did they panic when he went in to the water? We will never know the answer to these questions in what is a tragic story. In a footnote the lake was filled in, in 1945 but the ground still remains marshy and boggy.
  12. Guided tours start at 11am and 2pm and are well worth going on as you can learn about the history of the church including it's ornate stone carvings, stained glass windows by Charles Kempe and much more The church is a beautiful Grade 11* Listed building which opened for worship in 1879. Over the next 40 years the church was to be beautified with a wealth of stone carving, stained glass, decorative woodwork, and even wall paintings (although the latter were sadly covered over in 1965) to produce the magnificent Grade II* listed building we see today. The stone carving is probably the church’s most distinctive feature. Surrounding the tops of all the pillars in the central aisle are rings of foliage, some with birds, animals and human and angelic faces among the leaves. High above are the carved heads of the 12 apostles and higher further still the symbols associated with each apostle. More religious symbols and saints’ heads may be seen at the east end of the church. In the north and south aisles are a series of carved angels each one completely different from the other. The most impressive stain glass windows are the 3 east windows by Charles Kempe which show the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. Two unusual windows are one in memory of a young man killed in World War I who is actually portrayed in the window and one which shows the Old Testament story of Abraham’s concubine Hager and their son Ishmael (a subject rarely portrayed in stain glass.). Also there is an amazing Peterloo exhibition which tells about local people killed or injured at Peterloo in 1819. Refreshments are available on the day.
  13. We were pleasantly surprised at the finished work which has, had a total makeover, including a new viewing platform and a new multi-level viewing area accessed from School Brow. Dotted around the site are information boards telling the history of the workings and the underground canal route which stretches for some 47 miles, stretching as far as Farnworth. More poignant are the depictions of workers tools, a pick-axe, safety lamp, helmets, coal dollies and memories from workers including young children who rarely saw daylight, their working hours that long. Sited in the middle of the constructed island is a winch, similar to the one which stood here almost two hundred years ago, which hoisted the stone from the Quarry onto barges to build infrastructure around the area. Stone representations of submerged, starvationer boats are dotted about the basin, the bridge stonework has been repaired, cleaned and re-pointed, sluice gate restored and the parapets repainted, and all of the overgrown vegetation has been removed. At night the quarry face is lit up by themed lighting creating a stunning light show which really highlights the workings and is a joy to behold. All in all a marvelous restoration job has been carried out in the most sympathetic manner and we can only applaud and marvel at the finished product.
  14. Cricket, that most English of games, the smack of leather on willow, cucumber sandwiches in the pavilion, or whatever tickles your fancy. Also even as I type the Ashes are being contested between England and Australia and so I thought it would be apt to post this rather sombre story of August 1919, from the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal. It tells of a fateful cricket match played between Monton, St Paul's and the Swinton Second Team at the Monton cricket ground. Swinton Second had just finished their innings and Monton's Captain, Francis Smith strode up to the crease for the opening over. With only a few balls bowled, Smith had already struck himself over the heart with the top of his cricket bat handle, attempting "to pull a ball to leg" (whatever that means) A few balls later however Smith misjudged from the Swinton bowler, James Arthur Hindle and the ball struck him on the heart. To the horror of players and spectators, Smith staggered a few steps and then collapsed to the floor, and had to be carried to the pavilion. A Dr Young was summoned to his aid but on arrival he "found life to be extinct"...what a quaint expression for dead. Obviously the game was abandoned and his body was taken away by ambulance. Francis Smith was 48 years of age and lived at Mirfield Drive, Monton, he was described in the paper as being "an accomplished player and one of four brothers who all played in local cricket leagues" He had been captain of the Monton team for three seasons and as a mark of respect the flags on the Monton and Swinton cricket clubs were flown at half mast, whilst both teams sent floral wreaths to his funeral. An inquest was held at the Blue Bell public house, Monton with Mr P.R. Bennett the Deputy County Coroner presiding over the inquest. Smith's daughter, Bessie told the inquest that her father had always enjoyed fairly good health and had left home at 2.30pm on the Saturday to play cricket. James Arthur Hindle took the stand and told the Coroner that he had bowled the ball that had struck Mr Smith. He said that the ball was straight and rose a little striking Smith in the stomach, who attempted to pull himself together but collapsed. The Coroner asked Hindle if that instead of playing the ball, the deceased seemed to appear to double up over the wicket? Hindle replied, "I did not think the blow from the ball would have killed him because it was not a fast delivery" Dr Young told the inquest that he thought it was the second blow which proved fatal and he would have appeared to have died from shock following the blow. Finally the Vice-Captain of the Monton Cricket Club, Sydney W. Painter told the Coroner that the accident happened about 5.30pm, and owing to the weather the deceased mistimed the speed of the ball and did not make his stroke. After hearing all of the evidence Mr Bennett registered a verdict of "Accidental Death" The newspaper noted that a special service for "men only" was held at the St Paul's Church, Monton on the Sunday afternoon, to his memory. A sad and perhaps cautionary tale, and I wonder if there is some kind of memorial or trophy in memory of Francis Smith? it would be nice if there was reminder of his sporting life, does anybody know?
  15. Vandalism, doesn't it get on your nerves? the number of times we must all have witnessed smashed up phone boxes, broken shop windows, litter bins set on fire etc. It's a good job that this loutish behaviour didn't go on in the olden days when you could leave your front door open and......Hang on! Take of your rose tinted spectacles and have a read at this story culled from the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal, August 1919. Gerald Openshaw who resided at St Georges Crescent, Salford and Frank Gallop who resided at Gilda Brook Road, Eccles appeared at Eccles Magistrates Court charged with doing wilful damage to public property. James Flitcroft who resided at Monton Road told the Court that he was near his home when he saw a group of young men smashing electric street lamps by throwing bricks at them. Being a good minded citizen he told them to stop, he was met with the casual remark, "Let the Goverment pay" Flitcroft replied that it was the likes of him and others who would have to pay the bill. Unimpressed by his high moral standards the men sauntered away, laughing and jeering. Flitcroft then made his way to the nearby home of Sergeant Tomlinson and told him what he had seen, you have to hand it Mr Flitcroft he was keen. The good Sergeant went in to the night and spotted the men stood by a night watchman's fire close to the Blue Bell pub. He told them who he was and that he was investigating the smashing of street lights, they started o joke about it until he reminded them that this was no laughing matter and asked for their names and addresses...I think you know what's coming. Openshaw gave his name as Mr Estills who resided at Broad Street, Pendleton, Gallop point blank refused to give any details, two other men with them also refused to give any details. He let them go and said they would be prosecuted for this offence and contacted by the police. Amazingly enough the next night, Sergeant Tomlinson who was on duty in Monton saw the two men and gripped them, he told them that he had checked their details and they were false, he must have been bluffing surely? Both men then rather meekly gave their correct details and said they were willing to pay the damage done to the street lamps. They were charged with with the offence and bailed to appear at Eccles magistrate the following week and face the wrath of Mr F. Halsall, the Chairman of the Bench. In court it emerged that the two other men involved in this incident one was a Lieutenant West of the Australian Army, an upper crust vandal no doubt, the other culprit had vanished altogether. Mr Angus, the Eccles Borough Electrical Engineer (a grand title) told the Court that the two accused had called at his home last week and had offered to pay for the damage if they could avoid police proceedings, adding that they were both recently demobilized from the Army and were simply having a "rag" Obviously their pleas for help fell on deaf ears and the inscrutable Mr Angus as they both stood in the dock. A witness, Mr Harry Williams who lived on Lansdowne Road, Monton gave evidence and told the court that he saw the two accused and Lieutenant West smash a lamp in Monton Road by throwing bricks at it, he then saw Gallop climb a lamp-post unscrew the bulb and smash it on the floor, Openshaw then did the same and hurled the bulb into the road. The Magistrate asked Mr Angus if there was damage done around Monton that weekend and was told there was trouble all over the Borough with vandalism. The Chairman of the Bench, Mr F. Halsall told the men , "I am surprised that young men in your position should given the trouble of providing false names and addresses, there is too much of this wilful damage going on in the Borough and if any other person is brought up before me they will be severely dealt with" Each man was fined five shilling and sixpence. That is a paltry amount for the offence committed and reading between the lines I think that Openshaw and Gallop came from wealthy families, their home addresses were then and now desirable areas to live, also for them to be associated wit h a Lieutenant from the Australian Army makes me wonder if they weren't officer class. Also calling at the home address of the Borough Electrical Engineer and asking if they could pay to keep them out of the court, surely bribery or some other charge? I wonder how two ordinary Privates from the British Army fresh from France would have fared faced with the same charges, before Mr Halsall?

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