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Tony Flynn

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  1. A story for all you lovers of Salford history with an touch of heroism and Irish Republicans aiming to wreak havoc in the local area. A quick background to this story, and in 1920 the Irish Republican Army otherwise known as the IRA, launched a number of raids on properties in Liverpool, Glasgow and Manchester, which were carried out by local IRA units, who allegedly had over 1,000 sympathisers in this country. Fires were started at grain warehouses, power stations were bombed as were railway lines, telegraph poles were blown up, in an attempt to cause major disruption throughout the country and highlight the Irish struggle. On the evening of January 2nd, 1921, Police Constable Henry Bowden was on duty on East Ordsall Lane, when he saw a group of men acting suspiciously close to a grain warehouse, owned by The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. He kept them under observation and noticed that two of the men were paying attention to the grain warehouse, they noticed he was watching them, some of the men went off towards St Stephen's Street, he followed two of the men across Hampson Street, into Middlewood Street and along onto Oldfield Road. At the junction with Cow Lane and Oldfield Road, the men stopped at a gate which led to the canal towpath, he decided to apprehend them and asked the men for their names and addresses, both men gave addresses in Manchester, unhappy with these details he asked the men to accompany him to the nearby Regent Road, police station. They initially walked along Ordsall Lane with him, when one the men, later identified as Patrick Flynn (no relation!) broke away and shouted at him..."I'm -------- if I am going with you" He then pulled a revolver out of his raincoat pocket and shot P.C. Bowden, the bullet went through his left wrist and into his left shoulder, he collapsed to his knees and the men ran off in the direction of Muslin Street, he blew on his police whistle and people came to his aid, and took him to Salford Royal Hospital for treatment to the gunshot wound. A huge police operation swept into action and dozens of Irishmen and women were arrested and taken in for questioning, eventually in February 1921, five men were charged with the attempted murder of P.C. Bowden and stood trial at Manchester Assize Courts with P.C. Bowden with his arm in bandages gave evidence and identified the other men. Patrick Flynn (22), Jeremiah Roddy (20), Daniel O’Connell (25) and Charles Forsythe (32). Forsythe was the landlord of a boarding house at 3 Poole Street , Salford, where the other men were lodgers. They and another man Patrick Waldron were later charged under the Defence of the Realm Act, and on 22nd February Flynn was sentenced to ten years penal servitude for attempted murder. PC Boden was presented with the Kings Police Medal for outstanding bravery in January 1922, sadly I have been unable to track down a photo of the brave bobby, so if you have one or are a relative, please get in touch and I will amend this story.
  2. Another year begins and another story from the pages of the Salford City Reporter, January 1922 which tells of a Salford tightrope walker and his colourful life. The newspaper visited Mr Thomas Wainwright, aged 20 who resided in Hodson Street, Salford after he had issued a challenge to a Madame Eleanora, who had planned to walk on a tightrope across Niagara Falls, but by walking backwards, no less! Wainwright who used the name "Wainwratta" for his performances, certainly wasn't lacking in confidence as he told the reporter, "There is really nothing to it, you have more confidence walking across water then say, trees or the land, walking backwards is the easiest way, but she is a rope walker and will use a rope some two inches thick, I will use a wire, no more than a quartet of an inch thick, and I wouldn't use a balancing pole, or a safety harness" He was then asked if the roar of the water going over the waterfall would put him off, he answered that he had an iron nerve and was used to the roar of the crowd when he performed, then added, that he was deaf in his left ear..... We then learned that Wainwratta came from a long line of tightrope walkers, his Father and Uncle were both award winning performers and introduced young Thomas, sorry, Wainwright to the stage at the age of eight. His Father had his hand amputated in a works accident and took to the stage as a ... conjuring violinist... you can't make this up, to add to his misfortune, he visited America after vowing to walk across Niagara Falls, however on a journey from New York to Baltimore, he caught a chill and died. Undeterred the plucky Wainwratta Junior, joined the Royal Marines and toured the world, on one occasion his shipmates urged him to do a tightrope walk between the ships mastheads, he was halfway up the mast, but came down when the Captain threatened to shoot him. Another time he was moored in London and he was challenged to walk across the Thames on a tightrope, once again he was thwarted when the Port Authorities threatened to have him arrested and put in jail... not having much luck is he? At the time of the interview, Wainwratta was unemployed but helping out at the unemployed centre on Albion Street, Salford where he was in training for the proposed Niagara Falls walk, by doing, "walks, slides, picking up handkerchiefs and jumping tricks" obviously vital skills when crossing over a 1,100 foot high waterfall with 70,000 gallons of water a second hurtling below you. I did a check on the number of people who have walked over the Falls, 13 in total, with Charles Blondin the French tightrope walker doing it over 300 times, sometimes with people on his back, blindfolded, pushing a wheelbarrow and once he even cooked an omelette half way across it, and ate it...what a show off. Sadly no sign of Wainwratta on the roll of honour, but if any consolation no, Madame Eleanora, but I still admire his determination and pig headed belief he could do it, certainly a character.
  3. There was a clash of opinions at Salford Magistrates Court in December 1921, when Agnes Harrison aged 29 who resided at Cliff Street, Manchester, was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Bridson Street, Weaste, at 8pm. P.C, Greatorex told the unnamed Magistrate that he was on duty in the Eccles New Road area, when he was called to Bridson Street, after hearing that a woman was making a "great noise and using objectionable language". He asked her to moderate her language and move along, she carried on with her behaviour and P.C. Greatorex had to take her into custody. On the way to the police station, she was initially very quiet, however she suddenly threw herself onto the floor, saying that she had sprained her ankle and demanded to be taken to Salford Royal Hospital for treatment. She was examined by a Doctor who told her that there was nothing wrong with her, apart from her language and temper. Agnes then limped heavily into the dock and asked the P..C..."then how did I come to sprain my b-------ankle!" She then told the Magistrate a rather sad story, that she had been released from Strangeways prison, the day prior to her arrest. where she had served 28 days for indecent behaviour, and had been looking for her husband, in an attempt to make him pay her a larger allowance, than the few shillings a week that he gave her. The Court was told that Agnes had more than 20 previous convictions and was known to the police. The Magistrate told her, that the prison sentence, she had just served, did not appear to have had any influence on her, however he didn't propose to impose on her as long a prison term this time, and that a shorter sentence of 14 days imprisonment would be an inducement to change her ways, but if she were to appear before him again, he wouldn't be so lenient. Undaunted, Agnes asked him if he could take some action to get her maintenance money increased, and was told that wasn't the time to go into that matter. God loves a trier, and Agnes certainly was, I do hope she managed to keep out of further trouble and Strangeways prison, certainly a colourful character as they say
  4. Do you remember the television programme, The Monocled Mutineer, which told the story of Percy Topliss, a rum cove who deserted from the army, several times and would often dress up in a stolen British Army Officers uniform, to obtain free food, lodgings, impress women and gain revenge on his old adversaries, until he was shot dead in dubious circumstances in June 1920. This story from December 1921 tells of a young man found by the police in the Hanky Park area of Salford dressed, not as an officer but wearing a Lancashire Fusiliers uniform and a Mons service ribbon and a Victory ribbon, to which he was not entitled. Police Constable Wright, told Salford Magistrates Court that he was on duty on Nursery Street, when he saw Robert Hartley aged 20, who resided at Tindall Street, Pendleton "loitering in a suspicious manner", when asked what he was doing, replied, "waiting for a pal" He was then asked about the uniform and ribbons he was wearing, his reply was astonishing in it's honesty, "I have no other clothes to wear" P,C, Wright took him to Pendleton Town Hall for further questioning, Hartley insisted he had a legal right to wear the uniform and the ribbons, the next day in Court he was remanded in custody for a week whilst further checks were carried out.by Inspector Mitchell. Back in Court it was ascertained that Hartley had never served overseas with the British Army and was not entitled to wear either the uniform or Mons ribbon also he had been discharged from the Defence Force in July 1921, and would only be entitled to wear a uniform without service buttons or badges. Hartley then admitted the offences but stuck to his defence that he had no clothes to wear but the uniform, and that the ribbons were issued to him, and furthermore he had not received any money from the Guardians, The Clerk of the Court, Mr. W.H. Foyster asked him if he had looked for work, he replied "It's work I want, not relief" The unnamed Stipendiary Magistrate told Hartley that this was one of the worst cases of this kind he had come across and sentenced him to three months imprisonment. In my opinion I think Hartley was possibly a bit of a chancer, hoping to impress a young woman with tales of his bravery fighting overseas, and if it was his only clothing, then he deserves some sympathy for his plight. Finally The Battle of Mons was in August 1914, and the British Expeditionary Force fought there, can't see a mention of the Lancashire Fusiliers, besides young Mr Harley would have been 14 years of age!
  5. 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.
  6. A estimated crowd of over 500 people gathered at Eccles Cenotaph today, to pay their respects to our fallen heroes. The emotional sound of a lone bagpipe set the tone for the proceedings as the Goodshaw brass band led the way into the cordoned off area, followed by veterans, scouts, guides and numerous other associations. The service was led by Rev Ross Garner from, Churches Together In Eccles, who spoke eloquently throughout the service, and mentioned a local family from Eccles and four brothers who had gone to fight in the Great War, one of them Joseph was to die in combat, another from Spanish Influenza shortly after the war. Standard bearers from the Merchant, Navy and The British Legion raised and lowered their colours as the Last Post was blown. Events organiser and Parade Marshall Graham Walker read the poem, For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon with the immortal lines, "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. ... We will remember them" Wreaths were then laid by, Salford Council, Greater Manchester Police, Merchant Navy Association, Rotary Club, Morrisons Store, Army Cadets, The Buffs, British Legion, Women's Institute. The Buffs, Eccles Parish Church. Rev Garner then told of the follies of war and how the names of 240 local men are remembered in a plaque in Eccles Parish Church, and a reminder that conflicts are still raging in Yemen and the Sudan amongst other places, worldwide. He then read out the Siegfried Sassoon poem, Aftermath, a beautiful poem which urges people not to forget the horrors of war. This was followed by a reading of the Lords Payer and The National Anthem. The people gathered then laid their individual wreaths and poppies for loved, lost ones, i was intrigued to see a young man, Graeme McCaig lay out his Grandfathers WW! medals and take a photo, his name was George McCaig who had served in the Ist Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and Graeme had to carried on the family tradition by serving in the armed forces. As the crowd made their way home I was impressed by a cavalcade of motor bike riders, some flying the Union flag on the bikes who roared past the Cenotaph to a standing applause, a nice touch. Finally congratulations to everybody who turned up, certainly the most I have ever seen in all my years of attending, and a special mention for Graham Walker who made it run with military precision.
  7. On a cold, crisp autumnal morning, some 200 people gathered at the Eccles Cenotaph to pay their respects, lay wreaths and individual poppies. Amongst the people there I was pleased to see some 25 Year Four children from Lewis Street, primary school, Patricroft under the guidance of Lizzie Dunn, who behaved impeccably throughout the service. The two minutes silence was observed with people deep in their own, private thoughts. for those who had made the ultimate sacrifice. Rod O' Connor was on duty and raised and lowered the Union Jack flag in what was quite a moving experience, hats off to him for attending, today. I saw many familiar faces in the crowd, both young and old and it is heartening to see so many people there, despite the official ceremony being this Sunday. Also I noticed amongst the tributes left on the base of the Cenotaph, there were several home made paper wreaths from the Manse Nursery in Eccles which I thought was a nice touch. We shall be there this Sunday to make a video of this years service and do a more in depth interview and write up. My thanks to all of you attended today, good to see you all.
  8. Over the years we have seen Eccles, lose some of it's finest buildings and shops, mainly in the name of so called progress. Let's have a look at a list of some of those we have loved and lost... Monks Hall Museum, The Broadway Cinema. Dolly Craft, Eccles Railway Station, Smiths Restaurant, Top House, Cross Keys, Hare and Hounds, Eccles market, Eddies Sausage Barm, Cafe, need I go on? Sadly yet another fine Eccles establishment has announced that it will cease trading as from Wednesday, 3rd November at 5pm. It with is with great regret that I have to inform you that.... Scope Charity Shop, 2 Church Street Eccles has been told by the owners of the property, that the shop is required for, yes. you guessed...development. This fine establishment has been selling, tat, sorry quality reduced goods from as long as the late 1970s and I can recall it being called The Spastics Society Shop in the 1980s, a name that I am glad to say has been long since banished, there was even a collection box outside of a young lad, with a calliper, staring at you with desperation in his sad, little eyes... I have to admit that I have had, some cracking bargains from there over the years, rare vinyl albums, by Elvis, Bowie, Hank Williams, bric-a-brac galore including a Troika Pottery Wheel, Scandinavian Glass, Harris Tweed jackets, (not sure why I bought those), books by the shelf load and God knows what else I carted home, or as my Daughter, Rachel so indelicately put it, "about two skip loads" I had a quick look through a reference book and found that the shop has had several guises over the years, including a wool shop, a drapers and who can recall, Robinson's Cake Shop and Café? I can just about remember it, very genteel, with one half of the shop being dived into a posh café selling cakes and tea's for Ladies who lunched. Happily, for me there are still quite a few charity shops in Eccles with bargains to be found, if you can get in there before me that is. So rush on down to the half price. closing down sale, and pick up, well I don't know what you will pick up, but I'm sure you'll find something. A sad day for many and as Bob Dylan, so perfectly put it, "Bury the rag deep in your face, for now's the time for your tears".
  9. 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.
  10. I have to admit that when I first read the following story about a bogus valet to Sir William Bass, I was reminded of the Fawlty Towers episode, "A Touch Of Class" and the fictitious, "Lord Melbury" who cons money out of Basil, who is fawning over him,because of his title. Our story begins in August 1921 in Douglas, on the Isle of Man with a Mrs Ann Edwards and her unnamed husband on their holiday's in a boarding house, they got into conversation with a chap, called, Thomas Henry Ireland, who told them he was the valet too, Sir William Bass who was also on holiday in Douglas. They exchanged business cards and Mrs Edwards told him that if he was ever in Manchester, that he should look them up and he would be made welcome at their home in Conway Street, Broughton, Salford. It is worth noting that at this time there was a, Sir William Bass, he was the son of Sir Hamer Alfred Bass the brewing magnate, Sir William was educated at Harrow and became a famous racehorse owner. One can only imagine the the look on Mrs Edwards face when several weeks later, Mr Ireland turned up at her two up and down terraced house and told her that his "Master" was staying in Manchester but had kindly allowed him 13 shillings and sixpence a day for board and lodgings and could she kindly put him up, to which she agreed. Surely a valet's occupation is to be the personal assistant and is responsible for his Masters clothes and daily arrangements? Mr Ireland stayed with them for almost a fortnight and on the morning of, August 26th he told Mrs Andrews that he was going for lunch with Sir William and would be back later, later on in the day they received a telegram from him, informing them that, he had been called to Liverpool and would return the next day.....do you think he would? Mrs Andrews suspicions were raised, (and not before time if you ask me), a search of her property revealed a quantity of gold, including a watch, a gold Albert, several gold sovereigns and a war medal were missing, along with Mr Ireland. The police were informed and a month later he was apprehended in High Wycombe, some distance from Liverpool, and was brought back to Salford to face the music, where he was charged with theft and a further charge of obtaining food and lodging by false pretences. He appeared at Salford Magistrates Court under the watchful eye of the Stipendiary Magistrate, Mr P.W. Atkin. Inspector Mitchell told the Court that Ireland had pleaded guilty to the theft of the gold but not the war medal and that all of the stolen property had been recovered, he also revealed that there were two court cases pending against him in, Douglas and Llandudno He was sentenced to six months imprisonment which seems a fairly lenient sentence, possibly because all of the stolen gold was recovered. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in Mrs Andrews house at tea time, when Mr Ireland would regale them with stories about Sir William Bass and the high life that he led, however a fortnight off spinning these yarns about his, "Master" would soon wear thin and I can imagine that they had already regretted bumping into him in Douglas and exchanging, calling cards. Thanks to Gary Williams for the photo of Conway Street taken in 1978.
  11. I think we have all heard the Mother In Law jokes and how they make their Son in Law's life a misery with constant nagging, but this story from the pages of the Salford City Reporter, September 1921 puts a new spin on that old chestnut. Leah Perry, 49, and her daughter, Cecillia, 27, appeared at Salford Magistrates Court charged with assaulting, Molly Perry, her Daughter in Law, who had the misfortune to marry her eldest son. Molly appeared in court with her head swathed in bandages and sporting, two black eyes, she told her tale of woe to the Stipendiary Magistrate, Mr P.W. Atkin. She told him that that Leah and Cecillia had made her life a misery for the past four months, beating her, stealing her wages, called her, "filthy names" and had threatened to split her head open if she didn't leave her husband. When her, husband, Frank got in from work, she told him what had happened, his remedy to this solution was that they both go for a walk and chat to avoid any trouble. Their walk took them along Cross Lane which was famous for the number of pubs there, and also it's colourful clientele in the evening, hardly the place to calm one's shattered nerves I would have thought. Frank as noble as ever, nipped in the pub for a pint and left, Molly outside waiting for him, I think you can guess what is going to happen... Leah and Cecillia just happened to be taking a stroll along Cross Lane when they spotted her, incredibly, Leah produced a hand grenade and struck Molly over the head with it, she then passed it to Cecillia who, walloped Molly over the head with it twice, knocking her out, and the poor girl remembered nothing until she woke up in Salford Royal Hospital. Frank who had possibly finished his pint came out of the pub to see what the commotion was all about, only to see his Mother and Sister knocking the living daylights out of his poor wife. P.C. Wilson who happened to be passing arrested both women and took them to Cross Lane Police Station, both women denied ever having seen a hand grenade and that they were the one's who had been attacked. The Magistrate adjourned the case for a day and warned the women that he was considering sending them for trial at the next Quarter Sessions. The following morning, Detective Smith told the court that drink was the cause of this quarrel and the family squabbling, and that the hand grenade had been brought home from the war by one of Mrs Perry's soldier sons, and was harmless...unless you were hit over the head with it several times, presumably? MR Atkin then told the accused women that he had thought of sending them to prison but he would bind them over for 12 months if they promised to stop drinking and leave Molly alone. They agreed to this and were discharged from the court. I have a nagging feeling that the Magistrate had made the wrong decision and that he hadn't seen the last of these feuding ladies.
  12. I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who said, that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes, I would like to add another to that statement. I can virtually guarantee that if you go to someone's house for what ever reason, you will see a pint pot or a glass that has been nicked from a pub, c'mon admit it, we have all a Stella, Carling, Heineken, Boddingtons or Holts glass lurking in the cupboard... This story from the pages of the Salford City Reporter, September 1921, tells of what happened to a Mrs Catherine Walker who was found to be in possession of drinking glasses from a local pub, be warned. She appeared at Salford Magistrates Court charged with stealing (or receiving, well knowing them to have been stolen) five drinking glasses from The Cattle Market Hotel, Cross Lane, Salford and a further charge of being in unlawful possession of 44 more glasses. Superintendent Clark told the Court that a few days ago from something that came to the knowledge of Groves and Whitnall brewery who owned the pub and was passed onto him, concerning a number of drinking glasses in a house on West High Street, Salford, a search warrant was applied for and granted. The next evening, Detectives Coates and MacDonald visited the house and asked Mrs Walker if she had any drinking glasses that didn't belong to her, bearing the name of the Cattle Market Hotel, to which she replied, "No". One of the Detectives went into the living room and saw two glasses with the Imperial measure stamp on them, on the table, in a nearby locked cupboard was found a further 44 glasses, five of which were stamped, Cattle Market Hotel. She told them that the five glasses had been in her house for a number of years, and then added that she ran a boarding house which catered for artists performing at the nearby Salford Hippodrome and thought that, "theatricals had bought them in at various times" as for the other glasses they belonged to her. The manager of the Cattle Market was asked if there was any marks on the five engraved glasses which would indicate if they had been taken within the past two years, he said that in the case of two of them, that particular glass was not made two years ago. For the defence, Mr A. Gilman Jones said that with regard to the first case there was no evidence of theft, and as a matter of fact Mrs Walker had only been in the Cattle Market pub once during the past, three or four years, and that her husband had died, two years ago. He then tried to switch the blame onto the Artistes who had stayed at her house who he described as being, "happy go lucky people and travelling on a Sunday they brought food with them including, glasses, knives and forks, and they must have visited the Cattle Market pub and brought them out of the pub and back to her lodging house" Seems plausible enough to me. Mrs Walker then told the court that she had seen some of the glasses stamped, Cattle Market Hotel, and it was simply neglect on her part, not to return them, and since her husband had died there had been no new additions to the glasses collection, is she blaming him, now? The Stipendiary Magistrate ruled that she was guilty of receiving the five stamped glasses and fined her £5 or 28 days in prison, the second charge against her of unlawful possession of the other glasses was dropped. A strange case to say the least, I wonder who tipped the brewery off about her glasses collection, a disgruntled lodger perhaps? and also was she allowed to keep the remaining other glasses? So the next time your in Wetherspoons or some such pub, think about Mrs Walker afore slipping a glass into your pocket or bag....
  13. I have been trawling through the pages of the local newspapers for many, many years now, mainly for research material which would be used in my local history books, also I would select stories from 100 years ago to illustrate articles for SalfordOnline. The stories selected are often humorous, sometimes hearting breaking, yet they all give an insight into what life was like in our great City of Salford, however I kept coming across one man's name, which would crop up fairly regularly, and always at The Magistrates Court, his name was Joshua Batty. Batty aged 40, who lived in Birley Street, Pendleton, wasn't one of the regular drunks or brawlers who so often featured, his appearances were always politically motivated, his "offences" included, chalking messages on walls and pavements, in which he would insult the local authorities, the police, councillors, clergy and the Government, he was once arrested for going into the pulpit at Salford Cathedral when there was a Mass in progress and began denouncing the church and it's wealth. The following story is about, yet another of his appearances at Salford Magistrates Court in August 1921 where he appeared charged with begging outside the War Pensions Committee's premises on Strawberry Road, Pendleton. Detective Sergeant McNee told the court that following "complaints" and having cautioned, Batty the previous day, he and Detective Squires kept observation on him for 20 minutes, during this time they saw Batty approach men leaving the building and ask them for money, some gave and others refused, McNee then told the court that after speaking to a disabled ex-serviceman and what he told him, (which was not disclosed in court) they arrested him on a charge of begging and he was taken to Pendleton police station. When searched they found a list of names and the amount of money given, written next to it, the amount came to, three shillings and three pence, and Batty had only three shillings on him, when asked where the missing threepence was, he told them he had bought himself a packet of Woodbine cigarettes, he was then charged with begging to which he replied, "Fair enough". By keeping a list of names of the people who had given him money doesn't strike me as being the actions of a street beggar, was he collecting for something else? and the fact the bought himself a packet of cigarettes is hardly a crime, was it mentioned in court as an attempt to discredit, Batty? Batty who was no stranger to the courts, took to the stand and asked Detective Sergeant McNee, if it was true that he had spoken to him the previous day but not for begging, but for obstructing the pavement, to which he agreed. Then Batty asked him if he would read out to the court an appeal he held in his hand which referred to a local public official, strangely enough, the Stipendiary Magistrate. Mr. Atkin read the appeal and wouldn't make the contents public, was it too inflammatory or possibly down right libellous? McNee then read out to the court, a list of Batty's previous convictions which started out with by saying, "Batty appears to have discovered the secret of of living without working" Batty's convictions dated back to 1906 and included, 12 months in Strangeways for smashing the windows at Lewis's store, Manchester, incitement to riot, chalking on pavements, obstructing the footpath and in 1916 he was Court Martialled from the army for, "Conduct prejudicial to military discipline" The with a final blow he said to the Magistrate, "I appeal to your worship to assist us in controlling this man who has got to the end of his tether" The case was adjourned for the day and Batty was granted bail. The next day the attacks on Batty continued, with Superintendent Clarke by saying that Batty had a bank account and that the bank manager a Mr Bracewell had been summoned to give evidence about the amount of money he had in the account, Bracewell said that Batty did have a joint bank account but there was little money in it. Batty, quite rightly got to his feet and objected to this evidence saying that he was being charged with begging and this evidence had nothing to do with this case. Possibly exasperated with the court case, The Stipendiary Magistrate. Mr. Atkin asked Batty if he would stop begging for money outside the War Pensions Committee's offices and demanded a straight answer. Batty replied that there was no reason why he should not, but gave his word and said he would keep to it. The case was dismissed and Batty walked free from the courtroom. In my opinion it does seem that Batty was a thorn in the side of the authorities, and looking at his criminal offences, he would appear to be a political activist of some degree, perhaps his days in the British Army had affected him in more ways than one, I can only guess. I fully intend to do more research into this chap's life as I find him to be a fascinating character, and if you have any anecdotes about Joshua Batty, please contact me on here.
  14. You may have heard the expression, "Forbidden Fruit" and this rather sad story from August 1921, helps illustrate the meaning behind it. Henry Simmonds aged 53, who lived at North George Street, Salford and James Pollitt aged 23, who resided at Water Street, Manchester appeared at Salford Magistrates Court with stealing gooseberries otherwise receiving them knowing them to have been stolen...yes that's correct, gooseberries. Simmonds have been employed by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company for several years as a loader, whilst Pollitt was employed by a wholesale butcher. In response to to repeated cases of fruit pilfering, the company had gone as far, as to use two of their detectives to to hide in the goods yard and keep observations on the workforce. They saw Simmonds on several occasions bend down and take fruit from a barrel which he was unloading off a train and eat them, as if this wasn't bad enough, Pollitt was then seen to climb onto a railway waggon and also eat some fruit, however he was seen by the keen eyed detectives to put something into his jacket, followed by Simmons who did the same. As Pollitt was leaving the goods yard, Detective Bolas sprang into action and asked him what he had in his pockets, Pollitt admitted having some gooseberries and said that the other men unloading the fruit were also eating them. Simmons was also stopped and searched, rather comically he was seen swallowing the evidence and five squashed gooseberries were found in his pocket, this was all the evidence the detectives needed for the men to be arrested. They were taken to a nearby police station and charged with theft, Simmons pleaded not guilty, whilst Pollitt who had been caught red handed, pleaded guilty to this heinous offence. In the Magistrates Court, Mr Howard Flint who was defending Simmonds put forward the rather half hearted excuse that the fruit was loose in the barrels and could have, in transit accidentally fallen into his clients pockets.... Furthermore his client had unloaded 36 baskets of fruit that day and he could have filled his pockets with gooseberries, yet instead he had, only taken four or five, which were squashed. Predictably the Magistrate, Alderman Hughes, dismissed the notions of fruit accidentally landing in pockets etc and showed that he had no sense of humour by finding both men guilty, and they were fined £1 each but were warned if the fine wasn't paid in seven days they would go to prison for 14 days! Talk about petty, the sad thing is that, Simmons who had no previous convictions would not only get a criminal record but he would lose his job at the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, this at a time of economic gloom for the whole country, obviously they shouldn't have nicked a few gooseberries but it was hardly a major crime was it?
  15. I came across this entertaining story from the pages of The Salford City Reporter from August 1921 which tells of the mishaps that befell Acting Sergeant Groves, one night on Regent Road, Salford and a crowbar wielding rescuer. The full story came out at Salford Magistrates Court in Bexley Square when Samuel Royle aged 19 from West Union Street and Gilbert Saunders aged 20 from Gledhill Street, appeared charged with being drunk and disorderly and assaulting Acting Sergeant Groves. A/S Groves who took the stand sporting a black eye and limping heavily gave his account of the fateful night, he said that he saw Royle. singing and shouting, and acting in a drunken manner, and asked him to be quiet and move along. To which Royle, replied, "Who are you spoofing?",then punched him in the face at which point all hell broke loose as A/S Groves was punched from behind and kicked to the ground by several people. Royle broke free and ran some fifty yards along Regent Road before being rugby tackled to the ground by the .plucky A/S Groves again a group of men joined in kicking and punching him in an attempt to release Royle. Help came from an unlikely source as a passing tram driven, driven by a Mr Connell came to a halt, he grabbed a cast iron, points iron and waded into the mob attacking the policeman, hitting anyone in his way and as he told the Court, "I used the points iron to some good effect" which was met with laughter from the public gallery. Mr Connell then helped the injured onto his tram and took him to the nearby, Salford Royal Hospital for treatment to his injuries which included, black eyes, bruised legs, knees and arms, these resulted in him being off work for several days. P.C. Wood took the stand and told the Court that he heard a police whistle and went to his comrades aid, there he saw, Royle rolling about on the floor with, A/S Groves, he manged to restrain him and took him to Regent Road Police Station where he continued to act like a "mad man" Saunders then went into the witness box and said that he had heard, screams and shouts and saw his pal, Royle on the floor when somebody hit him on the head knocking him out, and he woke up in the cells, possibly our crowbar wielding hero had claimed another victim? The Stipendary Magistrate, Mr F.W. Atkin, clearly didn't believe a word that Royle and Saunders had said and took the side of the police. Both men were fined, £1 for being drunk and disorderly and a further punishment of one months hard labour in Strangeways Gaol for assaulting A/S Groves was added. Seems a lively night on Regent Road and Mr Connell wasn't a man to be taken lightly by all accounts, as they say, The Good Old Days!
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