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About Me

Found 3 results

  1. 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!
  2. Sadly this is not a new phenomenon as the following story from August 1918 will show. Sarah Normond aged 72 of no fixed address appeared at Manchester County Police Court, charged with, "sleeping out" P.C. Walmsley informed the Bench that he was on duty at Worsley Police Station at 7am when Sarah Normond called in and asked if she could be allowed to dry her clothes, explaining that she had slept the night in a nearby field, when a sudden rainstorm had soaked her to the skin. P.C. Walmsley did everything he could to make her comfortable, making her a mug of tea and giving her a blanket to keep warm whilst he dried her sodden clothes. Her conversation and explanation as to how she had come to be sleeping out in the field alarmed him and so he decided to detain her for her own safety and let the Police Court decide on how best to help her. In the dock her conversation to the Chairman, Mr W.A. Rothwell was as equally puzzling. She told him that her father was a well known brewer of beer whilst she herself was strictly tee-total. Carrying on in a similar vein, she stated that she was a widow and was related to the Earl of Marlborough, adding that she didn't come from Manchester but had come from America and had been staying in the Everton district of Liverpool. The Chairman asked her, "If we release you, where will you go?" She replied, "I shall go where I like, I can get my living and I have got money, also I have two son's serving in the British Army and two daughters still living" No doubt concerned for her safety he asked her, "Where do you live in, Manchester?" Her explanation to this question was bizarre to say the least, "I don't belong to Manchester, I shall not go into the workhouse, I have never been in one yet, I have money to live upon, I can get it from the King of England, I can't say anything fairer than that" Again she was told that they only wanted to help her and to trace her relatives, however she would be remanded in custody for a week whilst enquiries were made to trace them. Supt. Rutter of the Manchester Police Force then circulated a description of Sarah Normond to police stations in the Manchester area in an effort to find out who she was. She was described as being aged 72, four foot, ten inches in height, grey hair, grey eyes with a fresh complexion. Her clothing she was wearing when found were described as, a fawn coat, blue skirt, blue stockings, and black lace up boots. Hardly the clothing to wear if you were unfortunate enough to be sleeping outside for any length of time. Sadly I couldn't find a happy ending to this story despite trawling through months of local newspaper reports. It does seem that poor Sarah was suffering from some delusional, mental health issue with talk of rich parents, links to the Earl of Marlborough and even the King of England being brought into the equation. A sad story which asks so many questions as to how a 72 year old woman could end up sleeping rough in a field in Worsley and provides no answers. I do hope that she found some peace in her life and didn't end up in the dreaded workhouse which surely would have been the end of her, sadly I don't think we shall ever find out.
  3. And so keeping the ball rolling with the football theme, I bring you this story culled from the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal, July 1918. An everyday story of neighbours falling out over the trivial matter of a football landing in there garden which in turn leads to an appearance at the local court with a charge of assault and wilful damage. Eccles Magistrates Court heard the case which didn't go into extra time thanks to the Magistrate keeping his eye on his watch and deciding that 90 minutes was enough for anybody. James Knowles who resided at Stanley Avenue, Eccles was summoned by Alfred Brooke charged with doing wilful damage to the front door of his property in Stanley Avenue, he was also charged with assaulting the tenant of the property, Minnie Birch Williams. .map-responsive{ overflow:hidden; padding-bottom:32.4%; position:relative; height:0; border: 2px solid #fff; background: #262e33; border-radius: 2px 2px 2px 2px; } Minnie told the court that she was at in her front garden with her children enjoying the fine weather when a football landed in it, ruining their peaceful afternoon sojourn. The ball had been kicked in by a boy the younger brother of James Knowles. According to Minnie the boy in an "insolent manner" told her to give the ball back and then turning towards her son who was sat next to her, threatened to "knock his blithering clock round" if he didn't hurry up and return the ball. I must admit I have never heard that expression before, how quaint. James Knowles then appeared on the scene and told her that people could also be awkward and that if the ball was not returned in five minutes he would kick the front door in to get it back. She then alleged that James leapt over the garden fence in an attempt to snatch the ball back and in so doing, he knocked the garden gate open which hit her, causing bruises to her leg and back. Not content with bowling her over he chased her son who had wisely raced into the safety of his house, still clutching the football and slammed the door shut behind him. James with a kick that David Beckham would have been proud of, he booted the door so hard that the front handle came off. Minnie's father, Alfred Brookes then took the stand and said the damage to the door was three shillings and sixpence, but that the Knowles family had plagued his daughter and her family for a long time and were "unsavoury neighbours". He was so outraged by the damage to his front door that he waited for a full day before calling at the Knowles house to ask for an apology, possibly luckily for him the house was empty. Undeterred and no doubt further outraged he then authorised a solicitor to send a letter to the Knowles family demanding an apology. If you have ever read,"Diary of a Nobody" by George and Weedon Grossmith, you will identify Mr Brookes with the "hero" of the book, Charles Pooter. James Knowles took to the stand and as can be imagined told a different account of what had happened that fateful day. He said that he was asked by his younger brother and sister if he would get the ball back for them as they had been waiting for half an hour for it. He politely asked the boy in the garden if he could have the ball back, only to be told, "Come and get it, if you dare" James jumped over the garden fence to retrieve the ball and sadly knocked Minnie over, accidentally, of course, the boy had run into the house and slammed the door shut so hard that it caught James boot thus accidentally causing the door handle to fall off. Sounds plausible enough to me. The Magistrate no doubt wanting to go home or for his dinner weighed up the options available to him. He fined James three shillings and sixpence for the damage to the door and court costs. As for Minnies injuries? he decided that there had been a technical assault but that no injury was intended and the charge was dropped. Do you think that these two neighbours would soon be throwing open their front doors and welcoming each other in for a brew and a chinwag whilst laughing at the absurdity of the court case?...me neither.
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