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Found 13 results

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. I came across this story from December, 1920 in the pages of the Salford City Reporter and it tells what happens when love breaks down and tempers get frayed. Lucy M Roberts who resided at Albany Street, Salford appeared at the Stipendiary Magistrates Court asking for a separation from her husband, Thomas who was a commissionaire at Salford Town Hall, Bexley Square. She told the Magistrates that he was her second husband and they had been married since June, 1917, but she had left him, last Tuesday because of his persistent cruelty. At the end of November he didn't give her any housekeeping money until the Sunday at 9.30pm which meant she was unable to buy any food for the house. The following day she purchased bacon and bread and made a breakfast, with her daughter from her first marriage sat beside her, the girl had the temerity to put her cup of tea, close to Thomas's plate, who with the back of his hand pushed it away spilling tea over the table and the girl, saying he was not going to allow people to do what they liked at his table. Lucy told him that her daughter was allowed to sit at the breakfast table, that her own Father bought, this obviously touched a nerve with Thomas, who said that they wouldn't be able to do as they liked at the breakfast table. As if to prove his point he chucked the contents of the table into the open fire, and smashed the cups and saucers, then added that he was going out for a policeman to witness what had happened and stormed off. No policeman appeared so Lucy went looking for one, and showed him the scratch marks on her face which she said he had caused, would appear no action was taken so she decided to pursue the matter in the courts. Back in the dock she told the Magistrate that he talks in his sleep all night, and hardly sleeps, but when he is awake accuses her of seeing other men. In March this year she had him at court on a summonses for putting her daughter's only costume and hat up the chimney whilst they were out, adding that he threatened her and promised worse was to come. Mr Desquesnes for the Defence asked if things were unpleasant between Thomas and her daughter, she told him that she hadn't spoken to him since June, six months ago, and he had told her that he didn't want her living there, also it was her Fathers home and I have said I will keep a home for her. Things got a tad, heated when Mr Desquesnes suggested that she was more attached to her daughter than her husband, and that if she left, she would follow her, she vehemently denied this and said he was the one causing all the trouble, also he gave her £2.15 shillings a week and accused her of being extravagant whilst he had bought two suits of clothing and spent £7 on a new gramophone. The daughter, Gladys May took the stand and said that when Thomas tipped the table into the fire, she had to stop him from beating her mother, such was his temper. At last, Thomas took the stand and said that he was living at nearby Florin Street and was a Commissionaire at Salford Town Hall earning £3- 12 shilling a week he also received a pension of three shilling a week and told a tale of woe. He said that home life was very unhappy and that his wife was constantly knocking him about, and had called him, "A dirty old pig" and that he had to report for duty at The Town Hall with scratches and bruises ion his face. As for the breakfast table incident he said that Gladys had told him that the table was her father's not his to which he had replied that the things on it, were his and pushed it into the fire. The Stipendiary granted a separation order and ordered Thomas to pay 30 shillings a week to Lucy. Not sure what to make of this case, obviously both, better off not being under the same roof, possibly the marriage may have survived if there was no third party, lets hope they both lived happily ever after.
  4. An amusing story from the pages of the Salford City Reporter, December 1920 in which two chaps reason for being on enclosed premises was taken with a pinch of salt. Herbert, Henry Green and Thomas Costigan who both resided at Mottram Street, Salford appeared at the Quarter Sessions charged with breaking and entering, Wolf Halons, outfitters shop on Lower Broughton Road, Broughton. Police Constable Roberts told the Magistrate that he was on duty, when he heard the crash of glass from the rear of Mr Halons, outfitters shop, he went to investigate and found a pane of glass had been smashed. As he peered in to the shop, something was thrown at him, narrowly missing his head and hitting the window frame, he cautiously entered and found Green and Costigan hiding in the cellar. He asked if there were any more people with them, to which, Green replied, "We have pals outside and if your not careful, you'll be shot" Not the wisest of things to say even if in jest I would have thought. Mr McKeever for the Defence asked P.C. Roberts, " Was it not true there were a crowd of civilians outside the shop, and that these two men, did what you were afraid to do, and entered the shop?" This was denied by the P.C,. He was then further asked if that the two men inside the shop were pulling his leg when they said he would be shot. Again the less than amused P.C, denied these accusations. Henry Gilbert Green took the stand and gave his account of the night in question. "We were both a bit inebriated and we heard a smash of glass so we went to investigate, we went into the backyard of the shop and found the door open., so we decided to go in and look for the robbers. "The constables arrived and found us in there, we thought we were doing them a good turn looking for the robbers" The jury found them both guilty, Green was sent to prison for four months with hard labour, Costigan was said by the police to have been led into the affair by Green was bound over to keep the peace. Justice was served and no doubt Mr Green was able to reflect on his wicked ways and wicked quips in his cell at Strangeways prison.
  5. The Salford City Reporter for December 1920 reported on a police raid, carried out on a house on Hulton Street. off Trafford Road which was "carried out in the stillness of midnight" by Superintendent Clark, Sergeant Lamb and a dozen constables. The police were acting on information received not to mention a complaint by the American Consul in Manchester about men returning to their ships at Salford Docks in a drunken condition from what the sailors called , "The House of Rest". Two police constables in plain clothing had previously called at the house and were supplied with whisky and beer which they paid her for. they returned several times and were served with drinks, they were on observation duty in the house when the police raid took place. A police search of the house found, a considerable quantity of rum, whisky, port and 47 pint bottles of beer, hidden underneath a bed in the front room, a large quantity of boots were found in a cupboard, when asked to account for them, she said she had bought them,, but couldn't produce receipts for them. They arrested Annie Warange and she was charged with being in, unlawful possession of, several pairs of boots, galoshes, shirts, flash lamps and other articles, her husband Avrid Warnge was charged with being in unlawful possession of a gold watch. At Salford Magistrates Court, Annie Warange had changed her name to, Annie Filkins for reasons not explained and the case got underway with Mt Tomson for the Prosecution and Mr Flint for the Defence. Mr Tomson said Annie was being prosecuted under Section 65 of the Licencing Consolidation Act of 1910. The court was told that after receiving complaints the house was put under observation and two police constables in plain clothing made frequent visits to the house and were sold whisky and beer and whilst in the house saw numerous sailors, mainly American being served, whisky and port for which they paid Annie. The midnight raid by Superintendent Clarke found the accused in the kitchen with ten sailors who were all drinking, on the table was a bottle of rum, a bottle of port and six glasses of beer, underneath the table were a further six empty bottles of spirits. Six of the seaman were arrested for being drunk and disorderly and taken to Trafford Road police station. Mr Tomson then told the court that Annie had been charging for a bottle of beer, which cost 11 pence, one shilling and sixpence, a shilling for a glass of whisky which would normally cost seven pence and for a glass of rum a shilling which would normally cost six pence. Annie pleaded guilty to all of the charges. Sergeant Lamb told the court that the American Consul had contacted them alarmed about the condition of their sailors returning from shore leave to their ships, he thought that Annie had been doing a very profitable business and that there was a big trade being carried out at the house. Mr Flint for the defence said that Annie had lived in the house on Hulton Street for nine years and this was the first time she had been in trouble. This very flimsy piece of character building cut no mustard with the Magistrates who came down heavily upon her. She was fined £10 and ten Guineas on the first charge, and £20 each on three other charges a grand total of £80 and ten shillings in total, a very large amount in those days and no doubt sent out as a warning to anybody who harboured thought of opening their own, "Home Of Rest" On a further charge of receiving a stolen, mincing machine, she was fined a further £5, her husband was acquitted of receiving a stolen gold watch and the charge was dropped. Not a good day in court for her was it?
  6. The newspaper, Salford City Reporter for November 1920 carried the following story and rather sensationally called it, "the remarkable story of the life lead by a young girl" Ellen Ben Saleh appeared at Salford Magistrates Court charged with the theft of £66 from her mother, a widow who resided at Hancock Street. Pendleton. Detective Inspector Mitchell told the court that for some time the mother had been saving up and a portion of the money was a gratuity from the army authorities which she received in consequence of the death of her son, the money along with a small amount of gold was kept in a box in the kitchen of the house. When it was discovered missing the police were informed, Detective Sergeant McNee made enquiries and questioned the girl who denied all knowledge of the theft, however the next day she absconded and nothing was heard from her, until her husband returned from the sea and he took her to the police station. Initially she told the police she had nothing to with the theft, then admitted it and said, "I might as well tell you all about it, I stole the money whilst mother was out and I gave it all to a man who I know" She then broke into tears and sobbing asked for another chance. Detective Inspector Mitchell then took to the stand and gave a detailed account of the last few months of the girl's life and pretty damning it was too. He said the girl's mother had tried to shield her but she seemed beyond control and had been going out with a man who lived in a lodging house, who threatened her if she didn't give him money and he thought that the stolen money was divided between the two of them. Seven months ago she had met Ben Saleh in a public house and after only a few days she asked him to marry her, shortly after the marriage Saleh returned to a ship at Salford Docks and went on a six month voyage and only returned on the day when he surrendered his wife to the police. She had worked in cafe's in Manchester and as a barmaid in pubs on Cross Lane but had been associating with "loose women" and had got into debt and had stole the money to pay them off, he then added that Ben Saleh was going to leave Salford for ever as soon as this court case was over. He finally added, "She is a thoroughly bad girl, she is crying now, but no doubt the first thing she will do after leaving this courtroom will be to ask me for a cigarette" Ouch! The Stipendiary Magistrate, Mr P. W. Atkin, promptly sentenced her to four months imprisonment with hard labour. The newspaper reported that the poor girl, fainted and had to be carried from the dock and owing to her cries the following court case was halted until she was placed in the prison cells below the court. To sum up the girl not only lost her liberty but her husband who no doubt had seen a glimpse of the life he faced if he stayed with her and sailed out of Salford. Hopefully she saw the errors of her ways and kept out of the pubs on Cross Lane and led a hard working, sober life, but I somehow doubt it.
  7. Cross Lane in Salford was once a busy, bustling thoroughfare with 18 pubs, three music halls, an Army Barracks, an open market, shops galore and one of the largest open cattle markets in the country, hard to believe if you drive or walk along it today. November 1920 and Emily Johnson was helping out at her Grandmother's tripe shop at 26 Cross Lane, James Smith and Samuel Royle came into the shop and ordered some pigs trotters, they stood at the counter and began to eat them, as Emily came out of the kitchen area, she saw Smith leaning over the counter, he asked for some trotters and was served with them. Just then a young boy came into the shop to tell her that the coal delivery had arrived and she had to go in to the back so that they could drop the coal in the yard which she did. Coming back into the shop she was horrified to see Smith behind the counter tampering with the cash drawer, she rushed to the shop door and asked a passer-by to call the police as she was being robbed, they tried to push her aside but she blocked the doorway. They then ran through the kitchen into the yard pursued by Emily, who managed to drag Smith to the ground, after a struggle he managed to escape, with Royle opening the back door for them to get away. However this isn't the end of the story you may be pleased to hear. By a simple twist of fate (courtesy of Bob Dylan) the two men were arrested a few days later for attempting to steal a half hundred weight of currants from a parked lorry on Oldfield Road but were seen by a Mrs Ogden who raised the alarm and gave the police such a good description they were arrested the same day and taken to the local police station. Who was in the police station? none other than the coal delivery boy who recognised the two men who had stolen the six shillings from the tripe shop and they were charged with this offence as well as the attempted theft of the currants. They appeared before Mr. C. C. Goodwin at Salford Magistrates Court and it was revealed that both men had numerous convictions for theft. Detective Sgt, Needham told the court that. Smith was "One of the worst characters in Salford, and never does anything but look for trouble and hasn't worked for two and a half years since leaving the army and lives on his pension of £2, five shilling a week" This seemed to strike a chord with the Magistrate who said that this matter of his pension would be investigated and then gave them both six months imprisonment with hard labour. A harsh sentence, possibly but these two chaps do appear to be petty criminals with not a care in the world, no idea if Smith's army pension was stopped, be the final slap in the face for him if it was.
  8. I came across this story from November, 1920 in the pages of the Salford City Reporter and tells of the misfortunes of the doziest thief in Salford. Thomas Callaghan, 30 was a seaman from Liverpool appeared at Salford Magistrates Court charged with attempting to cheat or defraud by false pretences, James Clark, which seems a clear cut. case. Callaghan was on Trafford Road close to the dock gates, when he approached Mr Clark and asked if he was interested in buying a ring from him, for £1 and going as far to say that the ring came from a jewellers shop that he had burgled in Liverpool, and that he had a few more to sell. He gave Clark the ring to examine, who looked at it underneath a street lamp to ascertain if it was genuine, only to be told, "be careful there could be a policeman about" Clark said he was interested but only had ten shillings on him but if Callaghan would come home with him, he would give him the full amount, to which he agreed. As they walked along Trafford Road, Callaghan was unceremoniously bundled into the Trafford Road, Police Station by Clarke who then revealed his identity as, Dock Police, Superintendent Clarke,, I can just imagine the look on Callaghan's face as he realised what a clanger he had dropped. The ring was examined by a local jeweller and found to be a cheap brass and glass copy, a further cheap, brass signet ring was found on Callaghan when he was searched, not looking good for him, is it? He appeared at the Magistrates Court the next day after a night spent in the cells, no doubt kicking himself, silly. To his credit he pleaded guilty and said the rings were one's he wore himself, then added that he thought Superintendent Clark was an old shipmate and that it was meant as a joke. This was met with laughter from the Magistrates bench, but it didn't last long. They sentenced the hapless, trickster to three months in prison with hard labour.
  9. Last month I wrote a story about two young Salford lads, Arthur Smith and Cecil Wilkinson who lived at the Height area of Salford, who were charged with causing over £1,000 worth of damage to homes, shops and businesses including the strangulation of a cat whilst burgling a factory. They were sent to the Assize Courts for sentencing and at the time I had no access to give you what sentence they would receive and what the judge would have to say about their shameful behaviour. I have found the relevant story from November 1920 and to be quite honest the sentence they received wasn't what I was expecting considering the charges laid against them. To their credit they pleaded Guilty to the three charges of breaking and entering a private school in Acresfield Road, arson at the Olympia Cinema and damaging motor cars at Messr Carter's motor works, in Trafford Road. Mr Gilbert Jordan, prosecuting told the court that the boys had broken into properties and at the private school, smashed eggs, threw flour about then tried to light a fire with some scrap paper. On October 24th they broke into The Olympia Cinema and set fire to it causing damage estimated at £326 and on the same evening they broke into the motor works causing damage estimated at £150 also strangling the works cat. Mr J. B. Sandbach defended the boys and said the boys were "respectfully connected", they had excellent school records and their character at work was good and both of the boy's employees wrote them a character reference. Mr Justice Ashton who was in charge of the proceedings, said, " What they really want you know, is a good thrashing, nobody wants to make a gaol bird of boys like these" Mr Sandbach then went on to offer a possible explanation for the boys behaviour, he said that when they were arrested they were found to have in their possession, what were described as "Penny Bloods", cheap. lurid. comics of the times, he then suggested that the boys were trying to emulate the criminals that were depicted in these comics. He then added that he, had, the rector of the parish with him, Rev H. Boddington who would tell of the boy's home conditions, to which Justice Ashton suggested that perhaps he could administer the punishment? Cecil Wilkinson took to the stand and told the court that the only explanation he could offer for his son's behaviour was the reading of the Penny Bloods as he had never given any trouble at home. Justice Ashton then said, "What he wants is the best thrashing a boy ever had, and you are the man to give it to him, will you see that it is done?" Mr Wilkinson agreed to this. Arthur Smith's Father told the court he had no answer for his son's behaviour, and was told by Justice Ashton. "Oh it is perfectly simple, these boys have been reading this disgusting and pernicious literature and from what I have been told your son is the leader" He then retired into his chambers for a consultation with the Governor of the prison, Mr H. FitzClarence. The boys were brought back up for sentencing and Justice Ashton said they deserved the biggest thrashing, consistent with humanity. He then sentenced the boys to be bound over and warned about coming up before him, again and then impressed upon the fathers the need for severity in their thrashings which he left in their hands, and they were free to leave the court. I can't but wonder if the same sentence would have been handed out if say, the two lads came from an impoverished background and were unemployed, I doubt it very much. Hopefully the two miscreants went on to live happy, honest and worthwhile lives and reflected upon their close call with imprisonment.
  10. A rather sad and cautionary tale from the pages of the Salford City Reporter from October 1920 which gives an insight into the way that habitual drunkards were treated at the time and how times have changed. Violet Whittle a 40 year old woman of no fixed abode appeared at Salford Magistrates Court, charged with being drunk and disorderly on Chapel Street, Salford the night before. It would appear that Violet was no stranger to the court and was "fond" of a drink as they say. Superintendent Clarke told the Magistrate that Violet was last before the court on September 16th (less than a month ago) and had been fined £1 for drunkenness and that within the last twelve months had been arrested for the same offence, seven times, giving her a total of 34 criminal convictions. The previous evening when arrested on Chapel Street she was abusive to the arresting officer, P,C, Nolan. and in the cells she behaved, "in a disgraceful way", then added. "If she cannot conduct herself properly when sober, I can imagine what she will be like in drink" The newspaper reported that Violet has, "stood erect and attentive" when the above was read out to the court, the suddenly burst into tears and shouted out, "I'm cast down!, I'm broken hearted, I only came out of prison yesterday, I don't have a dogs chance, the police are always locking me up" The Magistrates Clerk tried to reason with her and explained it was because she always went back on the drink. Poor Violet answered, "I would be better off dead, for I'm always in prison". Superintendent Clarke then told the court that Violet had been sent to the Langho Inebriates Reformatory in 1906, but had not seemed to have cured her.. Langho Inebriates Reformatory opened in 1904 and housed some 300 women, was situated, seven miles from Blackburn, it later became a hospital for people with learning disabilities and closed in 1992, and have heard some terrible stories about the way the early patients were treated. Having heard all the evidence, the Magistrates, Alderman Mather and Mr F. P. Nathan in their wisdom saw fit to send Violet to prison for one month with hard labour added for good measure. How on earth is sending her to prison going to help this poor woman, who by her own admission stated she would be better off dead than in prison, she did need medical help and I'm certain the harsh regime in Strangeways prison didn't extend to this.
  11. The Height and Bolton Road areas of Salford were subjected to a fortnight's rampage of burglary, arson and theft which only ended when two youths aged 15 and 16 appeared at Salford Magistrates Court in October 1920 and the full story unfolded. Mrs Lewthtwaite owned a supper bar on Broad Street, Salford and on the previous Thursday evening at 10pm, she was in the kitchen of her house, when she heard a loud bang and glass breaking, she saw Cecil Wilkinson drop into her yard. Her son ran out and apprehended him, only to be told that he was looking for his ball, he then saw another boy nearby, who ran away when approached, the police were sent for and Wilkinson was taken into custody for questioning. Wilkinson soon told the police the name of his accomplice, Arthur Smith and he was soon arrested and brought into custody. Superintendent Clarke questioned the boys and they readily admitted that, they intended breaking into the barbers shop next door to the supper bar and were looking for money to steal. However once they started confessing they couldn't stop and told an astonished Superintendent Clarke a long list of their misdemeanours, they had carried out in the past fortnight. At the Magistrates Court he applied to have the boys remanded in custody for a week whilst further cases might be investigated, the remand was granted and both boys. despite their age where remanded to Strangeways prison. One week later the two boys, Cecil Wilkinson of, Saxby Street and Arthur Smith of Bolton Road, Pendleton stood in the dock and a remarkable catalogue of their crimes was read out. Breaking and entering, 34 Acresfield Road and stealing foodstuffs to the value of £1, 18 shillings and ninepence. Setting fire to The Olympia Picture Palace, West Street, stealing 10 shillings and a quantity of chocolate. damaging seventeen seats and a piano. Damaging and spoling five motor cars, a planing machine and a band saw at Messr Thomas Carters Motor Works, Trafford Road. Setting fire to St Thomas's School, Broughton Road, Salford. Breaking and entering Messr Lancaster and Tonge's offices, Withington Street, Salford stealing £3 19 shilling and 7 pence, and a box of cigarettes. Breaking and entering the schoolroom on King Street, the Height and stealing 11 pence. Breaking and entering into St Anne's School, Brindleheath, damaging six panes of glass, two pairs of curtains and lengths of woodwork. Breaking and entering Halton Bank School, Bolton Road damaging five electric globes, 38 pound of flour and a water pipe. The boys pleaded guilty to all these charges. Superintendent Clarke told the Court that there had been, "a fifteen day scare" as shops, homes, businesses and schools were targeted, in addition over £1,000 worth of damage had been caused by arson and wilful damage. He asked the Magistrate Mr P. W. Atkin that the boys be sent to the Assizes for sentencing considering the severity of the offences and then dropped the bombshell that at the premises of Messr Thomas Carters Motor Works, Trafford Road, the boys had hung, the workshop cat and killed it. The boys were defended by Mr Howard Flint, who asked the Magistrate if the boys could not be dealt with on this day by the court, adding that they were both from respectable families and had been influenced by reading "trashy cheap, literature" The Magistrate turned down his plea for a trial at the Magistrate Court and added that there was no reason why they should be cruel to a cat. The boys were sent to the Asizes for trial and here is the cliff hanger, I have no idea how they went on there, considering the amount of damage and mayhem they caused I am certain they would be sent to prison and it would that their act of cruelty to a cat ensured they would face the wrath of an Assize Judge.
  12. This story from the pages of The Salford City Reporter, October 1920 tells the story of a Salford man whose actions were truly heart-breaking and you have to find pity for him. On a Tuesday evening on the North Pier, Blackpool, a man named as William ***** residing in the Broughton area of Salford, (I haven't given his full name and address for personal reasons) approached a pier attendant and told him the following. "I have dropped my five week old baby son, into the sea" A quick look into the empty baby pram confirmed that, what he had said, was true. Eye witnesses say that his behaviour beforehand was strange and the empty baby pram confirmed their suspicions. When asked why he had done this, he replied, "There were 5,000 of them that went out, and only 50 came back" Whilst telling this he was groaning and holding his head as if in agony, which added to the scene of confusion and horror. The police were summoned and he was taken to the Blackpool Central Station for questioning, a search for the missing child was carried out. to no avail. Inspector Seed and Detective McKenna were put in charge of the case, they brought the man's wife to the station to see if she could shed any light on this tragedy. She told them that her husband had suffered from shell shock in The Great War and was being treated for depression at a local hospital and that they had come to Blackpool for a few days in the hope that the rest and change would do him good. Dr R. H. Dunderdale was called to give him a psychiatric examination and as a result he was declared insane and removed to a mental institution. He was not brought up before a court and it was expected that owing to his condition, no charge would be made against him. Despite a careful search the infant's body had not been recovered from the sea, it was stated that the high tide was a t 5.30pm yesterday the time of the tragedy, and at 7pm there was a strong current running out to sea and the body would have been quickly carried away. A further search of the beach was carried out the next day extending to Bispham but still no sign of the body. I looked through several weeks' editions of the Salford paper and there was no story of the body being found, a tragic tale. The poor man must have seen some terrible sights in the army to drive him insane. many thousands of men suffered from shell shock and it's hard to believe but for a while the army considered soldiers suffering from this lacked moral fibre, i.e they were cowards. The poor wife must have been dealt a hammer blow in losing a child in such an awful way, would she ever recover? Without doubt the saddest story I have ever come across in the years of writing these stories.
  13. I came across this story from October 1920 in the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal and was shocked to read of the treatment meted out to these men who appeared at Manchester County Police Court charged with stealing quantities of potatoes from local farmers' fields. The background to this story is as follows, in October 1920 coal miners went on strike for higher pay, the strike only lasted two weeks but this caused hardship for many families and most of the men who stood in the dock accused of theft were colliers from local pits. Local farmers had complained to the police that for several nights groups of men had been seen in the early hours of the morning stealing potatoes either from the soil or which had been harvested and awaiting collection in baskets. The newspaper reported that "scores" of coal miners were in the fields, stealing the crops and at one stage 200 men and boys were seen stealing. The police were informed and Supt. Keys raised a force of mounted policemen and several dozen policemen who travelled in prison vans were taken to the farms. They launched a raid on the potato pickers and arrested a dozen men, others scattered leaving half filled sacks and shovels on the ground. Mounted police along with uniformed policemen patrolled the fields for the next few days to deter any more thefts with a show of force. Eight men appeared in the dock and a boy aged 11 years of age, they were, George Dale, George Arden, Robert Hodgkiss, Ernest Cullis, Edward Jones, Ernest Vernon, Thomas Atkinson, and Wilson Taylor, The case of George Dale was heard first, with Mr T. Stuttard The Chairman of the Court and Mr J, Crofton was the Prosecuting Officer. Crofton alleged that Dale was caught with 56lb of potatoes and that this court case arose from the coal strike and then launched into an astonishing attack on Dale and the other accused by saying that they behaved as if the crop in the ground was theirs was to be taken and eaten and if this kind of behaviour was not stamped out, "the disease would grow and would ultimately lead to, as it has in the past, rioting and the usual accompaniments" The Chairmen asked him if he was bringing a case of anarchy on the men? He replied that he wasn't but this is where these things lead to. Addressing Dale, the Chairman told him that he couldn't behave as the Germans did in Belgium and France and take anything they liked and fined him £5 and 12 shillings Advocate fees and told him he should be happy he wasn't being sent to prison. Dale asked for a month to pay and was told the decision would come after the trial of the other men. The other accused were given fines ranging from £1 to 10 shillings plus court costs. George Dale had his fine reduced from £5 down to £2 in a rare show of leniency and was given a month to pay.. The Chairman then warned the whole district of Pendlebury that if any more men were brought up before him charged with potato theft they would go straight to prison
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