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  1. Following on with our recent articles and videos about the abandoned and forgotten graveyards of Barton upon Irwell, the story takes another twist. Whilst we were filming in the Barton upon Irwell Wesleyan Methodist graveyard on Barton Road, the one that that mired in controversy when the developer callously smashed the headstones and was forced to put them back, which he did, but not in the original sites. Amongst the rubbish that had been dumped there, we noticed a small, black marble headstone. that had been left and it was obviously a fairly recent headstone with gilt lettering and no sign of wear. It reads, In Loving Memory of Darren L O'Brien, Died 6th July 2019,Aged 42 Years. One of our readers, Debbie Milton contacted us this week to ay that the headstone was still there and wondered if it had been stolen and dumped there? I fear this is one of those cases which has more questions than answers, who was Darren OL O'Brien, was he a local man, who paid for the headstone, why was it left in the Barton Wesleyan, is their a family connection to this burial ground, has it been removed from another graveyard in the area, All Saints and St Catherine's can be ruled out I should imagine, that leaves Peel Green cemetery, but why remove it and place it here? To my untrained eyes it doesn't appear to have been in the soil at all, also it is a small size, possibly an addition to a family grave. I would love to find out who, Darren was and how and why his headstone has ended up in the Barton Wesleyan burial ground in such undignified circumstances, so if you have any knowledge of this, we would love to hear from you and return the headstone to it's rightful owners.
  2. I came across this amusing story from the pages of The Eccles and Patricroft Journal for October 1970 and relates the story of a young lad who took the bottle at far too early an age. Ronald Dempsey Dixon lived at 23 Police Street, Patricroft and one evening he brought home half a bottle of whiskey for "medicinal purposes" and put it in a cupboard for safe keeping and told his three sons , Jeffrey (8), Alan (7) and Kenneth (4) that they must not touch it. You just know this isn't going to end well. On the Sunday morning two of the boys went downstairs, when Kenneth shouted up the stairs, "Dad, Alan's been at the bottle!" Jeffrey explained to his Dad that they had each had a sip, but did not like it, however Allan wasn't going to be off that easy and continued drinking... Ronald explained what happened next. "I checked the bottle and it was empty! Allan had drank the lot, I called him downstairs to explain what had happened. " He walked down the stairs quite naturally then was violently sick on the living room floor and then collapsed, so I ran to the nearby Police Station for help". On duty was Policewoman, Nancy Rushton , she raced to the house but Allan was unconscious and could not be revived, an ambulance was called for and Allan was taken to Eccles and Patricroft Hospital. He was given a stomach pump and the alcohol was washed out of him with Allan howling as he regained consciousness, he was then detained in hospital overnight for observations. He was released the next morning, with no doubt a splitting headache and returned home a sadder and wiser boy. He told the Eccles Journal that he got a stool and climbed up to the cupboard and added that it did burn his stomach but carried on drinking. The last word went to his mother who said, "Colds or no colds I don't want to see any more of that stuff in this house!" So did young Allan learn his lesson? Is he a Tee-Totaller, I think we should be told. If anybody knows Allan please let him know or us! Cheers!
  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. Let's roll back the clock to the golden, idyllic, Summer of 1970 when Brazil won the World Cup, 4-1 against Italy, The Beatles disbanded, 600,000 people gathered at The Isle of Wight to watch, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Tiny Tim, Mungo Jerry were top of the charts with, In The Summertime and the Drug Squad in Eccles were flexing their truncheons. At 12.15am, Saturday, July 11th the police raided a house on Abbey Grove, Eccles and several people there were arrested and taken to Green Lane Police Station for questioning, and were told there was reason to believe that they had been smoking, cannabis! The accused were, Anne Higginson, Patrick Mullin, Alan Goldson, James Smith and a unnamed 15 year old boy, who became my Brother in Law, Mick Scahill, and what an excellent chap he was. a fine husband, father and friend, R.I.P. Several of them admitting smoking "pot", including Mick, bless him and according to Chief Inspector Wood, Higginson said, " "Why charge everybody?, it's my room let the others off" In court she denied saying this. Chief Inspector Wood told Eccles Magistrates Court that the warrant was executed at Abbey Grove, which was described as being a large house, divided into flats and damningly the occupants had no right to be living there and paid no rent to the owner and were basically, squatters! He then went on to describe the living conditions of the house, which at times is laughable, he said the premises were in a dilapidated condition with "paintings on the wall in bright colours, including flowers and other articles" "Most of the rooms are in an indescribable condition with filthy walls and floors, and no attempt has been made to clean them, they are squatters and should not be there" When the police went into a room rear of the house on the first floor they found, 30 home made cigarette ends and a piece of substance which was believed to be cannabis. D. C. Park really got into the swing of it when he told the Magistrate that when he entered a room it became obvious that cannabis had been smoked and. ."It was quite apparent to me a drug orgy had taken place" Yes he actually used the words, "drug orgy" this was Eccles not The Sphan Ranch with Charlie Manson and his gang. Mullin objected to the police description of the rooms and said they were being treated as "queer people" and that this was going on all over the world. The Chairman of the Court, Mr B. Hodgson told Mullins hat as long as he obeyed the law he could within reason do what he wanted. Mr Mullins then went into a wonderful speech in which he said there was no loud music as the record player was broken and they were chatting about, the Universe, The Cosmos and love when the police broke into the room and ordered him to strip off whilst they searched him for cannabis, a bit of a rude awakening I should imagine. "Basically I am a peaceful person, but know I am more antagonistic, how would you like it if a stranger came to your house, when you are having your tea, and tell you to take your clothes off for an examination for cannabis" He has a point. The Deputy Clerk of the Court told him that it was illegal, to which he replied. ..."It was illegal to be a Christian at one time" The trial was quickly descending to farce when he was asked what he did for a living, he replied, "I simply smile at people" The others admitted smoking cannabis but denied they were doing anything wrong and awaited their fate. The Magistrate fined them all £25 each and were given a warning about their future conduct and ordered out of the house on Abbey Road, justice had been done. I can remember the "Eccles Commune" as it became known and to be honest it was a bit of a novelty and not den of iniquity the police made it out to be, laughable really. Mick Scahill told me they knew they were due for a visit from the police because two days earlier, two men with fake Irish accents knocked on the door asking to buy "pot" and asking if there were and "chicks" living there...Hmm who could that have been. The house has since been demolished but they say if you walk past on a hot Summers night, the smell of patchouli oil and Red Lebanese can be smelt on the evening breeze...
  10. I loved this story which was in the October edition of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal in 1970 and talk about gripping the reader by the throat with the first line, have a read of this, word for word. "Soccer hooligans, skinheads, hippies, yippies, Hells Angels - the headline hoggers of today. "Youths with a vengeance and a vandal breeding boredom, quite incomprehensible to their forefathers with the abundance of recreational facilities available. "Gangs sharing the view that violence and theft are OK, offloading their consciences onto friends by collective action, Nomadic groups sharing an ideology. "A small element who through their rejection of society's accepted standards, make the news, yet those who do help their "neighbour", so often go without a mention". Have you any idea what he is wittering on about? Hold on because it's not all wild and crazy kids, slashing the seats, shooting and a looting. Into the limelight come Phase 70 a Peel Green based group devoted to aiding charities, one of the founder members was The Rev Dick Hatch, Vicar of St Michaels and All Angels, who was alarmed at the falling numbers at the church's youth club. Rev Hatch explains all or most of it, "There are no individuals in Phase 70, we are a non - denominational group who have gathered together in a form of experimental communism, that is we sit down and plan projects which we execute together for various charities." "There were 17 founding members whose occupation range from labourer to tax inspector and we have five new members all eager to pool their talents" One of their first projects was a marathon dictionary read outside Eccles library in February, working in relays and finishing at five in the morning after having completed 60 hours of continuous dictionary reading which raised £100 for the Moat Hill Autistic Unit in Peel Green. Since then they raised money for a concert for Senior Citizens, £20 for Shelter, a folk concert at Worsley Court House and £20 to sponsor a boy in Nigeria. The group meet on a Sunday and take it in turn to act as Chairman and listen to talks by the Police, Probation Services etc and regardless of age it's Christian names all round. "Young people wishing to become members have to apply in a fairly formal fashion" said Rev Hatch. "We only accept those who are prepared to give themselves to the aims and works of the group" Were you a member of Phase 70? I have read quite a bit about Rev Dick Hatch and he was quite a character by all accounts ending up having a Radio Show on the BBC. Would the youngster of today join such a group though? to be honest I can't see it, sound in principle but those days have gone I'm afraid and as for standing outside Eccles library reading aloud from a dictionary for hours on end.....
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. A while back I mentioned the shoe repair shop that stood on Barton Lane, Eccles and is now called Linda's Plaice despite it being an Indian Takeaway. Some people remembered the shop as being called, Heywood's Shoe Repairs in the 1950s, i can recall it in the 1970s when it was owned by who I thought was a Polish gentleman. Looking through the Eccles and Patricroft Journal for October 1970, 50 years ago, would you believe? I came across the following story and photograph, entitled, "Shoes For A Circus Clown" The story told that anybody passing the shoe repair shop would be in for a shock as proudly displayed in the shop window, were a pair of clown's shoes, so large that there wasn't a size for them but they were 23 inches long. They had been hand made by the owner of the shop, 57 years old, Dymtro Ostapowycz. We are told that last year Mr Ostapowycz. got a call from a high wire, walker at Belle Vue Circus who wanted a pair of shoes made for him to be used in his act, he did and the chap was delighted at the craftsmanship, so much so he told all his friends in the circus. He then received a telephone call from Sonny Fossett a clown at the circus who wanted a special pair of shoes making, a pair as big as possible and yet still one's he could walk in. Mr Ostapowycz.was obviously a highly skilled man as we were told that he had already made specialised shoes for disabled people and had even shod a Polish dancing troupe from Oldham. After much trial and error the shoes have been finished and are waiting to be picked up, but in the meantime they were proudly displayed in the shop window. Can you imagine if Sonny Fossett decided he was leaving the circus and didn't want the shoes? Finally we learn that Mr Ostapowycz was a Ukranian and came to England in 1947 and spent some time in a displaced persons camp at Banbury. He has had the shop since 1968 and lives in Cheetham Hill with his wife and three children. I do remember the shop and this gentleman, however I was told that he was Polish and had been in one of the concentration camps in Europe, and also had a camp number tattooed on his arm. I have no idea if this is true or an Urban Myth, do you remember Mr Ostapowycz at this shop and had you heard this story
  16. Dipping my toes in the pages of the Salford City Reporter for October 1920, I came across this little story which was headlined, "Ruffians Ejected From Salford Cinema". The Rex Cinema on Chapel Street, Salford is a lovely little building, dating from 1846 and became a cinema in 1912, it's frontage being listed as being of architectural importance, but you don't want to know that, you want to hear about the ruffians in question and how they went on at Salford Magistrates Court. This is how the story unfolded at Court P.C. Mulraney told the Court was on duty on Chapel Street, when he was asked to eject two louts from the cinema who had been upsetting the other customers by shouting, whistling and using "objectionable language" during the showing of the film, you have to remember it was a silent cinema then. The brave P.C. approached the two men and asked them to leave the cinema as there had been complaints about their behaviour, they obeyed his request and followed him onto Chapel Street. He noticed that they had both been drinking and asked them politely to go on their way and not cause any trouble, they replied in the negative and both attacked him. "They fought like madmen and struck me several times about the body and head, I blew my whistle for help and P.C.Cannon came to my assistance. "We attempted to take them into custody at the Town Hall but they became so rough, we had to enlist three of four civilians to help us get them into the station" One of the arrested men, John Boyce aged 22 admitted being drunk but denied assaulting the policemen, saying, he couldn't remember.. The other prisoner, John Brown aged 19 admitted being drunk and he too denied the assault charge. The Clerk of the Court asked P.C. Mulrany if he thought that the men had assaulted him on purpose? "I am quite sure they did" replied the aggrieved P.C. "One of them said he didn't mind being locked up and was up for it" P.C. Cannon took to the witness box and told the Magistrate that as soon as he had gone to P.C. Mulrany's assistance he was struck four or five blows without provocation by the accused men. Detective Smith then took the stand and told the court that both men were Marine Firemen and came from Glasgow, they had arrived at Salford Docks on the Monday evening, the night before they were arrested and werd due to return to Glasgow where they would be paid off. The Magistrate wasn't having any of it and jailed the ruffians for one month with hard labour thrown in for good measure. This didn't mean breaking rocks in the hot sun as the song goes, you were given meagre food rations, soup,mainly, one sheet on your bed, no talking to other prisoners on the landings, no visits etc, a short sharp shock. Once released from Strangeways, the "ruffians" would have had to make their own way back to Glasgow and explain their absence to family and friends. Good luck with that.
  17. LS Lowry could have easily painted pretty landscapes but instead he chose to paint what he saw, and that is without a doubt the most defining trait of Salford, we say it how it is, we tell it how it is and we keep it real. So with that same spirit in heart, add local wordsmith Simon Williams to that list, he has put pen to paper to recall a vision of a Salford he witnessed himself as he grew up here, a Salford that for many is long gone, all but existing in memories. The perfectly titled book 'My Salford: Poems From The Heart' is a collection of 40 poems that are utterly unique to us, the people of Salford and as we all know the pope is a salfordian and he endores it. Each poem is a vivid recollection of events which have shaped our City as well as Simons life, from the gritty memories of the 'scabs' who walked through the doors during the miners strikes to a nostalgic poetical walk down Langworthy Road and remembrance of this once bustling high street. From memories of a 5 year old Simon visiting the local sporting mecca that was once the Willows, a stadium filled with the greats who would go on to inpire Simon in later life, to the drug culture during the 80's which devastated the lives of many a Salfordian, Simon himself no stranger to their danger. Simon has seen it all and done it all, he is an accomplished Author, an avid charity fundraiser who has raised countless thousands for local charities and causes, he also runs the 'Sounds of Salford' radio station which beat out American online stations at their own game by topping their podcast charts. He is without a doubt a Salfordian through and through, he is one of us, wears his heart on his sleeve and has the fire and passion in his heart for this City. A true unsung local hero. Never forgetting his roots 'My Salford' is available for free on Kindle as Simon is aware how cash strapped this City is, but for those who have a few quid extra there is an old school paperback physical copy available for your personal library it is just a measly £4.82 via Amazon. It is well worth investing in as this is one of those books that in future years will be a Salford bible. Well after all, the Pope is a Salfordian. Buy here: Click To Buy
  18. 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!
  19. For the answer lets take a visit to Salford Magistrates Court, September 1918 to see what the Stipendiary Magistrate had to say. Our story starts on board the S.S. Chicago City a Cunard Liner boat that was moored at Porto Empedecole in Southern Italy, which was picking up amongst other cargo, cases of wine to be transported back to Salford Docks. What could go wrong?....The Captain was soon to find out. Alarm bells should have rung when it was noticed that several seamen had begun drinking heavily from the cargo being loaded onto the boat from cargo lighter boats, a type of flat bottomed barge which would transfer goods and passengers to and from moored ships. The Captain immediately put an armed guard on the ship and another on the shore in an attempt to stop the pilfering of wine by the crew. I think you can guess where this story is going and how its going to end. At 3am the next day the Captain was woken up by the Second Officer who told him that he was concerned about the amount of noise coming from number three hold. The men along with the Chief Officer prudently armed themselves with revolvers and went to see what the commotion was all about. As can be expected it wasn't a pretty sight, he saw a number of men lying on the floor, surrounded by empty wine bottles, others were singing loudly and as the Captain put it, "The men were mad drunk" A lovely expression. The men were locked in the hold overnight, presumably they had drunk all the wine that was being stored there and left to sleep it off. The next day the Captain found that none of the men detained were capable of working and were "not in a fit state to be talked too" They were then given one last chance to explain their innocence, none of them were able to do so. They must have shifted a lot of wine or it was very strong stuff for al of them to be unable to work or even speak properly. The ship sailed to Salford Docks without further trouble, no doubt the booze was firmly under lock and key if not an armed guard! Ten men were arrested by the dock police, they were, Patrick Birch, George Kyfinn, Daniel Delaney, Michael McKenna, Velkhelm Hansen, Maurice Crosby, Herbert Atwood, Harry Ward, Daniel Fitzpatrick and Jesse Baker. They were all charged with the theft of seven cases of wine valued at £25 the property of Cunard Liners. The merry matelots were were defended by Herbert Cunningham whilst Herbert Vaudrey appeared for the owners. Cunningham told the Stipendiary Magistrate that there was no truth in the allegations that they broke into the cargo, although it was obvious the cargo had been tampered with, however there were 31 men on board the ship and the men in the dock hadn't been seen doing the damage or theft. He continues that it was true that the men were very drunk but asserted that they had bought their liquor ashore and therefore had committed had no crime. Be honest that's not a very convincing argument for their innocence is it? The Stipendiary obviously not believing a word, said that he thought, "the men had broken into the cargo and after a heavy drinking bout, no doubt had a craving for more drink and committed the offence that they were charged with" He then fined each man 50 shillings or £2-10 shillings-0 pence which was about a weeks wage for the men, and a fairly hefty price to pay for going on a bender.
  20. This story from the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal from September 1918 is a mixture of both of the above emotions and an almost happy ending for once. Corporal David Macfarlane who resided at Cross Street, Eccles was before the outbreak of war a postman on the streets of Eccles and by all accounts a well known man in the Borough. He was no stranger to combat having fought in the Boer War in South Africa and in October 1916 he joined the 2/5th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusilier and was soon in action. He fought in the Third Battle of Ypres where his regiment suffered many casualties, he was shot through the hand as he was retreating and then in the leg as he lay on the floor, along with fellow Eccles man, Corporal Lee who lived at Cecil Road, Eccles he was taken as prisoner of war and taken to various camps around Belgium before settling at Munster Lager, Medical Hospital, Westphalia in Germany. With the war grinding to a bloody stalemate Macfarlane because of his age and ill health was repatriated back to Blighty after 13 months in captivity. He gave an interview to the Eccles and Patricroft Journal when he was on home leave from the King George Hospital in London, who no doubt wanted to hear tales of heroism and jingoism and he did not disappoint. When taken prisoner he was taken to a field hospital and the only treatment he received for his injuries where cold water bandages which left his hand deformed and useless, he did retain the use of his leg though. Now in his stride he told the journalist, "I saw plenty of British pluck on the Western Front but nothing compared to to the pluck of our boys who are in the hands of their German captors. "Nothing can induce them to or compel them to make munitions, one lad who refused was placed on bread and water for 17 hours and was forced to stand in bitterly cold weather, at the end of it he had to be practically thawed out but he maintained his refusal to work for them" He then thanked the Prisoner of War Relief Fund who had sent them essential food. "I received six parcels a month, the Germans were eager to buy our bread, dripping and soap but Tommy never parted with them, we make sure our boys get their share" Surprisingly he was allowed to visit the nearby town of Munster, he said that all the shops were either closed or had no provisions in them and yet the Germans were still convinced that they would win the war as the people of Britain were starving to death. Also in the Munster camp were three local men, Reggie Cox who lived at Boardman Street, Eccles, William Moore from Church Street, Eccles and a lad named only as Winn from Parrin Lane, Winton. Macfarlane finished the article by stating that he was eager to to resume his duties as a postman in Eccles when fully fit, despite his deformed hand. That newspaper article to me reads full of British bravado and the good old Bulldog spirit which is what the people wanted to hear. However that wasn't the the truth as his parents who lived at Vicarage Close, Eccles revealed that David was one of their seven sons. One had been killed, one had lost his right hand, and another son had lost his arm and a leg. The other three were still fighting in France and to be honest they still stood a good chance of being killed killed or maimed in that senseless bloodbath which would drag on for another three months. To have lost one son and had three others disfigured and maimed is beyond my belief, yet somehow people were still joining the Army, albeit more reluctantly than in 1914, which seems a form of collective madness which it obviously wasn't but begs the question why? I doff my cap to Corporal Macfarlane and the many, many men who fought and died in that that war yet still cannot understand why they didn't refuse to go, point blank after seeing the terrible loss of life and hardships that would be endured by families at home.
  21. It is said that a man in uniform does indeed attract the ladies, sadly this knight in shining armour turned out to be a cad and a bounder amongst other things. Our story begins with the Rutter family from Salford taking a short holiday in Bakewell, a small market town and civil parish in the Derbyshire Dales district of Derbyshire. The daughter Emily met a soldier Private William Graham from the West Yorkshire Regiment who was convalescing in a nearby Military Hospital from injuries he had received on the Western Front and they soon struck up a friendship. Emily asked him to write to her at the family home on West High Street, just off Cross Lane, which he dutifully did. The enterprising Private Graham went one better when he turned up unannounced at the family home looking resplendent in his new army uniform, complete with Military decorations, four wound stripes and he had even been promoted to a Lance Corporal! He told the family that he was on leave for a further week and would then return to the Western Front to fight for King and Country. The Rutter family welcomed him into their home where he soon made himself comfortable, he was given his own bedroom and was fed three meals a day, the least they could do for this brave boy. However this idyll was shattered on the Tuesday morning when at the breakfast table he told Emily that he was going upstairs to change his clothing, he was that long getting changed that she became suspicious and rightly so as it turned out. He came downstairs and brushed past her without saying a word and left the house, sadly a search revealed that he had taken with him a silver watch and several gold rings valued at £3 - four shillings. He didn't return that day and so the local police were informed, and by a simple twist of fate, he returned the next afternoon possibly for his dinner and was met by Detective Needham and Detective Dutton who promptly arrested him and took him to Cross Lane police station for questioning. A search of his clothing revealed the watch and rings, which Private, sorry Lance Corporal Graham denied ever having seen before. To add to this confusion Mrs Rutter whose husband owned a shop at 91 Cross Lane came into the police station and told the Detectives that Graham had been in her shop earlier that day, she was in the rear feeding chickens in the yard, she came into the shop and found him behind the counter. She asked what he was doing there, again he simply walked past her and strolled off along Cross Lane, taking with him, three flash lamps valued at three shillings. William Graham was charged with theft and appeared at Salford Magistrates Court the following day. Further misery was heaped upon his no doubt slumped shoulders when a Military escort appeared and informed the Magistrate that Graham should be charged with wearing Military decorations that hadn't been awarded to him, also the wound stripes were a lie and worst of all he was not a Lance Corporal, he had simply promoted himself and purchased the insignia, what a bounder but not in the same class as Percy Topliss the Monocled Mutineer. The Magistrate sentenced him to three months imprisonment for the theft of the jewellery and for the Military impersonation he was given a further months imprisonment, a total of four months in total. Ironically this would have saved Private Graham from any further military action as the Great War would end up in November 1918. As for Emily duped in love by a chap in his uniform, hopefully she learnt her lesson and possibly married a policeman, by all accounts a more honest type of chap.
  22. 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.
  23. Never a man in need to make up an excuse to find himself in a pub, award-winning local historian and overall man of the people Mr Tony Flynn, embarked on what has quickly become his much anticipated and beloved fun and fact-filled history tour of Eccles Pubs. Despite a spot of inclement weather this Sunday past (29 Jul), the intrepid troupe walked the sodden streets of Eccles in search of the long-lost history of the area, with many long forgotten intriguing tales of the past revealed. Stories were told, pubs were frequented, beer was swigged and more importantly, money was raised for a local charity. In this case the very appreciative local foodbank 'Mustard Tree' who are helping to feed those who have fallen on hard times around Salford. A whopping £250 was raised which was converted into tins and other items for the food bank at the local Jack Fulton's. Flynn's Fandango around Eccles has gained legendary status just like his many sought-after books which are sadly out of print but regularly are sold online by collectors for as much as £500 a pop. Many thanks to another local legend, Albert Spiby for the use of the photos. You can check out many more of them over at our spiritual home on the Salford Online facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/salfordonline/ A huge well done to all those who braved the elements and heartfelt thanks to Tony for being an all-around man of the people and putting it all together. I would raise a glass to him but he has probably still has a hangover
  24. 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.
  25. This coming June 11th, International Man of History and award winning author Mr Tony Flynn, will be embarking on another of his legendary historical pub walks around Eccles. Meeting 12 pm at Eccles Train station and finishing at 2 pm outside the Royal Oak pub, learn about murder, mayhem, bodysnatchers, millionaires, arsenic beer, rioting, looting, celebrities, secret tunnels, and thats all in one pub! Tickets will be just £4 and will involve a drinkypoo in the Lamb, and maybe a half in the Albert Edward. (It's not his round). Tony says ... Tony needs no introduction as he a Salford legend, his guides to Salford's historical past are essential reading, his history of the pubs of eccles exchanges hands on Amazon for almost £25 per copy, astounding considering Tony only ever sold them for £1.50 (Not taking account the cost of publishing it). Tony served his sentence as community reporter and history editor at SalfordOnline and has published countless stories of the past, all available to peruse on this link. This once in a lifetime not to be missed experience is limited to just 20 place, so it's best to get in contact with him on Facebook to let him know you will be coming along for the ride walk. https://www.facebook.com/tony.flynn.775
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