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  1. 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
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. Founded as the 'United Kingdom Van Dwellers Protection Association' in 1889, it went on to become known as the Showmen's Guild in 1917 and recognised as the trade association for the travelling funfair business. The Guild represents the business at both local and national levels to this very day, some 128 years after its launch. Its chaplain and first General Secretary was the Reverend Thomas Horne who was based in Didsbury, Manchester, and the Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales Section of the Showmen’s Guild played a prominent role in these early years. The Showmen’s Guild was formally registered in 1917. The plaque was presented by the Salford Trades Union Council and expertly fitted by the irrepressible George Tapp under the ever watchful gaze of ladder holding health and safety expert John 'Deffo' Catterall, with Paul Kelly also in attendance to aid and assist. Photos by John Catterall & Paul Kelly A Brief History Between 1884 and 1891, evangelist George Smith referred to members of the itinerant community in Britain as ‘the dregs of society’ and proposed legislation to restrict the movement and lifestyle of the people. He was successful in bringing about restrictions on the movement of barge–dwellers, known as Bargees in 1884. In 1888, he introduced the Moveable Dwellings Bill into Parliament. This bill would force the registration of all moveable dwellings and compulsory school attendance. It also sought to empower local councils to enter and inspect dwellings and regulate so-called ‘moral irregularities’. These proposals aroused so much anger and hostility that Smith was chased out of Birmingham, and had to be given police protection in Leicester and Northampton! In 1889, the leading Showmen of the day gathered at a meeting held in the Black Lion Hotel in Salford. From this and other gatherings, the Van Dwellers’ Protection Association was born, to safeguard and protect the interests of fairground people. The fairground community arranged public meetings across the country, distributed information pamphlets and collected petitions to Parliament. In the first year, a membership fund received donations from over 500 Showmen to fight George Smith’s Bill. For more information please see the website linked bellow. https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/nfca/researchandarticles/historyshowmensguild The plaques official unveiling will take place at the Salford TUC Unity in the Community May Day rally on May 1st.



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