12 January 1901
"M. Wilfred de PONIELLE, a well known French
astronomer relates an event which, if true, strengthens
the conviction held by some astronomers that the
planet Mars is inhabited. He says the phenomenon
recently observed is tantamount to a message from
"What he had seen was a series of
bright lights in a straight line for several hundred
kilometres. (No anti-Europe here - ed) These gigantic
fires blazed without interruption for an hour
and ten minutes and then disappeared as suddenly
as they had come.
"If the inhabitants of Mars really
lighted these fires, it is, he says, indispensable
for the astronomers of the world to let them know
that they have been understood and that they count
on their intelligence to succeed in understanding
us and creating a special alphabet."
Nothing new there then! Hey, the
truth is out there!
NEGLECT OF CHILDREN IN ASHTON
Labourer John Henry MALLINSON was in the dock
charged with cruelty to children, instigated by
the RSPCC. He pleaded not guilty and elected for
trial by magistrates, rather than by jury.
The prosecution said that he was
the father of two children aged four and six,
their mother having died. "The defendant was nothing
but a drunken, lazy, idle vagabond. He would not
work. He went out first thing in the morning and
came back late at night drunk.
"At the present time, one of the
children was suffering from broncho-pneumonia.
The prisoner was thoroughly callous about his
children's condition and never attempted to get
them food or sustenance."
MALLINSON's mother-in-law, Mrs HAGUE,
lived with the family and had done what she could
for the children. Neighbours gave evidence, including
Mrs CAPOA of 44 Katherine-street and Mrs DUCKWORTH
of 2 Mercer's Yard, his next-door neighbour.
"The prisoner said he was very sorry
and try his best if they would look over it.
"The Chairman said a man who would
see two children starve as he had done and be
able to work deserved horse whipping."
The judgement of the bench was six
months imprisonment with hard labour.
THE SHOCKING DEATH OF A
Smothered while 'digging for gold'
Young Wilfred HATTON was killed while playing and
was cited as proof of the need for a public playground
in the town.
Joseph HATTON said: "I live at Friendship
Yard, off Huddersfield Road, and am 13 years of
age. My brother, Wilfred, and some other boys
were playing behind the sand bed."
"How were you playing?" asked the
"He was digging for gold," innocently
replied the witness. It seems the boy was using
a shovel to dig out the sand which the others
were using to build a river bridge. The wall of
the sandpit collapsed, burying the child. His
brother tried to get him out while the others
ran for help. It took 20 minutes to dig the boy
out, by which time he had suffocated.
The sandpit was owned by Lord STAMFORD
and rented by Tom SHAW. He was criticised for
not fencing off the land, but it was accepted
that any fence would be destroyed by local children
within days of being put up.
ASSAULTING A MOTHER-IN-LAW
An unfortunate family
Herbert TONGUE appeared in court wearing his regimental
uniform as he was charged with assaulting his mother-in-law,
Jane HAGUE of 21 Oldham-street, Hurst Brook.
TONGUE had married one of her daughters,
but soon after enlisted in 2nd Middlesex Regiment,
leaving his wife and child to live with his mother-in-law.
He had recently returned from the war in South
Africa and was on furlough, staying with his parents
It seems Mrs HAGUE felt that her
daughter and her grandchild should have nothing
to do with TONGUE since he had deserted them,
but her daughter had other ideas. She took the
child to meet him and then to his parents house
on Stocks-lane. Unfortunately, she was followed
by her sister who reported back to Mrs HAGUE and
the two of them returned to Stocks-lane to confront
Mrs HAGUE's version of events was
that TONGUE had reacted angrily, cursing and swearing,
and then 'without the slightest provocation',
struck her other daughter, Alice WRIGLEY, a violent
blow on the left eye causing a mark which the
magistrates could see. She said he then had to
be held down by his brother-in-law, Fred PLOWDEN
as he tried to attack both women.
TONGUE said that it was Mrs HAGUE
who was being abusive and that he had not struck
Alice WRIGLEY. According to him, the damage had
been caused when he lifted his arm in self-defence
as the women lunged at him. This version of events
was supported by PLOWDEN. He was found guilty
of a 'technical assault' and fined one shilling.