OCCURRENCE AT STALYBRIDGE MILL
Engineer and Fireman Scalded to Death
A CARDER'S HORRIBLE FIND
On Tuesday morning, shortly after six o'clock,
a terrible fatality. involving the loss
of two lives . took place at the Clarence
Mill, Clarence-street, Stalybridge. The workpeople
had taken their places as usual at the hour for
commencing their day's toil, but the machinery
remained motionless. James Henry DOWNING, a carder,
residing in Lodge-lane, Dukinfield, suspecting
that something was wrong, made his way down to
Upon getting there, he was startled
to find the place full of steam, and quickly procuring
a light, he began a search, the result of which
was the horrible discovery of both the engineer
and the fireman scalded to death. Their respective
names are Henry ROEBUCK, engineer, aged 33 years,
of 103 Bayley-street, Stalybridge, and Samuel
BOOTH, aged 47, fireman, of Hall-street, Cockbrook,
Ashton. Both men are married.
The carder's shocking discovery caused
a profound sensation, the workpeople, to whom
both the deceased were of course well known, leaving
the premises upon hearing the dreadful news. Enquiries
showed that the top of one of the economisers
had blown off, and the force of steam must have
accounted for the men's death. The previous day
one of the economisers was out of repair, and
ROEBUCK and BOOTH were on that day busily engaged
upon it, but singular to say, the economiser which
burst and caused their death was not the one which
was being repaired.
DOWNING found the fireman laid upon
his back, whilst ROEBUCK was in a sitting position
behind the boiler-house door. Dr TAIT was hurriedly
summoned to the mill, but his services were to
no avail, as life in both cases was extinct. The
police were notified, and they removed the body
of BOOTH to the mortuary at the Town Hall, whilst
that of ROEBUCK was taken to his home, where his
family were naturally stricken with grief.
Mr F NEWTON, coroner, held an inquest on the bodies
at the Town Hall on Thursday afternoon. The jury
was convened for 11.30am, but it was 1.30 ere
the coroner turned up, he having been delayed
by the fog. After viewing the bodies and, inspecting
the economiser house at the Clarence Mill, the
jury returned, and the evidence was commenced
shortly before three o'clock.
The jury empanelled composed the following
gentlemen: Messrs John BLACKWELL (foreman), James
BRAMHALL, John HOBSON, Tom COOK, William CARR,
James BACKLEY, James T NORRIS, Thomas ROTHWELL,
Walter WAGSTAFFE, William DILLOW, James WRIGHT,
and Henry PEEL.
Louisa BOOTH, wife of Samuel BOOTH,
and Annie EASTWOOD, housekeeper for Mrs ROEBUCK
(who is very ill and confined to the house) gave
formal evidence of identification.
James Henry DOWNING, carder at the
Clarence Mill, said: On Tuesday morning, at quarter
past six, I went into the engine-room, but could
not find the engineer, ROEBUCK, there. I called
him by name, but got no answer. I then went into
the economiser house, opened the door, and found
the place full of steam. I got a light, went into
the house, and found ROEBUCK in a sitting position
behind the door, and BOOTH in a corner near the
The Coroner: Had you any difficulty
in getting the door open? No, sir. Had you to
use any force? No, sir. Did much steam come out
when you opened it? Yes, sir.
By Mr CHAMBERS: The door I went in
was the door they went in by. Instead of returning
by the same way, the deceased appeared to have
gone to another door which was fast. The door
I entered was the nearest. A Juror: They would
be so stunned that they would not know which door
to go to.
Thomas GRIFFITHS, of 31 Asbrey-street,
Cockbrook, deposed that he was the under engineer
at the Clarence Mills. He assisted ROEBUCK on
Monday night to repair a joint on the blow-off
valve, which was attached to one end of the economise
pipes. The one which had burst and caused the
death of the men was not interfered with at all.
In answer to the Inspector, witness
said he had worked at the Clarence Mills five
years, during which the present economisers had
been there. He could not say how long it was since
the economisers were internally examined. He knew
of two examinations which had taken place during
that time. The last examination took place about
July. On that occasion they were all found in
good order. He had never before known a top to
be blown off the economiser, but he had heard
them 'screech” a bit. He had no instructions about
the pressure being on or off when the repairs
were being carried out.
Juror: Was ROEBUCK a fully-qualified man? .
Witness: He had been brought up to the work, but
he had not served his time to it. Mr COOK remarked
that no engineers of this character served their
time. The majority were promoted from the firehole.
They learned their trade as they went along, and
were not qualified in the sense that a mechanic
CHEETHAM HILL ROAD, DUKINFIELD
Sir,. I write to draw attention of the
Highways Committee to the disgraceful state of the
above road during the present arctic weather. For
weeks past the roads and footways have been thickly
coated over with snow and ice, rendering it positively
dangerous to venture out after dark; yet the Highways
Committee have done nothing to render the road less
difficult to traverse. Not a grain of sand nor a
shovelful of ashes has been spread over the slippery
surface of the ground. In justice to the Stalybridge
Corporation, I will say that their portion of the
road has been well cindered during the last few
days. The Dukinfield Corporation have simply failed
their duty and gone to sleep, believing that, 'As
the snow falls, so let it lie.”
W M SIMPSON, 218 Cheetham Hill-road, Dukinfield
MOSSLEY CARTER'S CLAIM FOR
An action to recover damages for personal injuries,
brought by James SCHOFIELD, a carter, of Mossley,
against the Mossley Industrial Co-operative Society
Ltd, was tried on Tuesday afternoon at the Manchester
On June 28 of 1900 the plaintiff conveyed
a load of sugar from Manchester to the Mossley
Co-operative Stores. He drew up under the archway
of the stores while the sugar was unloaded, and
while this was in progress a trestle, which was
standing near, was by some means upset. The trestle
struck the horse on the head, and as the animal
backed, the plaintiff was thrown from the lurry.
His right arm was so badly injured in the fall
that he had entirely lost the use of it. The plaintiff
alleged negligence on the part of the defendant
company in leaving the trestle in a dangerous
position. This the defendants denied, and submitted
that there was contributory negligence on the
part of the plaintiff.
the plaintiff's witnesses, his Lordship held that
there was no evidence to prove liability on the
part of the defendant company. It would be a great
injustice to any defendant if he were to say any
case had been made out against them. His Lordship,
therefore, directed the jury to return a verdict
for the defendants.
A MAN FOUND DEAD AT DUKINFIELD
On Sunday morning the dead body of Thomas TAYLOR,
aged 37, stoker, residing in Wharf-street, was found
in a closet at the rear of the Staff of Life beerhouse,
King-street. An inquest was held on the body on
Tuesday afternoon at the house of Mr J H COOKE,
Shoulder of Mutton, Wharf-street, by Mr F NEWTON,
Bessie TAYLOR said: I live at 30 Wharf-street,
Dukinfield. The deceased was my husband. He was
37 years of age, and was a gas stoker. On Saturday
afternoon at a quarter to five o'clock he came
home from his work. He had his tea and changed
his clothes, and went out about eight o'clock
in the evening. He was then in his usual health.
He had complained of pains in his left breast
last week, but did not think it serious enough
to consult a doctor. He had never eaten heartier
in his life.
I did not see him again that night.
At about eight o'clock on Sunday morning I was
informed that he had been found dead in a closet,
and his body was brought home between 8 and 9
o'clock. He had not been subject to faints, he
was always strong. He did not make any complaint
when he came home. He was a sober man, not having
taken much drink for some time.. The Coroner:
Have you made enquiries since where he was? Witness:
No.. You don't know where he spent the evening?
He could only have spent it at the Staff of Life.
He would have to be shaved after he went out of
Elisha OSBALDESTON said: I keep the
Staff of Life beerhouse, Dukinfield. On Saturday
night, about nine o'clock, the deceased came into
my house. He was sober, and had two glasses of
beer, served by myself. He left the house about
half past nine o'clock, sober. I did not see which
way he went. At 7.30 on the following morning
I went into the yard, and found the deceased in
a water closet, sitting on the closet seat, with
his clothing loose. I spoke to him, but did not
get any reply. I shook him, and said, 'What are
you doing here?” He did not take any notice, and
then I found he was dead. His clay pipe lay broken
on the closet board. The closet was one of five
in an open yard. The other four were always locked,
but this one was always open. His felt hat was
on his head. He was in a sideways position, with
his head leaning on his left shoulder, and both
hands were clenched. There was no doctor called.
He was in good spirits and quite cheerful on the
Saturday night. He told me he was going to a wedding
The Coroner: Did you examine the body?
. Sergeant MOTTERSHEAD: No, sir. Sergeant
BACHMAN did; I was away. He found £1 6s 11d in
money, a pipe, tobacco, &c.. The Coroner:
I suppose there is no suspicion of foul play?
No, sir; there were no marks of foul play about
the body.. The Foreman: Was the closet door
closed or wide open? . Witness: Partly closed..
Sergeant MOTTERSHEAD said a cousin of the deceased
saw him a few minutes before he left the beerhouse,
and then he was quite sober.
The Coroner said it was very difficult
to decide in a case of this description what had
been the cause of death. He seemed to have gone
to the closet not in a drunken condition, and
they would not expect a man to fall asleep unless
he had been having too much drink. If he had been
drunk one might have thought he had gone to sleep
and been starved to death. The Foreman said it
looked as if he had had a fit.. The Coroner:
It is very probable. The jury returned a verdict
that deceased was found dead, caused probably
by a fit of apoplexy.
HOOLEY HILL AND AUDENSHAW
FINED FOR SNOWBALLING.. At the Ashton
County Police Court, on Wednesday, James JONES,
aged 14, was fined 2s 6d for throwing snowballs
at pedestrians in Guide-lane, Audenshaw.
BREACH OF THE PEACE..
At the Ashton County Police Court, on Wednesday,
Benjamin DUDLEY, who had been arrested on a warrant,
pleaded guilty to committing a breach of the peace
at Audenshaw on January 8th and was bound over
to keep the peace for three months.
TAPPED AT HIS WINDOW.. At the Ashton
County Police Court, on Wednesday, Samuel BENNETT,
Emily HAMPSON, and Alice BURNLEY were charged
with committing a breach of the peace at Audenshaw
on January 28th.. BENNETT and BURNLEY pleaded
guilty, and HAMPSON not guilty.. A constable
stated that at 6.45pm all the three defendants
were quarrelling with each other, causing a crowd
of people to assemble in Guide-lane. HAMPSON told
the magistrates that the two other defendants
started the bother as she was passing them BURNLEY
came to her with a poker.. BENNETT said
the quarrel was started by someone tapping at
his window.. Defendants were each bound
over in 40s to keep the peace for three months.
SAD FATALITY AT ASHTON
A lamentable accident, which proved fatal, occurred
in Oldham-road shortly before 12 o'clock on Tuesday
morning. A lurry load of shoddy, drawn by three
horses, belonging to James HOWE Limited, waste dealers,
Turner-lane, Ashton, was proceeding along the road
near to the London and North Western Railway Company's
goods yard, when the leading horse appeared to take
fright at something and immediately set off at a
gallop, the rear horses following. A carter in the
employ of Messrs HOWE, named Joseph WILDE, residing
in Turner-lane, got hold of the horse's head and
tried to stop it, but in the attempt he fell on
the slippery ground, and the middle horse trod on
his head. He was carried into the surgery of Dr
BOWMAN, where his head was bandaged up. He was then
taken home and began to complain of pains in his
head. His condition became alarming, and he expired
at 1.30pm. Deceased leaves a widow and seven children.
Mary Jane WILDE said the deceased,
Joseph WILDE, carter (43), was her husband. They
lived at 133 Turner-lane. The deceased left home
about 8.20 on Tuesday to go to his work. He was
then in good health. He wore clogs. About 20 minutes
past 12 o'clock he was brought home by two strange
men. He had bandages about his face. He complained
of a choking feeling, and walked about putting
his hand to his neck. She sent for Dr BOWMAN,
who was not at home, and afterwards for Dr PEARCE,
but before the doctor arrived her husband was
dead. He kept spitting blood. He had not done
so before. He did not seem to want witness to
talk to him, but he told her that he had slipped
and the second horse had trod on him. He did not
blame anyone for what had happened to him.
James COOK, carter, of 18 Jackson-street,
Ashton, said he started with the deceased for
Reyner's mill about eleven o'clock. They had a
lurry and three horses, and went for a load of
cotton waste to take to his employers' warehouse
in Turner-lane. They started the horses from the
coffee tavern at the corner of Wellington-road
and Oldham-road, and went up the brow in Oldham-road
to the turning at Boodle-street, near Oldham-road
Station. The horses commenced to trot. They always
trotted in going uphill. They afterwards got from
trotting to galloping. Deceased was by the first
horse. He was running, holding on to the chains.
Witness was near the first horse when the horses
went into a gallop.
Deceased ran forward to try and take
the first horse by the head, but he could not
catch it. He dropped back to the second horse.
He was on the 'near” side, and his left hand across
on the trace chain. Deceased tried to catch the
horse by the bridle. In doing this he slipped
and fell forward on his face in front of the horse.
The horse trampled him with all four feet. He
rolled over once in the road. Witness 'frightened,”
and pulled the shaft horse over, and so avoided
the lurry going over deceased. The first and second
horse had got off the swept track on to the snow
at the Boodle-street side. Witness followed the
horses. He did not pull them up; they stopped
themselves about ten yards down Boodle-street.
The horses were quiet ones.
By the Foreman: The roads were bad.
The horses were not sharpened. It was not usual
to have three horses. They would have had more
control over the horses most certainly had there
been reins.. By a Juror: Don't you think
it would have been safer to have had the horses
sharpened.. Witness: You can't have all
the horses sharpened? . The Coroner (addressing
particularly the juryman putting the above question):
You cannot attribute the man's death to the fact
that the horses were not sharpened.. The
Foreman: But were the horses under proper control?
. The Coroner: Ah! Now that, perhaps, is
more to the point.
Witness: I have not heard that the
first horse was struck with a snowball causing
it to start galloping. Witness also said he did
not see anyone throw a snowball. The gradient
was a pretty steep one.. A lengthy discussion
was entered into by the jury as to the fact of
the horses being sharpened, one juryman contending
that probably deceased would not have been so
near the horses if they had been sharpened..
Another juror pointed out that the horses did
not fall. It was the deceased who fell.
The Coroner: The question for us to
consider is whether the deceased met his death
by accident or no, and if his death was caused
by an accident, was anyone to blame. That was
as far as we can go.. A juror: Could not
we have the doctor here? . The Coroner:
Yes, if you think it desirable, we can certainly
have the doctor's evidence. Dr BOWMAN, it is clear,
could not know that his injuries were serious.
His injuries were internal injuries, and the doctor
could not see them, and the deceased, in his conversation
with the doctor, evidently did not lead the doctor
to think there was anything seriously wrong with
A Juror: His jaw was broken..
The Coroner: It is reported so, but that would
not be the cause of his death. If you like, we
can adjourn and a post mortem can be held, when
we can get the doctor's evidence as to the immediate
cause of death.. After some further discussion,
the jury agreed to a verdict of 'Accidental death.'
said he was instructed to say that the firm appreciated
the deceased as a faithful servant who had served
them with great satisfaction for a long period.
He had been a very good man, against whose conduct
they had never had complaint to make.
FATAL FALL DOWNSTAIRS AT
Sad Death of Mr Tom THORP
The police received information
on Sunday of the death of Thomas THORP, a labourer
in the employ of the Corporation, residing in Parkside,
who it is supposed accidentally fell downstairs
between Saturday night and Sunday morning, and received
injuries which caused his death. The deceased was
well known in Stalybridge and Dukinfield, in connection
with political affairs, and was a son of Mr Daniel
THORP, now of Blackpool, and formerly of Stalybridge.
Annie THORP said: The deceased was
my husband, and lived at 3 Parkside. He was a
labourer, 39 years of age. I had been living apart
from him five days before this happened. On Saturday
night about 11 o'clock I saw him going into the
house. He seemed to be the worse for drink. He
unlocked the door, entered, and relocked the door,
and I heard him drop the key on the floor inside.
I was staying at a house across the street, and
I went there.
Next morning, I did not see or hear
anything of him. The door was still locked. About
two o'clock I got uneasy about him and borrowed
a neighbour's key, and entered the house. I found
him lying on his back on the kitchen floor at
the foot of the stairs. I went to the door and
called Wm RICHARDSON to assist me. He touched
deceased on the face and moved his arm, but he
was dead. He was only attired in his shirt. There
is an entry next the staircase. His body was cold..
The Foreman: Has he been in the habit of getting
a lot of drink? Yes.. The Coroner: Coming
home drunk? . Yes.. The Foreman: Was
he about the same as usual on Saturday night?
Yes, he was a man who drank a lot of liquors..
The Coroner: Was it through you living apart?
The jury returned a verdict of, 'Found
dead, having fallen downstairs.'
Here is a good story concerning
a bishop of stately mien and sanctimonious expression,
who is in reality a prince of good fellows. Not
long ago he went down to a small country town to
lecture, arriving early in the afternoon, and of
course being at once spotted by the inhabitants
as something particularly great and saintly. He
went into the chemist's shop, and, in a tone that
froze the young blood of the assistant, said, 'Young
man, do you smoke?' 'Y-yes, sir,' replied the trembling
youth. 'I'm sorry; but I learnt the habit young,
and I haven't been able to get rid of it yet.' 'Then,'
said the great divine, without the movement of a
muscle or the abatement of one shade of the awful
solemnity of his voice, 'you can tell me where I
can get a good cigar.