Thursday, 30 July 2015

Tales From The Wirral

Coming from the Wirral Peninsula, it is understandable that every so often I like to post stories from around the area.  It was a haven for smugglers, particularly at the northern end.  Pubs like Old Mother Redcap's - near the Floral Pavilion - was somewhere that the smugglers and bandits could take their loot and hide it in one of its many hiding places.  Traps were laid to catch out any customs officers.  The pub name went back to the 1770`s, and a woman called Polly Jones, a friend to sailors and bandits, who reputedly wore a red cap.

    Birkenhead is long known as a rough area - at one time in the 1950`s, there were more attacks on people in the street than anywhere else in the country.  There will always be the persistent offenders in all towns and cities.  Elizabeth Formstone was one such person.  She had been charged more than seventy times for drunkenness, prostitution and other petty offences.  In February 1891, she encountered a Constable in Market Street and gave him a volley of abuse.  Constable Mountfield was very familiar with this woman, and told her to move on.  She was shouting obscenities about another Constable who had pressed charges against her.  She then went into a pub and carried on her tirade.  The landlord quickly led her out but she turned and started attacking him.  PC Mountfield struggled to arrest her but eventually he got her into the station.  As she was being booked in, she attacked Mountfield again, who had to subdue her and place her in a cell.  She appeared before a Magistrate the next day, who was very familiar with her.  She faced two charges, was convicted and given two months hard labour on both charges.  She reacted by grabbing a Policeman`s helmet and throwing it at the Magistrate.

    This tale from the Wirral, was one that happened in my old neck of the woods:  Little Sutton.  On April 2nd 1907, a young lady named Margaret Jones was returning to her home in Great Sutton, from Chester, by train. She alighted at the tiny station at Little Sutton and proceeded to walk home, which would have been a bit of a journey.  She suddenly found a young man walking alongside, trying to strike up a conversation.  This was 18 year old Edward Warrington from the tiny village of Capenhurst - I used to work near there - but she ignored him.  Suddenly, he grabbed her and they struggled.  He tore his tie in half and shoved it into her mouth, to try and silence her, but her continued screams drove him away.  She reached home safely.  Two days later, she spotted him driving a horse and trap, and quickly alerted the beat constable who arrested him.  He appeared before the County Police Court and was found guilty and sentenced to six weeks jail, after a plea for leniency was made by his family.  There was no explanation for his actions.

    A minor tale was that of a youth who killed a cat simply because it wandered into his bedroom.  This occurred in the tiny and lovely little village called Thornton Hough - a great pub is the Cheshire Cat - in November 1919.  James Hayes was awoken by his sister shouting that a cat had wandered into the house and upstairs.  For some unknown reason, Hayes totally over-reacted and smashed the cat over the back with his father`s walking stick, after chasing it downstairs.  He then picked it up and threw it out into the garden.  The cat`s owner, Agnes Taylor, witnessed this and furiously confronted him.  He claimed he did it because he was scared of it.  Mrs Taylor brought a Police Officer, whom Hayes confessed to, saying he did not mean to harm it.  Before Neston Petty Sessions, he pleaded guilty and showed remorse and was ordered to replace Mrs Taylor`s Cat!  What a punishment!