Misc snippets Southport

Manchester Guardian, May 6th, 1905

A home in the sand

Southport hermit evicted

A keeper employed on the Weld Blundell estate which extends for some miles along the shore between Southport and Liverpool, has been puzzled frequently of late by the sudden appearances and disappearances among the sand hills of a strange looking man. Eventually a search was organised, and deep down in the sand was found a cave. It had two entrances both carefully concealed among the star grass and a tunnel in the roof served as a chimney.

Within this strange dwelling was far more comfortable than its outside would suggest. On one side was a good sized bunk, with a mattress and blankets, then there were shelves around the sides, on which provisions and cooking utensils were stored. The fire place was carefully constructed underneath the chimney tunnel. The roof and walls were lined and in some measure supported by pieces of galvanised iron, which had probably been found among the drift on the shore. In one corner of the cave were quite a number of books and papers.

The inhabitant was a man aged about 30, unshaven and ragged, but clean. He was washing when the keepers arrived He said his name was SMETHURST and that he came from Bolton. It seemed as though his intellect were not very strong. The keepers turned him out of his sand home and he left in great grief. The cave was afterwards filled in.


Manchester Guardian May 9th, 1913

Discovery in a Southport Garden

Result of inquiry by the Coroner

The burial of the body of a child in a Southport garden, after as it is alleged, it had been placed on the fire by a domestic servant who had given birth to it, was yesterday further investigated by Mr S BRIGHOUSE and a Jury at Southport.

The servant Mrs Elizabeth HILL a widow, had been formally remanded on a charge of concealment of birth, and yesterday was represented by Mr E. HADFIELD, who also appeared for her former mistress, Mrs Ada BROWN, of Albert Rd, Birkdale.

Mrs BROWN said, she and her servant lived alone. She repeated how, on returning from church on the morning of Sunday, April 20th, she found Mrs HILL putting paper and coal on the fire in the kitchen, on which was the body of a child. The witness had it removed, but, when she wished to inform the police, Mrs HILL made a scene and would not let her leave the house, threatening to commit suicide if the police were informed. The witness then consulted a friend, who advised her to have the body buried in the garden. This was done. The police later removed the body.

Detective Inspector WIGNALL, said when he visited the house of Mrs BROWN, on the instructions of the Chief Constable he found Mrs HILL kneeling on the kitchen floor crying, She said, For heavens sake forgive me, I know I have done a great wrong.

Dr BAILDON, who made a post mortem examination, said the appearances were consistent with the view that the child had, had a separate existence. He could not say definitely that it had.

The Coroner said that the jury need not trouble about Mrs BROWN. She was not a principal in the first degree with Mrs HILL, nor an accessory before the fact. The mother herself said that the child had lived for twelve minutes, but he said he did not think they need attach much importance to the statement of a woman who in these extraordinary circumstances had just given birth to a child.

The jury found that the child had not had a separate existence.


Evening Telegraph 7th, May 1920

Cyclist killed and three men injured

While Southport Fire Brigade were proceeding to a fire today a cyclist was killed and three men injured.

The cyclist who was in front suddenly turned into a side street and was caught by the fire engine, which, in an endeavour to avoid him ran on the footpath, knocking down two trees, while three firemen were thrown off and injured.


Manchester Guardian, June 4th, 1923

Exiting fire scenes at Southport

Man collapses after rescuing children

A plucky fireman

Southport Sunday, there was much excitement at a fire which broke out today in the centre of Southport. Three people were rescued, but not before one of them, a woman, was severely burned.

The fire broke out in premises occupied by Mrs SIMPSON, stationer and toy and fancy goods dealer, 39 Nevill St. Behind the shop is a dwelling house and above it are rooms, forming a four storey block. When the fire brigade reached Nevill St the whole of the rear portion was ablaze, the flames and dense volumes of smoke could be seen from the street, where a large crowd quickly gathered. The material in and around the shop was highly combustible and the fireman, with no hope of saving the shop itself, had necessity to bend their energies to preventing the flames from spreading to other parts of the block and the surrounding buildings, in very close proximity. This proved a formidable task. When the brigade appeared it was not definitely known whether or not all the occupants had got clear of the building. Mrs SIMPSON had, had, to make her way through a burning part of the house to get out, and she was severely injured about the face, another occupant Mr BINKS a sub tenant of the house at the rear, had succeeded in getting out his children, and immediately collapsed in the yard. A fireman, donning a smoke helmet was loudly cheered for entering a first storey window where it was possible there might be someone trapped by the flames. He returned some five minutes later, having made a thorough search as the flames would permit. Soon afterwards that part of the building fell. The damage especially at the rear of the premises is considerable. The cause of the fire has not yet been established.


Lancashire Evening Post 23rd March 1933

Burning nest fires roof

Fireman H. CARR of the Southport Fire Brigade was injured when working on a fire at Birkdale on a house this afternoon. His right hand was badly cut by a slate which fell from the roof and he received attention from police surgeon Dr A. J. DEARDEN. He was then able to resume his duties.


Lancashire Evening Post 18th, April 1933

Southport mishap at cafe fire

Fireman Frank HEAD of the Southport Fire Brigade was hurt this afternoon, when the brigade were engaged on a fire at the Grand Cafe, Coronation Walk.

Holiday makers were in the cafe which is occupied by Mr A. PLATT, when fire broke out in a fish and chip frying range, in the public portion of the premises.

Mr PLATT and neighbours tried to put out the fire with sand, but had to call out the brigade, who found the range a mass of flames. They quelled the blaze within a few minutes with extinguishers.

While the brigade were working on the range marble work cracked through the heat, and a heave piece fell on Fireman HEAD, he received a deep wound on his right hand and received medical attention by police surgeon Dr A. J. DEARDEN.

About thirty pounds worth of damage was caused, it is said, through boiling fat running over on the range.

Evening Telegraph 7th, October 1935

House on fire while family is out

While Mr O. H. PLATT of Chatsworth Rd, Ainsdale, and members of his family were out at the cinema a fire broke out at his house, and the Southport Fire Brigade were engaged at the outbreak for a considerable time. The alarm was given by a passer by who saw smoke coming from a window. The fire was confined to a box room, the damage is estimated at about 200.

When the fire brigade arrived a dog was barking in the hall, and the front door was forced open to release it.


Manchester Guardian, July 17th 1934

Southport man on murder charge

Albert EMMETT, aged 41, an unemployed butcher of Manchester Rd, Southport was remanded for 8 days at Southport yesterday charged with the murder of George HILL, aged 42, motor engineer also of Manchester Rd

The Chief Constable stated that a quarrel arose between EMMETT and HILL on Saturday night about the locking of a gate and the keeping of a motor cycle at premises belonging to EMMETT. Blows were struck#, it was alleged, and HILL fell and died immediately.

Sir Samuel BRIGHOUSE later in the day opened an inquest on HILL. Dr COOKE pathologist of Wigan, who made a post mortem examination, said death followed haemorrhage of the brain. It might have been brought about by a blow under the chin. The inquest was adjourned until December 4th.

Manchester Guardian, July 26th, 1934

Charge of murder reduced

When Albert EMMETT, 41, of Manchester Rd, Southport, an unemployed butcher appeared at Southport yesterday charged with the murder of his next door neighbour as the result of a quarrel, the charged was reduced to one of manslaughter. EMMETT was committed to Liverpool Assizes, bail being allowed.

Mr E. G. ROBEY for the Director of Public Prosecutions, stated EMMETT lived next door to a motor mechanic named George HILL, aged 42. EMMETT had allowed a motor cyclist to keep his machine and sidecar in a shed behind the house of EMMETT. To get to it one had to go down a drive and through double gates between both houses. The HILLS objected after a time to the noise, and padlocked the gates while the machine was in the shed. When the motor cyclist wanted the machine EMMETT went to HILL. EMMETT it is alleged, got very angry, and there was a fight. HILL was hit on the face, and he dropped down. He was later found to be dead.

The owner of the cycle Ernest PROWSE on Manchester Rd, said that HILL rushed at EMMETT who tried to ward him off.

The magistrates decided there was a case to answer, but not of murder and the charge was reduced to one of manslaughter.

EMMETT pleaded not guilty and reserved his defence.


Manchester Guardian Aug 6th 1934

Store manager found dead on beach

The body of a man fully clothed was found on shore at Southport yesterday. It was taken to the mortuary where it was identified as that of William WHITTAKER, aged 60 of Churchgates, Southport, the groceries manager and buyer of the Southport Cooperative Society. Mr WHITTAKER followed his usual custom and went for a walk on Saturday evening and was not seen alive again. He leaves a widow and two daughters.


Manchester Guardian Aug 17th 1934

Man unconscious in drain

A Southport Corporation workman George ROBERTS aged 41, of Grove St, Birkdale, was overcome by sewer gas fumes while working on a tunnel underneath Windsor Rd, Southport, about midnight last night, and collapsed falling into the water at the bottom of the drain.

Two fellow workmen, Robert DURRANT , aged 25 of Fernley Rd, Birkdale and Edward WALSH, aged 37, of Bright St, Southport went to his assistance. DURRANT holding him up while WALSH fastened a winch chain around his waist. With the aid of another workman, George HICKSON, aged 48, of Ribble Ave, Cossens, he was taken along the passage and hauled to the surface. He was unconscious but recovered when artificial respiration was applied.

Three other men were also affected by the fumes and all were taken to Southport Infirmary and were able to go home after treatment.


Manchester Guardian Sept 22nd, 1934

Birkdale Road death inquest adjourned

The inquest on Francis William VAUGHAN, aged 11, of Eastbourne Rd Birkdale, who was knocked down while cycling at the junction of Park Crescent and Cambridge Rd, Southport, by a motor car driven by Aubrey FORBES, of Lonick Lodge, Shirdley Hill, was adjourned yesterday. The Coroner Sir Samuel BRIGHOUSE, said he did not want to prejudice the driver of the car, but the facts as presented to him, justified him in saying that all the evidence ought to be taken down and the jury given the opportunity of saying whether or not the man ought to go for trial.


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