Tag Archives: 1890s

A Long and Desperate Eight Hours


Among the hitherto unrecorded incidents of the late storm is one in which a young gentleman hailing from New Brighton had a marvellous escape from death. The young gentleman in question was sleeping in a friend’s yacht which was anchored off New Brighton, and while in his cabin, his vessel received a sudden shock. Going on deck in his night clothing he found that a fishing boat had broke from her moorings, and being carried against his yacht, the two vessels were partially locked together. He promptly jumped on board the fishing vessel to release her from the yacht, but the next instant the storm and the sea had parted the craft, and he found himself drifting about the river in great peril. Realising his danger, and seeing that to control the fishing boat some sail must be hoisted, the young gentleman ran up a slight jib. The wind blowing from the Cheshire side soon carried the yacht into the middle of the river, and then appeared the fate which befel the schooner the same morning—viz. that of being dashed against the north wall and smashed to pieces. After a long and desperate eight hours the tiny craft was drifting safely into the Canada Basin, and the vessel and her solitary crew were saved. The young man, however, was so exhausted from his terrible labours and the exposure that he had to be placed in a hot bath by the dock master, who also supplied him with clothing.


The North-Eastern Daily Gazette, Friday 28 December 1894

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Filed under Narrow Escapes

The cat ladies will always be with us


A SUMMONS of rather an exceptional character—for keeping a large number of cats in a small room at No. 21, Tufton-street, Westminster, used as a living and sleeping apartment by the occupier and the defendant, an elderly female named Louisa Bragg—came before the magistrate, at the Westminster Police-court, on Friday.

The defendant, it was stated, was summoned about three years ago for a similar offence in Marsham-street, Westminster. The defendant then produced a birthday book of her pets, and pleaded very hard to be allowed to retain them, but after a good deal of trouble they were reduced in number by summary measures.

Lightfoot, the sanitary inspector, said that the nuisance was now as bad as ever. When he visited the defendant’s room on the 11th ult. the door was cautiously opened a little way, and an endeavour made to close it when his identity was discovered. He had time to count eight cats—never allowed out—of different sizes and colours. The effluvia was sickening, and there had been many complaints. At subsequent visits he could not gain admission to the room. Personal service of the summons was proved, and in the defendant’s absence the magistrate made an order on her to abate the nuisance forthwith and pay 23s. cost.

The Illustrated Police News, Saturday 16 April 1892


Notes from the Editor:

  1. It is only too evident that some things never change, but Ms Lucy Inglis of Georgian London has further proof, viz: An eccentrical lady
  2. I have not forgotten Mr Amateur Casual’s meme, and shall ‘get onto it’ forthwith.

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Filed under Birds and Beasts, Peculiar Behaviour

They will never get him now


About noon on Friday a singular and exciting incident was witnessed in Strangeways. Two soldiers were seen running from new Bridge-street towards the Assize Courts, pausing now and again as if in doubt, and occasionally peering through the shop windows on either side of the way. It turned out that they had been escorting a prisoner who had contrived to make his escape. While the soldiers, who looked thoroughly scared, were meditating a descent into one of the shafts of the new sewer now in course of construction in Strangeways, a constable in the county force sat on the top of a tramcar going townwards and commented on their proceedings.

“They will never get him now,” said the policeman.

At that moment a man in plain clothes, having the appearance of a labourer, crossed from the footpath to the tramway, and without undue hurry got on to the car and took a place inside. The policeman promptly descended, and a minute later his fellow-passengers saw him rolling in the middle of the road under the railway viaduct with the man who, so to speak, had just stepped into his arms. The prisoner struggled desperately, but was at length overpowered and secured until the soldiers came panting up to resume possession.

Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury, Saturday 12 August 1893



Editor’s Note: I am greatly obliged to the inestimable Mr Amateur Casual at The Victorianist, who has considered this humble blog worthy of being “tagged” in a “meme”. I am to dredge from my archives – like so many crushed oyster-shells from the clinging mud of the Thames – seven posts worthy of renewed attention.

I may point out that the majority of my posts gained NO ATTENTION WHATSOEVER ‘pon their first appearance, so I shall be only too glad to haul them into the roseate light of dawn and present them before my subscribers, (and may I address you directly, subscribers, and say that I am eternally grateful to both of you for your patronage of my work – perhaps one day we shall be the triumvirate of a new world order).

At the present time, however, I am happily (at least, as happily as one of my melancholic and poetic nature can expect) engaged in the only social habit that – in Mr Peacock’s words – the disappointed spirit never unlearns. Oh, Mr Co-operative’s cheapest bottle of Rioja, thou art the only styptic to a bleeding heart! Therefore I shall cogitate upon the meme for some time, and shall endeavour to complete it at some point in that abyss of potential (nay, inevitable) disappointment – THE FUTURE!

For now, my friends (though friendship is but a mayfly that began its day’s existence in innocence yet collided with a steam locomotive after no more than a minute) I shall…

I have forgotten my intention in starting the previous paragraph. Oh Morpheus, embrace me, for I am doomed to have no other bedfellow but thee.


Filed under Criminal Capers, Narrow Escapes, The Editor Gets Drunk and Opines on Things

A Disappointment


An extraordinary case of mistaken identity is reported from Stirling. On Friday night an Edinburgh gentleman who had been angling in the River Forth dropped dead in the street from heart disease, and so remarkable was his resemblance to a local merchant, who is also an angler, that the body was taken to the latter’s house. The shop was closed, and the sad intelligence broken to the supposed widow, who, however, discovered that the corpse was not her husband’s.

The North-Eastern Daily Gazette, Monday 16 September 1895

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Filed under Newsworthy Deaths

A fatal staring competition


The Ceylon Observer vouches for the truth of an extraordinary story which will interest students of natural history.  Some four months ago a young lady, while a guest with some friends in Colombo, saw three house lizards watch each other on a post for five days, and mentioned the circumstance to her father as a curious incident.  Returning to Colombo last month she was astonished to find the three lizards still there watching each other; but now they were skeletons firmly attached to the post of the verandah, about a foot apart from each other, just as she had left them four months previously! The supposition is that they died of starvation rather than move and give an opportunity for attack.

The Star, St Peter Port, Thursday 5 December 1895

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Filed under Birds and Beasts

Generally behaving in a most amusing manner


An amusing case in which a donkey figured very prominently was heard at the Birmingham Police-court on Friday. Thomas Lloyd was summoned for being drunk in charge of his donkey and cart. The police-constable had no difficulty with the defendant, but the donkey, he said, gave him a lot of trouble. He put the defendant in the cart, and proceeded to drive him to the Police-station. The donkey went quietly for a time, but soon began to “strike.” He declined to go any further, and the better to carry out his plan lay full length upon the ground. Persuasion was useless, and the officer came to the conclusion that other methods must be adopted. As the donkey declined to take his master to the station, the officer had to obtain other assistance, and succeeded in accomplishing his object.

Then the donkey and cart demanded attention. They were separated, but the donkey was not going to be beaten so easily. The fun now commenced, and the donkey had a very happy time. He went through some extraordinary gymnastics, rolling over, rearing on to his hind legs, and generally behaving in a most amusing manner. This sort of thing became at length monotonous, and with the aid of of six stalwart officers and a number of workmen the donkey was literally carried to the station. The journey was not easy of accomplishment. Two officers caught hold of the animal’s front legs, two of his heels, and one his tail, while other assistants pushed at the sides. By a process of pushing, carrying, and sliding, the station was eventually reached, and the donkey ultimately lodged in the pound. The experience was very novel, and the police-constable said during 18 years’ experience he had never had such a job. Lloyd was fined 5s. and costs.

The Bury and Norwich Post, Tuesday 15 February 1898

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Filed under Birds and Beasts

A Loud Whiff of Anger


Mrs Minnick killing an alligatorMRS. P. J. MINNICK, living on the Hillsboro’ River, in Florida, recently had a contest with a big alligator in which the reptile was despatched. The saurian was chasing ducks when Mrs. Minnick interfered with his fun by a blow on the head with a long pole. Whirling around, with a loud whiff of anger he charged his plucky antagonist. As the alligator charged down with wide-open jaws and shrilly hissing, she braced herself for the fray, and with a quick and sudden movement, she rammed the pole down the reptile’s throat. Mrs. Minnick kept pushing on the pole with all her strength. The reptile snapped at it and tried to bite it off, but could not secure a good hold on it.

Her arms were tiring, and she began calling for help. Her twelve-year-old son soon responded, and came running down the bank with a light axe in his hand. Creeping up close to the alligator, he dealt him a blow on the back with the sharp blade that nearly severed some three feet of the reptile’s tail. The old alligator roared, and with a violent effort bit through the pole in his mouth and endeavoured to retreat to the water. But this Mrs. Minnick was determined he should not do. Catching the axe from her boy’s hands, she rushed up and with one effective stroke cut off one of the alligator’s front paws.

He fell over on his side, roaring and bellowing with rage. His ugly jaws closed together with a vicious snap, and his half-severed tail thrashed around in an ugly manner. Watching her chance, the plucky woman cut off the tail entirely. Shortly after two heavy blows were delivered on the head of the struggling saurian, and the victory was won. The head was cut off and preserved, as Mrs. Minnick says she intends to have a set of jewellery made from its teeth.

The Illustrated Police News Saturday 20 November 1897



Note: For a British example of  eusuchian-related derring-do, I recommend perusal of the following: An Huzzah for the Reptile Conqueror!

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Filed under Birds and Beasts

Promptly Ejected from the Station


The passengers arriving at Windsor by a Great Western train on Tuesday morning were startled by the extraordinary behaviour of a man who, on quitting the carriage in which he had travelled from the Metropolis, strode up and down the platform in an excited manner, quoted Burns and Shakespeare, and declared that he would see the Queen, adding in somewhat forcible language that “every brick in the Castle belonged to him.” As the Marquis of Salisbury, who had been visiting her Majesty, and others were to proceed to town by the next train, the man was promptly ejected from the station and taken into custody by the police. He was evidently a great believer in the efficacy of the Royal “touch,” as he urged that if he could only see the Queen, “she would be sure to cure his head.”

The Nottinghamshire Guardian, Saturday 9 December 1893

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Filed under On the Rails, Peculiar Behaviour, Royal Goings-on, Supernatural or Superstitious

The majority of ministers took no notice



The Rev. M. Baxter gave three addresses to fairly large audiences in the Exchange Hall, Blackburn, on Sunday on future history, as he expects it to be, according to the books of Daniel and Revelations. The rev. gentleman’s researches have led him to believe that the end of this age will be in Passover week, 1901. Before that time many stirring events are to happen. In 1892 will commence the greatest war ever known, and at its end next year will have ten kingdoms in Europe instead of twenty-three. These ten confederated kingdoms were typified in Daniel’s dream by a ten-horned beast. “About” 1893 Anti-Christ will appear in the person of a small king near Syria. He will become emperor of the ten kingdoms and then declare himself to be God. He will say that all


“And that is the way,” said the lecturer, “to get people to submit.” The rev. gentleman thinks that when a man comes with abundance of arrogance, insolence and impudence, he will always find many weak-minded people to believe in him. “We see it,” he says, “in the religious and political world every day.” The personality of Anti-Christ is worked out almost to a nicety. It appears in the Revelations that he must be a Napoleon, and as only two members of the Napoleon family have the military training necessary to the fulfilment of the role, Mr. Baxter has concluded that it must be either Prince Victor or Prince Louis Napoleon. After killing (by means of the guillotine) millions of Christians who refuse to worship him, the tyrant will perish at Armageddon on the 11th of April 1901. During this time in addition to the persecution of Anti-Christ we are to have


storms of hail and fire burning one-third of the trees and grass, and one-third of the sea turned into blood. The majority of ministers, it was explained, took no notice of these prophesies, and the lecturer admitted that still they might be forgiven and “might get to heaven after all,” but those who believed in the prophesies would be taken away from the wrath to come on the return of Christ to the earth on March 5th, 1896; to be precise, about three o’ clock in the afternoon of that day.

The Blackburn Standard and Weekly Express
Saturday 13 February 1892


Editor’s note:
I have it ‘pon good authority that the rev. gentleman died in 1910 leaving a fortune of 52,000l. I am in the wrong job (as if I were not already quite aware of that.) Ahem…


Will that do? Give me money.

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Filed under Supernatural or Superstitious

A writer who likes the word ‘extraordinary’



Inspector New, of West Hartlepool, the local officer for the S.P.C.C., has just now an extraordinary case in hand. Having occasion to-day to visit a family at Wingate, who are alleged to have been neglected, the Inspector found in the house, lying naked on the stone floor of the kitchen, an extraordinary human being, whose hands and feet are formed exactly like those of a frog. When told to get up the youth, who is said to be about 22 years of age, but looks only about 17, he jumped about the floor in a most extraordinary manner, his movements being exactly like those of the frog. He is known in the neighbourhood by the name of “Froggy,” but he rarely goes out of doors. The inspector found him in a most deplorable condition. He whined almost like a dog, and made other strange inhuman sounds with his mouth. Although his age places him beyond the reach of the Society, Inspector News expresses his intention of having the unfortunate youth removed to some place where he can be properly taken care of.

The North-Eastern Daily Gazette (Middlesbrough), Tuesday 1 November 1892

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Filed under Lusi Naturae