SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
IN HISTORY

1885.


Victorian One Penny.
12 pennies = 1 shilling.
20 shillings = 1 pound.

Criminal Law Amendment Act raised the age of legal sexual intercourse with girls from 12 to 16.

K Benz built first internal combustion engine car in Germany.

A further 2 acres were added to the New Skelton cemetery.

About 1500 people, mainly single men, emigrated to America from the Cleveland area around this time. The population had multiplied fivefold from 1871 to 1881 and yet the demand for ironstone had declined as the local ore competed with foreign imports with a richer iron content. The price per ton went down from 7 shillings and sixpence in 1873 to 3 shillings in 1879.

The mine owners had formed their own association and got the miners' wages linked to the price of pig iron on Tesside.

2nd January - THE WINTER'S TALE.
Joseph Winter, John Winter, Wiseman Bland and Harrison Winter, all of Skelton, were charged with assaulting Joseph Bosomworth at Guisborough on the 23rd December.
Secondly with assaulting PC George Dunville and PC Cook. Joseph with tearing PC Cook's uniform.

The defendants charged the police with assaulting them.
A disturbance took place near the Alms-houses, Guisborough amongst the Winter family. Some of them knocked at Bosomworth's door and said they wanted him to come out. Bosomworth, however, went out of the back door and brought back PC Dunville.
Joseph Winter, who was drunk, was then trying to get over the pallisading in front of Bosomworth's house. He had a stick, with which he was trying to smash the window, one pane of which had been broken.
PC Dunville pulled him back, whereupon Joseph Winter aimed a blow at the policeman, who closed with him and a struggle ensued during which old Winter fell with his head against the pallisading.
John Winter then attempted to rescue Joseph and PC Cook coming up a fight took place. PC Dunville drew his staff and struck 2 blows which knocked Joseph and John down.
Bosomworth said he was a game watcher to the trustees of Admiral Chaloner and lived in the school house close to the almshouses. He saw Bland strike PC Dunville, while all of the Winters assaulted him by striking and kicking.
PC Dunville said he was on the footpath near the Highland Laddie when Bosomworth came to seek him. He asked old Winter to desist from trying to break some more windows, but the old man aimed a blow at him with his stick.
He was just about to handcuff him when the other prisoners attacked. Bland hit him with an iron bar. John Winter hit his neck with his doubled fist and all the prisoners kicked him.
Joseph fell twice against the railings. He drew his staff and knocked Joseph and John down with it. After a severe struggle all the prisoners were taken into custody.
PC Cook said that when he got to the scene he found Joseph Winter mad drunk with a pair of handcuffs attached to his wrists and then he was attacked by the Winters. Joseph Winter tore his coat collar doing 7s 6d worth of damage.

A Truncheon that was actually used by the North Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary, bearing the letters VR for Queen Victoria.
Winter's split head was caused by such a weapon.

William Scaife, a tailor, said he saw the officers trying to handcuff Joseph, but it was all they could do to get them on, as Mrs Winter was trying to pull them off. The police asked him to assist. He took hold of Mrs Winter, who struck him in the face.
Dr H Messenger said he examined Joseph Winter at the Police Station. He was bleeding from the head and suffering from alcoholic mania.
He had 3 wounds on the back of the head, one of them being serious and 3 inches down to the bone. It was not likely to have been made with a staff. He thought the middle wound was made by a staff. Joseph was so violent he had to administer chloroform to stop the bleeding from his head.
Mr Skidmore for the defence said the police had assaulted the Winters. All the marks of violence were on the Winters. A most brutal assault had been committed on an old man and it was only natural that the sons should go to his assistance. He would prove that all the wounds on Joseph's head were caused by the officer's staff and further that some of his ribs were broken.
Another witness said he heard PC Dunville say to PC Cook to "stop Joseph Winter's wind."
For assaulting Bosomworth the younger Winters and Bland were fined one shilling and costs.
For assaulting PC Dunville they were fined 5s and costs.
Considering the ill usage old Joseph had received, he was let off with one shilling fine and costs and ordered to pay for the officer's damaged uniform.
The counter charges against the police were dismissed.
3rd January. - WIFE ASSAULT.
William Scilling, miner of Skelton, was charged with assaulting his wife, Elizabeth, after coming home drunk with another man. He had beaten his wife on several previous occasions. Case dismissed.

10th January - POLICE SERGEANT TESTIMONIAL.
After 17 years service in the Parish Police-Sergeant Robert Haw, was presented with a testimonial at a meeting in the Wharton Arms Hotel. As a token of the subscribers respect he was presented with a handsome timepiece supplied by Mr G King of Skelton and a purse of gold.

13th January - RENTS REDUCED BY HALF.
The half yearly rent audit of the Skelton Estate was held at the Wharton Arms Hotel.
Owing to the unprecedented depreciation of prices for farm produce the Squire had reduced rents by 50 percent and in recognition he was presented with an illuminated address in a gold frame from the farmers of the district:-
Martin and Charles Farndale of Kilton Hall, Matthew Young of Claphow, William Judson of Stankhouse, John Smith of Moorsholm Grange, William Raw of Red Hall, Henry Robinson of Howla Hay, Ralph Lynas of Cambank, Thomas Petch of Barns, Henry Atkinson of West Throstle, Robert W Stevenson of Trout Hall, William D Petch of East Pastures, Charlotte J Thompson of Boosbeck, Eli Wotton of Skate Beck.

17th January. WIFE DESERTION.
William Scilling was charged with deserting his wife at Skelton, whereby she became a charge to the Guisborough Union Workhouse. They had been married for 13 years.

21st January. - SCALDED TO DEATH.
"Charles Senior Lowe of Skelton, aged 2, was accidentaly scalded early on Saturday morning at Skelton and died in the evening from the effects of the accident. The deceased's parents were upstairs and deceased, his brother aged 11 and his sister were left in the kitchen and it appears that deceased had gone to the kettle which was standing on the hob and had drunk some hot water out of the spout. The boy began to cry and this brought his parents downstairs. They found him severely scalded about the mouth and at once sent for Dr Dunn. The child died after lingering 14 hours."

27th January - DRUNK ROLLEY DRIVER.
George Lewis was charged with being drunk in charge of a horse and rolley at Skelton on the 16th and fined 1 8s 6d including costs.

2nd February - FREE TRAIN TRAVEL.
Adelaide Wiscoff, aged 18, of North Skelton was charged for travelling between Boosbeck and Saltburn without a ticket on New Years Day. She was fined 12s including costs or 14 days imprisonment. She has previously been convicted. Her father said he would not appear and neither would he pay for the girl.

11th February - POACHED HARE AND 14 RABBITS.
Mark Mills, James Smith, Jesse Boucher and Charles Maize were charged with poaching at Skelton. Sgt Imeson and PCs Calvert and Brough apprehended them with 1 hare, 14 rabbits, 320 yards of netting and several heavy cudgels. Mills fined 1 or 1 months hard labour and the others 2 or 2 months prison.

21st February - GALE DAMAGE.
The gale that occurred on this day has done considerable damage in the district. The usual service in the Albert Hall [Skelton Green] could not be held on Sunday night. The place is nearly a wreck. The Wharton Arms Hotel had one or two windows blown in and its roof damaged. The wind was remarkably strong for 3 or 4 hours.

24th February - EMBEZZLER.
A warrant was issued for the apprehension of George Williams, who had absconded. He was a check weigher for the miners at Skelton Old Shaft Mine and local secretary of the Miners Union.
He was wanted on a charge of embezzling 30 1s 8d from the Northumberland and Durham Miners Relief Fund.

25th February - DRUNK AND RIOTOUS.
William Hudson, a miner, was fined 18s 6d and Addison Lightbourne, who did not appear, 24s, for being drunk and riotous at Skelton Green on the 18th.

2nd March - FOOTBALL.
A match played on Saturday between Boys of Skelton Green v Skelton Church Choir resulted slightly in favour of the choir boys.


3rd March - MURDEROUS WIFE ASSAULT.
William Carr, a tall powerful miner, was charged with assaulting his wife, Jane, at New Skelton with intent to commit grievous bodily harm on the 28th February.
Mrs Carr states that on Saturday her husband came home the worse for drink He refused to give her any wages and said he was going out on a spree.
As she and her children had had nothing to eat, she followed him and found 2 police trying to induce him to return home.
On seeing her, he said:- "I will not give you a ********* halfpenny, but I'll knock your ******* head off."
When he got home he accused her of having given him in charge of the police and following up his words he knocked her down and struck her on the head with a lading can.
He took her child out of her arms and went into the back street and began abusing the boy. She went to rescue it.
Afterwards she went into the front room of the house and her husband came in and pulled down the blinds.
He then struck and kicked her until she became insensible.
Sarah Watson, the wife of W Watson, shopkeeper, said the prisoner came in to pay an account. He said he was going to the Police Station as his wife was dead. He said she had tumbled.
She went into the house and found Mrs Carr lying on the floor unconscious, foaming at the mouth and she remained in this condition for an hour.
Dr Dunn said she was suffering from severe shock due to a kick in the abdomen.
The Bench considered the case in private. Squire Wharton said there was no evidence of any intent to commit grievous bodily harm but the case was a bad one. Prisoner was committed to prison for 2 months with hard labour.

17th March - HALF WITTED RUM DRINKER.
A half witted man named Robert Thompson was charged with being drunk and disorderly at Skelton on the 16th. One of his sisters said that he had an income and when he got it he spent it in drinking rum until he went mad. Fined 16s including costs.

18th March - ILLICIT BOOZE.
J F Wilson, who holds an "off" beer license at New Skelton was charged with a breach of the Licensing Act on the 8th. Sergeant Imeson said that on that date about 7.30 p.m, he, in company with PC Calvert, concealed themselves in a water-closet opposite the defendant's house. They witnessed 3 men enter about 9.30 and 3 more about an hour after. About 12.30 Mr Wilson came out of the house and went a short distance down the street looking about. The police then climbed over the wall and entered the house, where they found the 6 men, who were all under the influence of drink. Supt Clarkson said there had been many complaints about the way in which the house was conducted. Fined 5 and costs or 2 months imprisonment.

20th March - SKELTON GREEN SCHOOL PLANNED.
The question of providing additional school accommodation in the neighbourhood of Skelton Green was brought before the School Board by Mr S R Wilson, HM Inspector, who directed the attention of the Board to the overcrowding at the Stanghow Lane Schools and recommended that a mixed school should be built on Skelton Green to accommodate 200 children, who should be taught to Standard II.

21st March - SWINDLER CHARGED.
At Manchester yesterday, John Hawkins, a surveyor of Ebury Street, London was remanded on several charges of fraud. One of these alleged that he obtained sums of money from Mr Wharton of Skelton Castle by representing himself as a relative.

27th March - CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY AT SKELTON.
FIRE AND SMOKE AND *&+**&* FREEZING.
In connection with the Cambridge University Scheme, Professor Laurie concluded his course of lectures on "Fire and Smoke" on Wednesday evening at Skelton.
The average attendance during the lectures has been 240 out of 288 on the books. Professor Roberts also attended and gave a lucid explanation of the workings of the scheme.
On Thursday next Professor Laurie will deliver a lecture on "The Sun" in aid of the Free Library, which contains over 1,000 volumes.
"Come and hear one of these lecures", said a friend to me the other night.
We soon found ourselves in the Drill Hall, Skelton
[the Wharton Hall, bottom of Green Road.]
The place had a sort of broken-down conventicle interior and was remarkably cold. The audience was mixed.
The background and greater part of those present were miners, looking stout and strong, as though their daily toil had not taken all their manhood from them.
The were very attentive to the lecturer and not a few of them were taking notes. Ladies were there, some of whom from their nonchalant appearance, seemed to be either in the sewing or scholastic trade.
They did not take notes in writing; perhaps they knew all about the subject, but, they did take notice of the delicate young men, who were improving their time, by an extensive use of their tablets and they also took notice now and then of some of the more stalwart and prepossessing of the young miners.
The platform was a rough one, strong enough and the demonstration table was of plain deal. A blackboard on an easel formed the background.
On the table were a few tubes and bottles, a portable stove, some glasses, a jug and underneath the table a pail of water.
The lecturer was remarkably clear and distinct and used the simplest language, so that everyone was able to understand what he meant.
I should think there would be nearly 200 present and there was every facility given for asking questions upon the subject matter.
A successful experiment was applauded loudly, among the most wonderful to the men being the burning of hydrogen gas, the inflating of a balloon, the burning of magnesium etc
A laugh was raised when the lecturer, in showing wood burning in pure oxygen, set fire to his tube. This laugh was turned to great applause at the sang froid of Mr Laurie, who coolly put his tube in the bucket of water and said the india rubber also burned well in oxygen.
When the lecture was finished, the men lit their pipes, had a quiet growl [the innate privilege of free born Britons] at the coldness of the room and went home.


31st March - MINERS' HOSPITAL.
Representatives from Park Pit, Boosbeck, South and North Skelton with Mr Joseph Toyn, the miners'agent met Mr J T Wharton and Mrs Wharton at the Drill Hall Skelton to discuss the question of supporting the Miners Hospital that has recently been opened at Skelton Green.
It is a neat little building with 4 beds available and room for another two. It cost 592 0s 1d to build and 181 13s 7d to furnish.
The Squire has presented a cheque for the amount and all subscriptions from mineowners and others have been brought forward for the current year.
A large number of men in the Skelton District are desirous of commencing at once to contribute a weekly sum to supporting the Hospital and there is a strong feeling that the 3 Hospitals at Guisborough, Skelton and Brotton should be worked out of one fund.

14th April - SHUT THE PUBS.
At the School Board meeting it was proposed by Mr Charlton and seconded by Mr Milligan to sign a petition to Parliament praying that all Public houses should be closed on Sundays throughout England.

18th April - VOLUNTEERS CONCERT.
The fourth and most brilliant and successful of these Concerts ever held in the Assembly Rooms came off on Tuesday evening.
The members of the Corps were present in uniform. The selection of songs was both choice and varied, ranging from the pathetic to the comic and the efforts of the singers were highly appreciated.
The concert concluded with a most laughable farce entitled "Borrowed Plums" and was rendered with great success.
Mr R Bell presided at the piano. The entertainment closed with the National Anthem.


18th April - QUOITS.
An amateur quoit club has been formed at Skelton, called the Skelton Zoedone Quoit Club. It practices behind the Wharton Arms Hotel.

24th April - SUED FOR DEBT.
John Oakley, of High Street, Skelton, was sued by Robert Ward, a grocer of Skelton, for 1 5s 11d for groceries supplied. Oakley admitted the debt, but said that he could not pay.
Registrar - "What are you ?"
Oakley - "I am anything that anybody likes to call me."
Registrar - "A good all rounder eh ?"
Robert Ward - "He is a tinner, Sir."
Registrar - "Are you a tinner ?"
Oakley - "Why , we keep a kind of a sort of a greengrocer's shop or rather a "sucky" shop. I am willing to do anything I can get."
Registrar - "But, you are a tinner as well ?"
Oakley - "Well I do a little matter in that way when I have a chance."
Ordered to pay the debt at 4 shillings per month.

April - NEW GUNS FOR THE VOLUNTEERS.
The Skelton G Company of the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment have been supplied with the new Martini-Henri Rifles. Some excellent shooting took place at the Company's range. [Park Pit. By the time of the First War they used the Lee Enfield with magazine of ten rounds.]

12th May - KNIFE ASSAULT ON PC.
John Smith, a miner of North Skelton was charged with assaulting PC Calvert with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.
The Officer said that he was going down Richard St, North Skelton when he came upon defendant drunk and causing a disturbance.
He advised him to go home, whereupon Smith drew a pocket knife and opening the blade made a rush at him. He eluded the blow and knocked Smith down with his truncheon. Defendant made another lunge at him and cut the constable's right hand.
Henry Mason and Robert Blackie gave similar evidence.
Defendant said he was drunk and did not know what he was doing. Case reduced to common assault and fined 1 10s including costs or 1 months hard labour.
Defendant said he would be a teetotaller all his life after this and would not get into any more scrapes.

16th May. - SKELTON GREEN SCHOOL.
A letter from Mr E B Hamilton was read offering a site upon which to build the new school at Skelton Green for the sum of 38 and the plans were passed.
The question of securing the services of a police constable to assist in getting the children to school came up and it was resolved to write to the Chief Constable.
The Board decided that Sergeant-Instructor Treen of the Volunteers should drill the boys for 4 months.

25th June - TORY BASHING.
Last evening a meeting was held in the large room of the Wharton Arms, Skelton to hear an address to his constituents from the Hon Guy C Dawnay, MP.
A brass band preceded the speakers to the venue playing "Auld Lang Syne".
Mr Dawnay had been the MP for the old North Riding of Yorkshire constituency since 1882 and this had always been held by the Conservatives. He was a Soldier and held a Government office for Military supplies. Recent Liberal legislation had redistributed the seats and extended the franchise. Now the constituency was Cleveland and many of the workers could vote for the first time.
The Conservatives had opposed the Franchise Bill and hence the MP was given a rough time at the meeting. He suffered many hisses, interruptions and cheers for Liberal names.
At one point he said that one reason he opposed the Franchise Bill was that he did not consider individuals who came to political meeting and interrupted like that when their member came down to address them upon a crisis like the present were fit to have the vote.
[Mr Dawnay lost the election and died aged 40 in 1889.]

15th July - ALLEGED CRUELTY TO A CHILD.
Yesterday afternoon before the Guisborough Bench, Mr A E Pease in the chair, Miss J Tallantyre, schoolmistress of one of the Stanghow Lane girls Schools, was charged by M A Newton with assaulting his child, Dorothy Ann on the 29th ult.
Mr Kindler of Stockton, solicitor for the Teacher's Association, defended.
Mrs Newton stated that on the day in question her child came from school between twelve and one o'clock. She ran across the yard crying, saying that Miss Tallantyre had thrashed her back.
She stripped the child and found her back covered with weals. She called her husband's attention to it and he took the child to Dr Dunn, who examined the child's back and found 19 marks on arms and back, in some of which the blood was drawn into the top skin.
A witness named Jos Freeman said he saw the child on the day in question. He did not think it was possible for a woman to inflict such punishment.
By Mr Kindler: The child's back was marked all over. He could not say there were 20 marks, but there might have been. The marks were black, blue and red, as if the blood was coming through.
Newton.
Miss Tallantyre caned the child on the back but not severely. When calling the roll Dorothy refused to answer to her name and the mistress again punished her, but not severely.
Two other witnesses gave corroborative evidence. Dr Dunn, Skelton, said he examined the girl and found bruises on her arms and back as if she had been caned. The skin was bruised but not broken. The child was not disabled. The marks were black.
By the Bench: There were eighteen marks which represent nine or ten blows. The weals were black in each case. The weals were not raised when he saw them.
The Magistrates retired and on coming into Court the Chairman remarked that they had decided to dismiss the case.
It was a pity, he added, that the School Board could not invent some other kind of punishment that was not corporal.

15th July. - QUOITS CHALLENGE CUP.
The North of England Quoit Association held its annual competition at Eston Cricket Ground. 4 splendid "ends" eleven yards had been prepared.
The draw was Middlesbrough Erimus v Whitby, Hartlepool Raglan v Durham City, Middlesbrough Ayresome v Eston [holders] and Skelton v Darlington.

7th August - GARDEN COMPETITION.
The following awards were made in connection with the recent garden competition on the Skelton Estate:-
North Skelton. [41 gardens] 1. John Dawson. 2. Alfred Brighton. 3. Robert Carver. Commended William Radford and C Bowgen.
New Skelton. [28 gardens] 1. David Grainger. 2. William Clark. 3. Mayhew and Lundy. Commended R Pennock.
Skelton High Street. [21 gardens] 1. Charles Clark. 2. William Brown. 3. T Wilkinson.
Back Lane. [88 gardens] 1. Matthew Burt. 2. Robert Slater. 3. George Kidd. Commended George Beaumont.

South Skelton Mine.
10th August - MINERS LAID OFF.
The South Skelton Mine, [Vaughan's Pit] was closed on Saturday last and whole of the employees, except caretakers, paid off. About 150 men and boys are now without employment. Several reasons are assigned for the closure, one being that the raw material can be purchases at Eston at a cheaper rate than that at which the Company can obtain it.

14th August - OVER BAWDY RIBALDRY.
The letter of "Alpha" on the proceedings at a recent dinner at Skelton is justly severe, but the great length of it prevents its insertion - in short the ribaldry sung on the occasion is unworthy of being quoted in a Newspaper.

15th August - MINE DISPUTE.
153 miners at South Skelton had been given a fortnight's notice owing it was said to the bad state of trade in the industry, but on the expiry of the period non-union men were engaged at a reduction of wages from 10 to 15 percent.
A mass meeting was told by Mr Toyn that they would be backed by the Miners Association and bills had been sent throughout the district telling miners to boycott South Skelton until the dispute was settled.


18th August - DRUNK VET.
William George Barker, veterinary surgeon, was charged with being drunk whilst in charge of a horse at Skelton on the 30th.
Major Rudd, Chairman of the Bench - "We have before us a list of 10 previous convictions against you. What have you to say to that ?"
Defendant, - "Too ridiculous, Sir." [Laughter].
Fined 21 shillings including costs.

20th August - SWINE FEVER.
Superintendent Clarkson has reported to the Guisborough Magistrates an outbreak of swine fever in a garden opposite Bolckow Street, North Skelton. Report is confirmed and the place declared an infected area.

22nd August - MINER SUED FOR DOCTOR'S SUBS.
At the Guisbrough County Court before Judge Turner, G S Newton of Skelton Green was sued by Dr Shand of Guisbrough for the sum of 2 5s 6d, being the amount withheld by him in collecting doctor's subscriptions from the men employed at Park Mines.
From the evidence, it appeared that defendant had been applied to for the money, but on each occasion had asked to be allowed to keep a certain amount in hand to be used as change.
At the end of September of last year, however, he left his situation at the mines, and on his books being given up, it was found that several leaves, on which were accounted subscriptions, had been torn out, and defendant denied having received the money.
In giving an order for the full amount, His Honour told defendant it was lucky he had been brought to the County Court and not charged with a more serious offence.

24th August - BOOSBECK AND SKELTON SHOW.
The 8th annual show and sports of the Boosbeck, Skelton and District Horticultural, Industrial
and Athletic Society was held at Boosbeck on Saturday, it being estimated that there were more than 5,000 people on the ground during the afternoon.

5th September - SKELTON AND BROTTON LOCAL BOARD.
It was resolved that the Clerk be instructed to draw up a memorial for signature praying the Post Office authorities to grant an afternoon delivery at Brotton and Skelton.
GAS LAMPS. A letter was read from the Skinningrove Gas Company offering to light the lamps from the 1st September to the 30th April for the sum of 2 7s 6d [2 35.5p] per lamp.
Mr Calow:- That is 3s 6d per lamp more than Brotton.
The Clerk explained that the extra cost was in consequence of the great outlay incurred in bringing the gas to Skelton. It was resolved to ask the Gas Company to erect additional lamps in the public streets at New Skelton.
The question of the pollution of Saltburn Beck again came up for consideration.
The Clerk was instructed to inform the Saltburn Local Board that the Skelton and Brotton Board do not admit any liability on their part, to keep the course of the beck at Saltburn open and to ascertain who is responsible for the formation of an artificial lake or pool at Saltburn which prevents the free course of the water at the point named.

8th September - DID NOT VOLUNTEER UNIFORM.
Daniel Collingwood, a Private in the 1st North York Rifle Volunteers of Skelton, was charged with neglecting to conform with regulations of the Army in not returning a portion of his uniform after being discharges from the service. Prisoner admitted his guilt, but as there was no dishonest intent only costs were paid.

23 September - ILLEGAL BOOZING.
Five men named Joseph Hollingworth, Josepth Boynton, John Wilkins, Flagg King and William Herring as well as Mrs King were charged with being on licensed premises during prohibited hours. Sgt Imeson said he visitied the New Inn, Skelton Green, on Sunday and found the whole of the defendants seated with drink before them. Case against King and wife dismissed. Herring fined 5s and costs and the rest 2s 6d.

28th September - ELECTION.
Mr Henry Fell Pease, the Liberal candidate had to address a crowd of electors packed to the doors at the Drill Hall Skelton as heavy and persistent rain caused the planned meeting on the Cross Green to be adjourned.

28th Sep. - GROCER AND DRAPER BANKRUPT.
A Second and Final Dividend of Is. in the pound has been declared in the matter of a special resolution for liquidation by arrangement of the affairs of Robert Thompson Barker, late of Skelton-in-Cleveland, but now of No. 71, Russell-street, Middlesborough, in the county o York, Grocer and Draper, and will be paid by me, at the offices of the South Durham and North Yorkshire Wholesale Traders' Association Limited, No. 134, High-street, Stockton-on-Tees, in the county of Durham, any Wednesday or Saturday, between the hours of nine and one.....

29th September - DRUNK.
William Seamen and E Frost were each fined 5 shillings and costs for being drunk at Skelton on the 19th.

2nd October. - WHO CAN VOTE ?
The Reform Act of 1832 had given the vote to middle-class householders in the towns; the Reform Act of 1867 had extended the franchise effectively to all householders in the towns.
In 1884 William Gladstone's Liberal government, with great opposition in the House of Lords, brought in a Franchise Act which extended the vote to male householders with 12 months continual residence in the counties.
About 6 million males were added to the total who could vote in parliamentary elections nationwide.

Henry Fell Pease MP.
28 April 1838 to 7 December 1896.
Liberal MP for Cleveland 1885 to 1896.
Coal and ironstone mine owner. Director of the Tees Valley Railway. Twice Lord Mayor of Darlington.

About 40% of males and all females were still excluded.
The making of various qualification rules resulted in local revision meetings where the parties could object to certain people being on the electoral lists.
In the Cleveland Division the Liberals had 496 successful claims and the Conservatives 199.
The extension of the franchise made great changes to voting numbers in the Cleveland area. Prior to the Act only 267 males could vote in Skelton and this was now increased to 1,645.
Similarly, total voters in the Cleveland Division rose from 4,392 to 11,826.
With an election coming, local feeling was that "this augurs well for the triumphant return of the Liberal candidate, Mr H Fell Pease.

17th October - LAMB PRICE CHOP.
We learn that Mr J T Wharton and several farmers in the Skelton district have in consequence of the high prices charged by the butchers, commenced to kill and sell their own mutton.
The farmers are charging about 6d per lb, which is said to be considerably more than the butchers are inclined to pay them, although the latter charge the consumer from 8d to 10d per lb.

11th November - BURGLARY.
At the York Assizes Charles Shaw, aged 19, a labourer was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment for burglary in the dwelling house of George Fawcett of Skelton on May 20th 1885.

24th November - GENERAL ELECTION.
This was the first election after the extension of the franchise and the Redistribution of Seats Act.
The old constituency of the North Riding which had sent 2 members to Parliament was divided and created the new constituency of Cleveland of which Skelton was a part.
William Gladstone's Liberals won the most seats with 352, with Lord Salisbury's Conservatives holding 237. The Irish Nationalists held the balance of power with 63.
The Irish question eventually led to a split in the Liberal Party and another Election in July 1986.
The Cleveland Division was won by the Liberal, Henry Fell Pease, who held the seat until his death on the 7th December 1896. Although he was a mine-owner, it was felt locally that the Liberals represented the interests of the miners more than the Conservative landed gentry. Mr H F Pease, Liberal, 6,948 - Hon Guy Dawnay, Conservative, 2,845.

People who believed that they qualified to vote at General and Board Elections had to fill in the following form.
[Whatever its democratic omissions, the system resulted, generally, in responsible people, who were obliged to contribute to the common fund, electing responsible representatives. Members of the Local Boards were usually mine managers and their like, who were used to decision making and good governance of finances etc. Sadly the same does not apply today.]


25th November - FREE SECRET VOTE.
Mr J T Wharton of Skelton Castle sent a circular "to the tenants and workpeople on my Cleveland and Gilling estates."
"In a few days you will be called upon to exercise a privilege many of you have not hitherto enjoyed, in the election of a member of Parliament for your respective divisions of the North Riding.
It is my most particular wish that each of you will give your vote for the candidate whose political principles you individually prefer. Do not be too much led one way or the other because some neighbour or friend says you must vote for one or the other candidate.
Remember that the ballot is secret. Owing to my inability to hear what is said at public meetings and because I do not wish to take any part that might lead you to suppose I wished you to vote for a particular candidate, I have abstained from attending any meetings in the furtherance of the interest of either candidate."
[This was very considerate of him. He still clearly recognised the long-held power that the landed gentry still wielded over their tenants, but what a transformation from the previous Squire, who had spent the Wharton's fortune bribing the electorate in Beverley earlier in the century.]

22nd December - BAD ATTENDERS.
Ada White was charged at the instance of the Skelton School Board with non-compliance with the Education Act in not sending her son, Joseph, to school. He had attended 18 out of a possible 122 times. Fined 5s.
John Drake, John Williams, R Busby, G T White, and Mary A Benson were all fined 2s 6d for a similar offence.

30th December - RAPE.
Richard Cost, alias Richard Smith, was charged with committing a rape on a girl named Julia Helen Westcott, aged 14 on Saturday last.
The accused was married to Julia's sister and lived at Redheugh Colliery. Julia lived with her parents at Skelton in Cleveland. On his return from a visit to Skelton the defendant asked the girl's father if she could accompany him back to see her sister.
They left Boosbeck Station and arrived at Gateshead at 8 in the evening. In the train the accused made indecent remarks to the girl and when they got out he took her over Redheugh Bridge, along by the Rabbit Banks, to a very lonely place.
There he took a parcel and a rabbit from Julia, assaulted her and committed the offence.
He left her and 2 railway police constables found her on the road crying. Accused was found at his house with the items he had taken. Committed for trial.


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