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The Citizen 37 - Page 7


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New Mayor takes Office

Councillor Margaret Sidebottom is the new Mayor of Tameside - she was installed at the Annual Ceremonial Meeting of the Council last month.

Cllr Sidebottom, 56, who represents Ashton St Michael's Ward, was elected to Tameside Council in May 1999. Her Consort will be her husband Colin.

Born in Glasgow, Cllr Sidebottom was brought up in Hurst Cross where she still lives. She went to Hurst Infants and Hurst Methodist School. A full-time councillor and Cabinet Secretary for Lifelong Learning and Co-ordination Services, she is a member of a variety of committees, a member of the General Assembly of Manchester University and a governor at Tameside College.

Cllr Sidebottom said: "I am looking forward to working with as many voluntary and community groups as possible - particularly with youth groups, local businesses and churches."Civic Mayor Cllr Margaret Sidebottom with her consort an husband Colin

Cllr Sidebottom, mother of four daughters and two stepchildren, enjoys spending time with her eight grandchildren. She also enjoys swimming, crosswords, reading, sketching and painting.

Cllr Mike Smith and his wife were installed as Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Tameside for a further year.

Panels hold Council to Account

Taking a detailed look at the policies of Tameside Council and how those policies are put into practice is a key role for non executive councillors.

Members of the four Scrutiny Panels review council policies, help develop policies, scrutinise external organisations - in particular local NHS Trusts - and hold the Executive to account.

Scrutiny panels meet in public at least once a month, usually at the council offices in Ashton. They comprise non executive councillors, some co-opted members and people with relevant experience or knowledge.

Scrutiny panels each decide their own annual work programme, devised following extensive consultation and include suggestions from members of the public.

In carrying out scrutiny exercises, members of scrutiny panels go out and informally visit people who carry out services or can provide information, as well as interviewing people in formal meetings. They also carry out extensive research and innovative consultation exercises that help inform their reports which they present to full council.

Medals Haul for Pupils

Image of Year 11 pupil Stephen Godwin clearing the bar in the high jumpPupils from Samuel Laycock School in Stalybridge have returned from the Greater Manchester Athletics Championships with a haul of medals.

The school caters for children aged 11-16 with moderate learning difficulties and physical disabilities.

The event was organised by Greater Sport, the umbrella organisation for disability sport in Greater Manchester. Categories catered for competitors with disabilities including visual impairment or cerebral palsy, while other events were for children with moderate learning difficulties.

Image of Anthony Hopkins with one of his gold medalsSamuel Laycock entered competitors in most events and were rewarded with 50 medals out of 220 on offer. Year 10 pupil Anthony Hopkins did particularly well, winning three gold medals and one silver.

Sports teacher Ernie Greenwood said: "I'm really proud of our pupils. They trained hard for the championships and put up a great show."

Tameside Citizen

Image of Leesa MellonSixteen-year-old Leesa Mellon from Hyde has been chosen as a Citizen because of her dedication to volunteering in sport, and helping others achieve their goals.

Leesa started volunteering at the age of 13 and has since been involved in coaching a range of sports including cricket, hockey, basketball and football at holiday camps and multi-sports camps run by Tameside Council's Sports Development Unit.

So far she has completed over 1300 hours of volunteering, helping out at Tameside Sports Development, her school, local clubs, Stalybridge Celtic FC and Hyde Cricket and Squash club.

Leesa won the title of "Volunteer of the Year" in the Tameside Sports Awards in 2005 and then went on to be nominated for the Greater Manchester Sports Awards in March where she went on to beat young people from nine other boroughs to be crowned "Volunteer of the Year" for the second time.

Future plans for Leesa include acting as Assistant Team Manager at the Greater Manchester Youth Games in June, a competition in which Leesa herself took part in. Leesa also plans to take further coaching qualifications and hopefully to go to university and become a PE teacher at a secondary school.

Leesa told us: "When I won the Tameside award and was put forward for Greater Manchester, I never actually thought I would win! Volunteering is a great way of giving something back and I really enjoy it.

"I hope that more and more people will get involved in volunteering in sport, as you get loads out of it. I am so pleased to have won the award and it has inspired me to keep going with all the voluntary work that I do."

Hyde Bus Station

Past and PresentThe first known picture of Hyde was taken in 1902 and was of a Coronation Parade and Whit walk, which was followed by a street party to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII which took place on August 9, 1902.

Edward succeeded to the throne upon Victoria's death in 1901, the original Coronation date being set for June 26, 1902, but, due to illness, it was postponed until August, 1902.

The building behind the parade (on the left hand side of the picture) is the site on which the modern day Hyde Bus station is now situated. Image of Hyde Bus Station in 1902

The second picture is of the £3.7m new-look Hyde bus station, with its space-age design and ultra modern interior.

The building comprises of a walk-in travel shop, retail outlet, supervisor's office and public toilets. There are also state-of-the-art security systems, such as CCTV, bright lighting, anti-graffiti paint and clearly defined crossing points.

Local children also had an input, by working with a professional artist to create stained glass windows to depict local landmarks.

Image of Hyde Bus Station in 2006 There has also been a new taxi-rank, part funded by Hyde District Assembly, which includes a sheltered waiting area.

Discover Tameside's Heritage

The Citizen uncovers grizzly tales that led some Tamesiders to their deaths.

Image of Albert Pierrepoint The last hangman... Harry Allen

The release of the film "The Last Hangman", about the life of Albert Pierrepoint, has renewed interest in a public office which was held by a remarkable number of men from the Manchester area.

Pierrepoint, although originally a Yorkshireman, spent many years in Failsworth and was licensee of the bizarrely named 'Help the Poor Struggler' pub. John Ellis came from Rochdale and Robert Wilson was from Manchester.

However, Pierrepoint was not the last hangman. He relinquished the position, which had also been held by his father and grandfather, in 1956 having taken it in 1932. The post of last hangman was jointly held by Robert Stewart of Chadderton and Harry Allen of Ashton, and they each officiated at the last hangings in England, in August, 1964.

Peter Anthony Allen and Gwynne Owen Evans (also known as John Robson Welby) were sentenced to death for the murder of John Alan West in Workington. Stewart hanged Peter Allen at Walton Prison, Liverpool, while Harry Allen hanged Gwynne Evans at Strangeways.

Harry Allen was born in Oaken Clough, Waterloo, in 1911 and attended St Anne's RC School on Burlington Street, Ashton. He originally worked in the transport department at Park Bridge Iron Works but later became a bus driver for Ashton Corporation - a post he held after becoming an assistant hangman in 1941. For part of the time he was living on Waterloo Street, off Kings Road, Ashton.

After officiating at his first execution, probably that of John Smith at Wandsworth, he is reputed to have said: "I was very much relieved. It wasn't half so gruesome as I expected."

Image of Derek Bentley, one of Pierrepoint's hanging victimsAmong the high-profile hangings at which he was involved were Derek Bentley, in 1953, and Peter Manuel, in 1958. He also hanged several EOKA fighters in Cyprus. It is said he always wore a waistcoat, bowler hat and bow tie.

Allen rarely talked about his hangman's duties at the bus depot, where colleagues would only realise he was on official business when he failed to turn up for work. Yet, despite the grisly nature of his second job, Allen was popular among workmates and known as a nice chap and a good driver. He later moved to the Bolton area, where he became a licensee, and then retired to Fleetwood where he died in August, 1992, only a few weeks after Albert Pierrepoint.

Although Pierrepoint did not live in Tameside, he was often in Ashton and was a regular drinker in the Caledonia on Warrington Street.

Image of the Caledonia Pub - a regular haunt of Albert PierrepointHargreaves' tale

Few murders in Tameside have resulted in hangings. During the 20th century only three people were sent to the gallows, the first being James Hargreaves, who was found guilty of battering to death his girlfriend, Caroline McGhee, at 9 Orange Street, Ashton - a tiny street off Wellington Road.

Caroline McGhee had left her husband in early 1914, and after a year or so living with her mother moved in with Hargreaves.

On August 8, 1916, she spent the afternoon drinking with a friend, Lily Armitage. They first went to the Nelson Tavern, Wellington Road, and then to the Commercial, Old Street. There, they were joined by two soldiers - Edward Uttley and William Sumner - and later went back to Hargreaves's house with the servicemen and a bottle of whisky. Hargreaves was civil to both soldiers and even shook hands with Uttley.

When Hargreaves' sister, Savinha Caroline Hindley, awoke early the next morning, she found her brother was already up. He was clearly distressed but she encountered nothing out of the ordinary. However, in the afternoon, Hargreaves approached Constable Robert Wilson in Katherine Street and said to him: "Oh Bob, what must I do? I've murdered a woman at our house."

The officer found Caroline McGhee in Hargreaves's bed, clad only in her underwear, and with a massive wound to the back of her head. A bloodstained poker was on the floor. Hargreaves made a full confession and was sentenced to death by Mr Justice Avory in Manchester.

The hanging of James Ellor

In the next hanging case, which occurred in Hyde in March, 1920, James Ellor was found guilty of murdering his wife, Ada, at 8 Travis Street.

The couple had married in 1907. James joined up in 1914 and he served with the Cheshire Regiment and the Shropshire Light Infantry. He saw action and was gassed and wounded.

In March, 1918, while Ada was expecting a child, she received a letter from her husband saying that he had fallen in love with another woman, who was also pregnant. However, a few days later, a new letter arrived, telling her to ignore the previous one. James said he had not written the first letter and asked Ada to destroy it.

After returning home from the war, James began to drink heavily and by 1920 Ada could no longer cope. On March 25 she moved to Travis Street and took out a summons against him for cruelty. Yet the next day, James met Harry Forbes, Ada's son from her first marriage, and was so pleasant and apologetic that Harry told James where Ada was staying. At 10.30 that morning, Harry saw James on his knees at Travis Street, begging Ada for forgiveness.

However, at 3.30pm, James approached Constable Evan Hughes in Market Street and told him he had murdered his wife. He was taken to the Corporation Street station, but on his way there stopped at a stall and casually bought some mint drops, telling stallholder George Key: "I've done a murder."

In court, James quoted his war record and said that he had lost his temper after Ada told him to put his head on the railway line. He said he picked up a hammer and killed her. The jury was unimpressed, as they were with his claims that he heard voices - a ruse he shared with a cellmate who then informed the authorities.

Image of the site where the Prince of Wales Hotel was locatedJames Ellor was hanged at Liverpool on August 11, 1920.

Last man to the gallows

The final Tameside execution was that of James Corbitt, who killed his girlfriend Eliza Wood at the Prince of Wales Hotel, 177 Stamford Street, Ashton, thus giving it the nickname the Strangler's Arms.

Corbitt and Eliza, who had had a stormy relationship, booked a room at the pub on August 19, 1950, and just after midnight the licensee, Alfred Egan, heard a loud bump. He went to investigate but Corbitt told him he had fallen out of bed.

The following morning, Corbitt left and it was the cleaner who found the naked body of Eliza Wood. Corbitt told the police he had no idea why he had killed Eliza, but his diary showed he had been planning the murder for several months because he believed she was seeing another man.

Ironically, Corbitt was a friend of the man who executed him, Albert Pierrepoint. The two often sang together in Oldham pubs and called each other Tish and Tosh. Pierrepoint greeted Corbitt as such before leading him to the gallows.

Mary Anne confesses

A 19th century murder which resulted in the sentence of death being carried out was the killing of Thomas and Elizabeth Britland in Ashton in 1886.

They died in mysterious circumstances - until Mary Anne Britland confessed to poisoning her husband and daughter. She said she wanted to marry another man, the husband of Mary Dixon, whom she also murdered.

The sequence of events was that Mary Ann first poisoned her daughter, Elizabeth, because she believed that she suspected her intentions. She then killed her husband, and finally Mary Dixon, who had pitied her and given her shelter. Yet, Mary's husband had never shown any interest in Britland.

Mary Britland, who was 39, was hanged at Strangeways on August 9, 1886.

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Page last updated: 6 August 2015