Stockton and Barton family history in Manchester 1893

As described by Jerome Caminada 1895




This is posted on the web in 2007 by the grandson of Herbert Stockton 1893. It is old family history and has no current political significance. If it causes any problems it will be removed from the site.




When in my sixties, I became aware of Mr Caminada's 1895 book and was shown a foto-copy of the chapter concerning the family. It took a while for me to obtain a copy of the book and a confusing factor is that a 1983 edition was published but it is not complete.


On the basis that it might be of historical interest to family members, and on the assumption that it is now well out of copyright, I scanned it and decided to put it on the web. A bit of analysis seemed necessary as this single page is out of context: Mr Caminada seems to have been a very shrewd man.




This web page extracts the people named in Mr Caminada's book and adds the few bits of information that have come down to me from 114 years ago.


It gives a small analysis of the events and refers the reader to the original 1895 book, or the 1983 edition, for more background to the conditions of life, the police force and the conditions in prisons at that time.


It briefly explains what some of the men involved did afterwards.


Be aware that 1895 is before the Russian revolution, before the foundation of the Labour Party and before radio and television. Some of the terms used at that date could not have had the same meaning as those terms today.


It puts a copy of the chapter dealing with family matters in Annex A.


Reference work


Twenty five years of detective life by Jerome Caminada 1895 Chief Detective Inspector of the Manchester Police Published by John Heywood, Manchester.


Note a shorter version was republished about 1983 by, I think, the Crime Writers Association.


Term and definition


anarchist (`nkst) n.


1. a person who advocates the abolition of government and a social system based on voluntary cooperation.


2. a person who causes disorder or upheaval.


Note From Collins English Dictionary


People mentioned in the text


Stockton family


Herbert Stockton, my grandfather (died before I was born) He married had 5 children and had a drapers shop in Levenshulme that was run by my grandma.

Ernest Stockton, his brother, my great uncle He went to Canada.

Alfred Barton, related by marriage to his sister, my Great Aunt Nellie They became prominent in Sheffield politics and she eventually went to New Zealand. She had a daughter, Linda I think, who lived in Papatoatoa NZ but had no children.


People vaguely known to me


Patrick John Kelly, seems to have been a friend of my grandfather He married a tiny lady who I vaguely remember meeting when I was a little boy. Mrs Kelly had bowed legs, almost a circle. I guess that was probably caused by rickets which I think is caused by a shortage of vitamin D. The only information I have is that they separated.




The Rev. Canon Nunn Amazing, 117 years after the event, I made an enquiry and got one sentence. "He was a bit of a trouble maker".


Mr Armitage Nothing known.

William Downey Allen Nothing known.

James Beale Nothing known.

James Birch Nothing known.

Arthur Booth Nothing known.

Burrows Nothing known.

James Coates Nothing known.

Sergeant Dutton Nothing known.

Max Falk Nothing known.

Frederick Froggat Max Falk Nothing known.

William Haughton Nothing known.

Mr Headlam Nothing known.

Abraham Lewis Nothing known.

Mr Alderman Lloyd Nothing known.

Mr Alderman Mark Nothing known.

Patrick McCabe Nothing known.

Morris Mendelssohn Nothing known.

M. Pellier Nothing known.

Mr Rawson Nothing known.

Alfred Roberts Nothing known.

Mr Charles Rowley Nothing known.

Henry Salop Nothing known.

Dr Sinclair Nothing known.

Thomas Spaine Nothing known.

George Storey Nothing known.

Edmund George Taylor and Walter Payne Nothing known.

Robert Warburton Nothing known.

Charles Watts Nothing known.

James Welling Nothing known.

Mr S. Norbury Williams Nothing known.

Mr Wood Nothing known.



What happened to them?


Most of them, I don't know. The family members seem to have moved into conventional politics and been active in the early years of the Labour party I was told my grandma knew all the first Labour administration.


I saw an article in a newspaper about Auntie Nellie Barton about 1952 when I was a boy. It could have been a Cooperative newspaper or Reynolds News.


My generation, across the cousins, are all normal members of society. Not active in politics and in stable families. As you can see from my web page I actively work within the bureaucracy.


Short analysis of Caminada's words


This chapter needs to be read in conjunction with the other chapters in his book. Mr Caminada gives a description of the living conditions at that time, quite awful, and comments that the law breakers he had to deal with were products of their environment. He also comments that he never saw prison improve anybody and he has a chapter where he puts in plea for shorter sentences.


I may study the book a little more closely; however, from the single read through I have had and a comment I received from some one who knew them, it seems to me that the relationship between Caminada and the demonstrators was humorous. From the local newspaper article that is included in the chapter, it looks to me that a group of young men simply got up on a chair and spoke to the crowd causing Canon Nunn and the Chief Constable to respond. From that came the real obstruction and cost to the police force. Suddenly, these young men found themselves riding along on the crest of a wave but with no idea of where they were going. Eventually it had to be stopped. It seems to be an early example of how demonstrators have to be dealt with in a suitable way to prevent things getting out of hand. The bit about the pub is interesting: people who turn out to demonstrations may only be spectators.


Caminada, who enforced the law but saw some of its shortcomings, includes the letters from prison perhaps to support his case that the prison regime was very severe. To break the spirit of some very poor men for simply speaking to a crowd today seems to be inappropriate.


If you can obtain a copy of either the 1895 book or the c 1983 book you should read the Introduction and the Plea for shorter sentences.


Annex A

An OCR scan of all the pages in the chapter in Mr Caminada's book

Note it has not been carefully proof read.






TOWARDS the close of September, 1893, complaints were

made by residents of obstruction, on Sunday mornings, at

Ardwick Green, by a number of irresponsible young men

who called themselves the "Manchester Anarchist Communist

Group" It was very difficult to make out what these foolish

fellows advocated, their principles appearing to be "What's yours

is mine, and what's mine's my own." But it was also complained

that very strong language was used, which tended to a breach of

the peace. One of the speakers at the early meetings was the

notorious Samuels, of whom it was stated in the House of Commons

(see Times, September 22nd, 1893) that he gave the following

counsel to the miners, who were then out on strike : "If they did

not go in a body and fight, let them do it individually, with torch,

knife, and bomb." Again, he is reported to have described the^

bomb outrage at the Barcelona Theatre as "a great and good act.


At length a deputation of the residents of the neighbourhood

waited upon the Chief Constable, and asked that the police should

interfere and put a stop to what had become a serious nuisance.

The Chief Constable, after hearing the views of the deputation,

attended these meetings, and tried to reason with the obstruc-

tionists, pointing out to them that it was a very improper place to

hold their meetings and. offering them the use of Stevenson Square,

where they could air their grievances from morning till night with-

out being interfered with. It was only when matters grew

worse, and a gentleman who expressed disapproval of the speakers

views had to be protected by the police, that the Chief Constable

decided to interfere.


On Sunday, October 1st, I went to the Green with Sergeant

Button, in accordance with instructions, and found the Chief Con-

stable present. About 11-30 a Belgian, named Pellier, mounted a

chair, and began to address a crowd of several hundred people, his

remarks being of a revolutionary character. The drift of the



argument of this " Solomon " appeared to be that if all the land

was cultivated, and everybody did his fair share of labour ("Which

tha won't " shouted one of the crowd), two hours a day would

suffice. Under this new millenium there would be no unemployed,

and no paupers ("And no spouters," chimed in somebody).


He had been speaking for some time when the Chief Constable

desired me to tell him that he would be glad to have a few words

with him. Pellier at once got down from his chair, when the

Chief Constable told him that the meeting was an obstruction and

could not be allowed to go on; but no objection would be offered if

they adjourned to Stevenson Square; or any of the Police Yards

were open to them. Pellier replied that he had no wish to create

a disturbance. He had a wife and family and had no desire to get

into trouble, and would advise the meeting to break up. He then

walked away. His place on the chair, however, was immediately

taken by a young fellow named Alfred Barton, who was at once

pulled down, when another man mounted the chair. When he

in turn was seized, the rostrum was taken by a young mechanic

named Patrick McCabe, who also fell into the hands of the police.


Things were now getting lively. The crowd had become

excited. When McCabe was pulled off the chair, a shout was

raised, and a general rush made in the direction of the eight or

nine policemen present. A young fellow named Barton seized

the chair, which had served as a rostrum, and aimed a blow at me

with it, hitting me on the chest, whilst some one struck me on the

back of my head, knocking off my hat. To defend myself I grasped

my umbrella and struck out right and left until I had cleared a

space around me. In doing this I injured my umbrella, for which

these young gentlemen had to pay, and it afterwards became a

historical article in the annals ot the Manchester Anarchist group;

for " Caminada and his gamp " (umbrella) was one of the texts upon

which these juveniles founded their lectures. Burrows was not

baken at the meeting, but was afterwards arrested in Fairfield

Street, where he was heard to remark, " If I had a revolver I

would blow the dd policeman's brains out." After the arrests

the meeting soon dwindled away.


On Monday morning, the precincts of the court were besieged

by a large crowd of persons anxious to witness the trial of the





defendants, and when the doors were thrown open to the public,

both the sitting and standing accommodation was quickly taken

up, the occupants of the gallery being chiefly friends of the


The prisoners were Patrick McCabe, mechanic, aged 20,

William Haughton, pattern maker, aged 20, Ernest Stockton,

engineer, aged 19, and Henry Burrows, clerk, aged 19. Such were

the youths who had undertaken to introduce a new regime into the

government of the country, and to convert the people of Man-

chester to views which they did not understand themselves.

Upon the case being called, McCabe became very excited, and

began to exclaim that his friends were being kept out of the court

by the police. This was denied, and, in response to Mr. Headlam,

the prisoners called out the names of certain persons whom they

wished to call as witnesses. These having been brought in and

McCabe appeased, Haughton commenced to shout that they had

been already tried and condemned in the press, which assertion

drew from the Stipendiary Magistrate the remark that it was no

good talking like that, as he ignored the press in such matters, and

wily went by the evidence given in court. The prisoner, however,

continued to shout; but Mr. Headlam declined to hear him.

The evidence was continually interrupted by Burrows shouting

"It's a lie," and by derisive laughter and hisses by the friends of

the Anarchists in the gallery, which led the Stipendiary to threaten

to have that portion of the court in which they were seated cleared.

The prisoners cross-examined 'the witnesses in a very loud and

insolent manner. Haughton began by remarking that " Caminada

had a bad memory, like all policemen." Stockton commenced by

informing the bench that he weighed 6 stone 5 pounds, to which

I remarked that he ((weighed a good deal more in cheek."

Before the whole of the evidence had been given, Mr. Headlam

said he was satisfied. Whereupon the prisoners asked that the Chief

Constable should be put into the witness-box. On this being com-

plied with. Burrows asked him to ((point out the brute who struck

him," and the Chief Constable replied that he thought it was

Caminada. He further stated that he had attended these meetings

and warned the Anarchists of the consequences, and it was only

when they grew worse, and it became a question as to whether the





law or the Anarchists was to be master, that he had interfered.

Burrows then put a number of irrelevant questions to Mr. Wood,

which the latter could not answer, and as he left the witness-box

Haughton shouted, "Are we to be gagged 1 He is in the hole and

wants to get out of it." McCabe also commenced to shout, and for

a few moments the court was a scene of uproar. Several witnesses

were called on behalf of the Anarchists, all their own friends, to

prove that there was no obstruction; but the Court was satisfied,

and inflicted a fine of 21s. and costs, or in default, one month's


All, however, was not yet over, for immediately on hearing the

decision one of the prisoners raised the cry " Hurrah for Anarchy,"

and this was taken up by Mr. Alfred Barton, another of these

renovators of the world, aged 25, and following the occupation of

a clerk, who, on leaving the court, shouted "To h1 with law and

order." This hater of the law was immediately arrested, and

hauled before its representative. In answer to Mr. Headlam, this

terrible fellow, who proposed to turn the world upside down, ad-

mitted that he had made use of the expression, but only did so

because he was indignant at the way in which his comrades had

been treated " for doing their duty;" the presumption, of course,

being that their duty and obedience to the Anarchist group came

before their duty as citizens, and ought therefore to be approved

rather than punished. Mr. Headlam, however, refused to take

this view of the case, and Mr. Alfred Barton was bound over, in

his own recognisance of o5, to keep the peace for six months.

Notwithstanding his hatred to all "law and order," he consented

to be so bound, and the " tyrannical" fines of his colleagues or

" comrades," as they love to call each other, were paid.

One of the principal Manchester papers, commenting on the

aifair, said :

" In Manchester there is a handful of persons who delight in

regarding themselves as Anarchists. They are chiefly tailors, and

some of them allow their hair to grow long. There is nothing

they dislike more than the laws and regulations provided for the

peace and safety of the population. They cannot endure restraint.

It is all very well for common people to be compelled to conform

to orders, but they prefer to please themselves. There are few



things they are more desirous of doing than the things which the

authorities say must be left undone, and there is nothing belonging

to other people in which they do not claim to have a proprietary

interest. Their motto is, in effect, 'What's yours is mine, and

what's mine is my own.' They are always amiable when they are

permitted to defy the law and put other people to loss and incon-

venience. To restrain them from doing these things is to offend

them, and when they are offended they are terrible people. They

are invariably fluent of speech, and their vocabulary is largely com-

posed of epithets of an irritating and alarming kind. In Man-

chester the authorities have an objection to persons obstructing

the thoroughfares. They seem to fancy it is their business to

prevent the inhabitants from being inconvenienced by such pro-

ceedings. That is not the view the Anarchists take. It is all

very well for ordinary citizens to be bound down by such tyrannical

restrictions, but Anarchists are not ordinary beings. They chafe

at law, and have no particular partiality for order. As a rule they

have no worldly possessions, and they very much object to other

people differing from them in that respect. They are in reality

very peculiar people. But, as there are peculiar people who are law-

abiding and inoffensive, they prefer to be known as Anarchists,

which is supposed to mean something very different. There are

open spaces in Manchester which may be used on a Sunday by

people afflicted with crazes which they like to air in public. In

such places such crazes may be promulgated without offending

anybody. They are not the places for Anarchists. What is the

use of being Anarchists unless they can be offensive, and can

interfere with the comfort and safety of other people ? Holding a

meeting in Stevenson Square, or on a police drill ground, on a

Sunday, would not do any harm to anybody, therefore the Man-

chester members of this singular Order determine to hold their

meetings on the high road. They held one on Sunday morning

and created a serious obstruction. The police had the temerity

to interfere. They actually stopped the meeting, and marched

some of the more persistent of the ringleaders to the Police Office.

That was more than Anarchical flesh and blood could stand, and

they showered anathemas on their captors and their sympathisers,

and solemnly warned them of bombs. With surprising indifference




the police actually went the length, yesterday, of taking them

before the magistrates, and Detective-Inspector Caminada had the

audacity to speak of them as prisoners. They regarded the whole

proceeding with lofty disdain, expostulated with the Stipendiary

Magistrate on his want of due perspicacity, and denounced the

prosecution as an attack upon freedom of speech. Whatever

would they have said had they been members of the House of

Commons during the ' discussion' of the Home Rule Bill 1 How-

ever, Mr. Headlam was callous of consequences. He seemed to be

indifferent to the terrors consequent upon an offence against

Anarchists, and he actually imposed a substantial penalty upon

them for inconveniencing their neighbours by obstructing the high

road. What will happen now'? Perhaps they will take possession

of the Mayor's parlour, or the Chief Constable's private office for

their next meeting. Such a . proceeding would certainly

inconvenience fewer persons than that for which they have been

subjected to the indignity of arrest and punishment."


The gentleman referred to in a preceding paragraph, who allowed

his hair to grow long, was o,f course the Anarchist poet; like the

strength of Samson, the wisdom of the man did not lie in his head

but in the hair outside it, and for that reason was afraid of having

it cut, lest the poetical instinct should depart. On such a historical

occasion as this, the first prosecution of the Anarchists in Man-

chester, the poet was called upon to take up his lyre and compose

an ode to perpetuate the memory of the marytrs, and execrate

their persecutors. What poet would not wish for such a theme 1

How the old Welsh harpist would have revelled in such a subject!

Alas ! how we are degenerated. It is enough to make Apollo

weep ! But our Anarchist laureate is not an ordinary being, and it

would be well for some of our poets to look to their laurels. After

lying on his back for some time, seeking for inspiration, he sang :




The Anarchists held meetings that were orderly and good,

And the workers they did go

Just to hear the Anarchists show

How the rich church-going thieves live upon their sweat and blood,

And how the masters try and (sic) crush them low.




And as they walk about the street

"With an independent air,

The people all declare,

They must have knowledge rare ;

And they do say,

We wish the day,

When Anarchists shall have fair play,

And hold their meetings free at Ardwick Green, 0.

But Nunn he was a bigot and didn't like the truth,

And he to the meetings went,

On making mischief bent.

He got policemen and detectives to attack them without ruth

I think it's time that he to heaven was sent.


And as he walks about the church

With an hypocritical air,

The people all do swear,

He is a humbug rare,

For he does yell,

And the people tell,

That all (who) think will go to hell,

The parson who interfered at Ardwick Green, 0.

Caminada showed his valour by knocking people down,

And using his gamp well,

Good citizens to fell.

He collared all the Anarchists, and marched them through the town,

And put them in the Fairfield station cell.


And he walks along the street

With an independent air,

The people all declare,

He is a scoundrel rare,

His head is " Wood,"

And is no good,

Except to provide the pig's with food,

The scamp who broke his gamp at Ardwiok Green, 0.

He brought them before the beak, and thought to give it them hot,

But his little game was off,

And he got it rather rough,

The Anarchists did bravely, and of cheek give him a lot,

And it won't be very long before he's had enough.





And as he walks along the court

With a " big bug " sort of air,

The people all declare,

Oh ! what a fall was there.

And they are sure,

He will never more

The Anarchists attempt to floor,

The D. who broke his gamp at Ardwick Green, 0.

He told a lot of thumpers, and spun some awful fibs,

But they soon proved him to be

A liar of high degree.

And though Headlam, like an idiot, made them fork out their " dibs,"

They fairly got old Cam. up a tree.


And he walks about the street,

With an independent air,

The people all do swear,

He is a detective rare,

For he can lie,

And none can vie

In the list of scamps, none stands so high

As the D. who broke his gamp at Ardwick Green, 0.

But the time is coming quickly when Cam. will repent

.Of having tried his game

The Anarchists to lame,

Or he and his dd crew will to that warm land be sent,

And never trouble honest folks again.

And he walks along the court,

With a hanging vicious air,

The people will declare,

Oh ! what an awful scare.

And they will cry,

Oh ! let him die,

And deep down the gutter lie

The D. who broke his gamp at Ardwick Green, 0.

It is said that there is only one step between the sublime and

the ridiculous. The sublimity of the profession of a poet is no

doubt something grand. But the productions of some of these versi-



fiers are the merest rubbish, and our readers must excuse me for

inflicting upon them a copy of the Anarchist laureate's effusion,

our object being to show the grand and noble ideas held by these

martyrs to the cause of disorder. The idea of sending the reverend

gentleman to heaven, and the detectives to a " warmer land," where

of course there are no "honest folks," is very suggestive. But I

suppose we must content ourselves by knowing we are placed in

the same category as lawyers, whom we know, according to the

old adage, have a very great difficulty in entering into the kingdom

of heaven. As regards their being "sure" that "he (Caminada)

will never more the Anarchists attempt to floor," the writer has

come to the conclusion that it is never safe to prophesy unless you


Having encouraged themselves by the strains of poetry, and got

up their courage to the sticking point, they vowed vengeance on the

immortal "gamp" and its owner. The next thing was to get a

number of handbills printed, calling a meeting, which would be

held at Ardwick Green, on the following Sunday morning, "in

spite of Caminada and his crew," to defend the right of freedom of

speech. These were distributed throughout the city ; whilst some

of these terrible gentlemen, armed with paste-can and brush, occu-

pied themselves at midnight in pasting the walls of St. Thomas's

churchyardof which church the Kev. Canon Nunn is the rector

with these handbills, taking care, however, to place sentries to give

the alarm in case of the approach of a policeman.

Sunday arrived, and there was a crowd of several hundred

people at the meeting-place, most of whom had turned up, as they

expressed it, " to see the fun." About 11-30 a young fellow, named

Patrick John Kelly, about 22 years of age, and who followed the

business of a taxidermist, mounted the rostrum, and the crowd

gathered round. He commenced" Comrades and working-men,

I come here on behalf of my comrades who were locked up last

Sunday morning. In spite of Caminada and the police we are

going to hold our meeting." He got no further, for he was imme-

diately pulled off the chair, on which he cried, " Three cheers for

Anarchy and revolution;" but his invitation met with no response.

As he was rushed down to Fairfield Street Police Station a large

crowd followed, mostly out of curiosity to get a glimpoe at him.





To these he kept appealing, " If you are men be men," evidently

inviting a rescue, but the crowd only laughed at him.

When brought before Mr. Headlam, at the Police Court, in

reply to the magistrate he said that he was charged under a law

that was passed by a section of society calling themselves Govern-

ment, and passed by them regardless of the interests of other

people. He was charged with an obstruction of the public high-

way, although how it could be a public highway when the public

were not allowed to use it he failed to see. He was quite aware

that the Anarchists had been told that they could go to Stevenson

Square and hold their meetings. But what was the good of that ?

The people would not come to them, so they had to go to the

people. He compared Caminada's making his comrades pay for

the umbrella, which he broke over their heads in the melee, to the

Government charging the Featherstone miners for the bullets with

which they were shot. The meetings would go on, and men would

be found week by week to speak, and ready to go to prison if neces-

sary in defence of their rights. Mr. Headlam cut the harangue

short with "21s. and costs, or in default one month ! " and the

martyr, Joseph Patrick Kelly, who failed to see the difference

between using and obstructing a public highway, was hurried below

until the fine was paid, as he was not quite " ready to go to prison

in defence of their rights."

Handbills were again put out setting the authorities at defiance,

and announcing that the Anarchists were determined to hold their

meeting on Sunday morning next, October 16th. The contest

between the upholders of law and order and those of Anarchy and

disorder had now become the talk of the city. The consequence

was that a crowd of 3,000 or 4,000 persons was drawn together

from mere curiosity, necessitating a large staff of police. The

people were kept on the move, and as the Anarchists appeared they

were ordered away. At length a young fellow, named James

Coates, a lithographic printer, seized the opportunity to mount the

rostrum, and said he was there to protest against the action of

Canon Nunn, in interfering with the right of free speech, aided by

"a man called Caminada." He was taken into custody, and a

number of his comrades who pressed round were also arrested and

taken to Fairfield Street Police Station. Here,two men, named




Taylor and Payne, who had taken part in the obstruction at Ardwick

Green, and had followed the prisoners down, applied to give bail

for two of their comrades, but as they did not know the namea of

the men for whom they offered bail, they were told to go to the

Town Hall. This they refused to do or to leave the office, and

had to be ejected. They were subsequently arrested for causing

an obstruction in Fairfield Street.

Next morning (Monday) the following prisoners were brought

before the magistrates: Arthur Booth, joiner, aged 32; Max

Falk, tailor, aged 28; Abraham Lewis, tailor, aged 21;

James Coates, lithographic printer, aged 21; Edmund George

Taylor, tutor, aged 51 ; Thomas Spaine, shoemaker, aged 26;

Walter Payne, clerk, aged 29 ; William Downey Alien, printer,

aged 26 ; James Beale, porter, aged 28; Charles Watts, news-

agent, aged 23 ; and William Lancaster, labourer, aged 28.

In reply to the bench the prisoners denied that there was any

obstruction. Coates, who read his reply, which had evidently

been prepared for him, created much amusement. He said the

character of the prosecution was utterly absurd, and " initiated by

parsons." They expected no justice in the law courts, which were

only places of villainy and hypocrisy. The whole had been done

at the bidding of that " sanctimonious parasite, Nunn." Spaine,

Beale, and Lancaster were fined 21s. and costs, or in default one

month's imprisonment; the rest were fined 40s. and costs, or a

month's imprisonment.

On the following Sunday the police were present in consider-

able force in view of a possible demonstration. Some thousands of

people turned up, apparently out of curiosity, and rushed back-

wards and forwards through the neighbourhood in rather an

alarming manner, as reports were raised as to the presence of

some of the martyrs. The crowds, however, were kept under con-

trol until the public-houses opened, when, without enjoying any

further excitement, they dispersed. These meetings were a little

harvest for the publicans of the neighbourhood, some of whom had

to engage extra waiters for Sundays during the agitation.

It afterwards appeared that the reason for the absence of the

apostles of disorder was a compact made with Dr. Sinclair the

nicrht previous ; the Anarchists promising to hold no meeting until




he put their case before the authorities. Accordingly on October

25th Dr. Sinclair brought the matter before the City Council. He

pointed out that the offenders were a lot of foolish young men, and

suggested that the press should let all decent citizens understand

that the Lord Mayor personally would be glad if they would stay

away from Ardwick Green, and leave those young men severely

alone. If some means could be taken to bring the meetings

into ridicule there would be a chance of finding a remedy. He

also expressed an opinion that the police had acted in a very high-

handed, hasty fashion, which was met with cries of " No."

Mr. Rawson replied that it was only because there was a

danger of disturbance in the public thoroughfares that action by

the police had been taken. There w^as no ground whatever for the

insinuation that the Watch Committee was actuated by any desire

to suppress free speech. The whole question was one of ruling the

town. The police did not interfere until all the means of private

persuasion had been tried and failed. Mr. Alderman Lloyd added

that, in addition to seriously obstructing the traffic, the language

used by these men was at times of a disgusting nature. Mr.

Alderman Mark, chairman of the Watch Committee, handed round

a collecting box, amidst much amusement, on which the words

ii Manchester Anarchist Group " were embroidered in black satin.

It did not come to my knowledge whether any of the worthy

councillors subscribed, or what the alderman would have done

with the money had they done so.

As the Anarchistswho, though they object to the laws, do not

hesitate to appeal to the authorities when it suits themdid not

attain their object, the following handbill was issued :

" The Anarchists and Ardwick Green ! Obstruction or Oppres-

sion ? The City Council uphold Perjury and Violence ! Overtures

of Peace rejected ! Caminada authorised to break the heads of

Manchester Citizens! This Tyranny shall not succeed! The

Anarchists will be at Ardwick Green on Sunday next, October

29, at 11-30. An Indignation Meeting will be held in Stevenson

Square at 3. Attend in your thousands !"

The consequence was that a great crowd congregated on the

Sunday morning, which was kept running in different directions as

various false rumours of arrests or other excitement cropped up.




For wherever there to anything to be seen an Englishman must

needs go and see it; and in the eager warmth of excited spirits he

will run after it. No matter whether caravan or carriage; no matter

Z-hence it come, or whither it goes; no matter whether its con-

tents be a kangaroo or a cannibal chief, a giraffe or a princess,

Bu ty Fusty, a baboon, or an Anarchist, the interesting stranger

is cheered with enthusiasm, and speeds along graced with all the

honours of extemporaneous popularity.

At length, as the crowd, weary of waiting, was beginning to

disperse, Herbert Stockton, a bootmaker, about 23 years of age,

and a relative of one of the previous martyrs, was seen crossing

the park accompanied by about 200 people, and, taking his stand

upon the pedestal of the lamp in the centre of the five cross roads

commenced to address the crowd, but was at once removed. It

was my intention to have let him go and to issue a summons against

him; but he said that he did not want any quarter from the police

or from the authorities. His friends would persist in holding the

meetings, and the police had better give it up as a bad job.

In reply to the magistrates Stockton said that it seemed to

him that by adopting a police censorship policemen were to have

power of telling the citizens of Manchester what they should

listen to and what they should not. That might of course do in

Russia, but it was not the right sort of thing for Manchester. In

their case they were fighting for freedom of speech for which

their ancestors died and they were not going to let that right be

taken from them without a struggle. They were not going to

be ridden over roughshod by the police, the parsons or anyone

else Mr Armitage pointed out from the bench that it was not a

question of liberty of speech; for there were at least half a dozen

places in the city where the defendant and his friends could

express their opinions, from morning till night if they liked; but

they were determined that "they would be a law unto themselves

Se would be fined 40s. and costs, or one month's imprisonment,

And if he came again he would be sent to gaol without the option

of a fine. The fine was paid.

The struggle still went on. The public were informed, by

means of handbills, that on the following Sunday "the sermon

would be preached by an Anarchist, the lesson, read by Chief





Inspector Caminada, and the psalms sung by his crew " (detectives),

the people being asked to assemble in their thousands. They did

so. The crowd reached from the lamp opposite Brunswick

Street to Rusholme Road in one direction, and extended up

Brunswick Street, Hyde Road, Stockport Road, and Higher

Ardwick, in other directions, the park and its environs being


At the appointed time, the candidate for martyrdom, James

Birch, a mechanic, about 21 years of age, mounted the lamp, and,

striking a dramatic attitude, waved a baton in the shape of a

rolled up newspaper to attract attention. His speech, -the

delivery of which was stopped rather abruptly, was accompanied

by a blaze of fireworks. It was the Fifth of November, and a

number of youths thought it a good opportunity of keeping up

the holiday. The would-be martyr was soon the target for

squibs, crackers, and other fireworks, and the cry was raised,

" Duck him in the horse trough," which stood near for the purpose

of watering horses. He was then taken into custody, so much

of his speech as he could deliver being of the usual character :

"He himself would fight the matter to the bitter end, and it was

intended by himself and friends to hold meetings in spite of

Canon Nunn and Caminada."

In Court he created great amusement by trying to read an

evidently prepared defence. He described the prosecution as a

" vexatious " one, got up by bigotted meddlers who wanted to

interfere with the liberty of the citizens. The law, he said, was

"sprained" in order to crush out the right of public meeting, and

the charge of obstruction was "merely a fake." He denied being

an Anarchist, but gloried in being a member ot the Labour

Church. All bodies, he continued, who worked on behalf of

labour were with them in the struggle, and they would not be

stamped out until the whole labour movement had been extin-

guished. A fine of 40s. and costs was imposed, which was again


On the following Wednesday the terrible bomb outrage was

committed at the Liceo Theatre, Barcelona, spreading death and

destruction on all sides ; and Europe stood aghast. Samuels, one

of the earliest speakers at these Ardwick Green meetings, and



connected we believe with an Anarchist periodical, described the

deed as " a great and good act." Herbert Stockton, one of the

Ardwick Green martyrs, whilst everyone was deploring the calamity,

wrote to the Manchester Guardian (Nov. 11), and, after sounding

the trumpet of the local Anarchists, said the Watch Committee

were watching the effect of this suppression on the citizens, with

a view to stopping all outdoor meetings of a political nature if

possible. The Watch Committee had been badly beaten, and it

was only a question of time as to when they would realise it.

On Sunday, the 12th of November, some thousands of persons

again congregated at Ardwick Green, and the efforts of the police

were chiefly directed, to keeping them in motion and so preventing

obstruction. Herbert Stockton at length mounted the lamp, and

said they were determined to hold meetings in spite of Canon Nunn

or anyone else. Whilst his " comrades " were shouting approval,

a man quietly approached and, suddenly shoving his head between

the speaker's legs, mounted him upon his back, and rushed off with

him towards the water-trough, followed by an excited and approv-

ing crowd, who shouted, " Baptise him ! Baptise him !" while the

small knot of Anarchists looked on with dismay. The police

promptly interfered, and rescued the youthful martyr from his

tormentors; whilst he and several others who were encouraging him

to defy the law were arrested. On the way to the Police Station,

a conversation took place in the cab between Birch and Stockton,

with respect to bombs, which was overheard by a police officer,

Stockton openly saying that their society was determined to hold

their meetings at Ardwick Green, and that they should resort to

extreme measures. The movement, he remarked, was going on all

right, and they had got two or three Rothschilds behind them.

In response to the bench, Stockton said that the citizens of

Manchester should be congratulated on having such a versatile

detective inspector. He combined his ability as a detective with

that of a stage manager. He managed a most beautiful and

dramatic scene in which he (Stockton) was to be dipped in a water-

trouo-h. Mr. Headlam reminded the prisoner that he would have

to prove such a statement, as it was denied; to which he replied,

amidst some laughter, " Well, I don't think 1 shall attempt to

prove it." The reference to the bombs and Rothschilds, he said,





was only a joke, and concluded by saying that the society had

decided not to pay any more fines. Whatever punishment was

inflicted upon their members would, he supposed, have to be

expiated in gaol. The same thing would happen to a dozen, to

hundredshe might say to thousandsof young men, who knew

that the liberties of the people were in danger, and who were

determined to do what they could to keep them safe. He, himself

if he was not in prison, was determined to address other meetings

at Ardwick Green. Birch said that there were a great many

determined to fight out the matter to the bitter end, no matter

what treatment they received from the hands of the authorities,

under laws passed by those classes of society, who lived in luxury

by the exploitation of labour.

If every person were to be allowed to repudiate the laws because

they were passed by " classes " with whom they had no sympathy,

I am afraid we should soon have a state of Anarchy which would

bring even the Anarchists to their senses. These gentlemen

work on an ideal state of society. They take every man and

woman to be perfect; they make no allowance for different tastes,

feelings, or inherited tendencies ; nor have they any idea that the

stronger would oppress the weak. Under their millenium every

man would drop into his proper place ; every woman would be

mated with the right man ; there would be no envy, hatred, un-

charitableness, or laziness. Two hours a day's work, as one speaker

said, would serve everybody, and the eight hours day would be

knocked into a (( cocked hat." Then I suppose we should be able

to sing :

Two hours work,

Twelve hours play,

Ten hours sleep,

And one "quid" a day.


But in these good days there will be no use for money. Every

man will have what he wants, and there will be no rushing to

obtain the best places. The anti-smoker will be content to work

to provide another man with tobacco ; the teetotaller will delight,

by the sweat of his brow, to provide the boozer with his beer;

there will be no rows about denominational education, for every

religion will be supported out of a common fund, and Secularists

will not grumble about it ; adultery and theft will not be known ;





government and law will not be needed ; and lawyers, judges, and

policemen will be out of work. Oh, happy times ! Knowing,

however, what we do about human nature, we are afraid these

youthful Anarchists will have a difficult job before them before all

this is brought about.

Herbert Stockton and James Birch, two old offenders, were fined

30s. and costs, or in default one month's imprisonment, and to be

bound over in two sureties of 25 for six months ; James Welling,

a labourer, aged 24, 40s. and costs, or one month ; George Storey,

a tailor, aged 49, 21s. and costs, or one month ; Alfred Roberts,

dyer, aged 20, Robert Warburton, warehouseman, aged 19,

Frederick Froggat, turner, aged 14, and James Taylor, warehouse-

man, aged 16, were all bound over in one surety of 10 to keep

the peace for six months.

A local newspaper commented on these prosecutions in the

following terms :

" The Manchester ' Anarchist group' still keep up their Sunday

recreation at Ardwick Green, and their Monday privilege of being

fined. The law has given them the notoriety they desired.

Their wildest flights of fancy, their most sweeping condemna-

tions, would not have attracted more than a handful of idlers

had the law 'winked' at their proceedings. Now, however, the

obstruction has become serious, and week after week the police

'vindicate the majesty of the law' by arresting the bolder

' Anarchists.' But that is all. The obstruction continues, and the

people flock to the Green in the hope of seeing some lively struggles

between the police and the Anarchists. Who will get tired of this

unseemly farce first, the police, the public, or the Anarchists?

Perhaps, if a few of the people who assemble were summoned with

the Anarchists there would be less obstruction; but we doubt

whether this would mend matters. On the other hand, the law

must be supreme. There are many other places at which the

Anarchists can meet; but, simply because the police and public

wish them to go elsewhere, the 'group' invite the law to

do its worst. It is all very silly and foolish. The Anarchists

are undoubtedly to blame, because they have taken up a very

idiotic attitude. Were any religious body to cause a similar

obstruction we should strongly condemn it; and nothing can be





further from the truth than to say that the Anarchists are prose-

cuted because they hold opinions with which we cannot agree

Dr. Sinclair declares that the disturbances are largely owing to the

bureaucratic methods of the police authorities, and to the violence

employed by some officers. Whether this be true or not, there is

no excuse for the young men who wilfully break the law If no

other site could be found the Anarchists might receive some sym-

pathy, but they gather together in a forbidden place merely to

defy the police and to show their contempt for the law."

On the two following Sundays much the same thing occurred,

Henry Salop, a labourer, aged 26, being fined 40s. and costs, or a

month, for the first meeting; and for the second, James Coates,

who had previously been fined 40s. and costs, was ordered to find

two sureties in 30 for six months, or in default one month's


By this time the public seemed to be losing interest in the

struggle, and the meetings had dwindled to a few hundreds The

morning of Sunday, the third of December, was damp and raw

yet for nearly an hour the space encircling the lamp-post, which

the Anarchists claimed as their forum, was patrolled by groups of

people, looking suspiciously one upon another, and evidently im-

patient for someone to begin. Just as the crowd had reached its

biggest dimensions, and was beginning to dwindle, Henry Burrows

one of the original offenders, advanced rapidly towards the lamp^

post, where he was at once encircled by the people pressing in

from every side. He began in a low, tremulous voice to address

the meeting. I advised him to be quiet and go away, but he

replied that nothing would prevent him and his friends from

holding meetings there every Sunday. I asked him again to desist

but he continued speaking, the purport of his observations being

that there would be another meeting there on the Sunday following,

and one in Stevenson Square that afternoon. As he would not

desist, a cab was hailed, in which he was placed, and driven away

amid general laughter.

In the court he described me as the biggest liar he had ever

known, and on leaving the dock he called out, "Long live Anarchy l"

He was bound over in two sureties of 30, or two months' imprison-

ment. Both he and Coates elected to go to prison, probably from




the difficulty of finding bail. Aa the fines ceased to be paid, one

or two of the other Anarchists had to go to gaol. At their meet-

ings in Stevenson Square, which w-ere not interfered with, the

collecting box was sent round every Sunday afternoon ; but after

the Barcelona outrage, followed by others, the subscriptions

evidently dropped off. Then came the martyrdom. How they

suffered it the following letters will show :


" Strangeways,

"December 2, 1893.


" My dear Father,

" I am writing this in the depth of despair, to know if you

will be one of the sureties of ,30, and get Alf. or our Albert to be

the other, and I will be bound myself in 50. I shall be eternally

obliged if you would, for another w-eek in here will drive me mad,

I believe. Hoping you are quite well, and mother also,

"I remain,

" Your almost broken-hearted son,


" P.S.There are also 9s. in costs to pay, which please beg or

borrow for me. I will pay it back if I have to starve.JIM.

"P.S.If you can't, please go to Bednal's and ask the boss. I

think he will (Peter I mean).JIM."


This letter was written six days after his conviction.


On the 27th of December Burrows wrote :

" My dearest Father,

" I am sorry to have to write this, but I am afraid my

health is giving way. Will you go to comrade Barton and ask

him to send sureties AS SOON AS HE POSSIBLY CAN. I can't stand

much more of this.

" With love to all,

" Your affectionate son,


" Barton's address is 13, Shaftesbury Street, C-on-M.H.B."

Ecce homoBehold the man ! Quantum mutatus ab illoHow

chsnged from what he once was !




Under the heading of " A ' Broken-hearted' Hero," a leading

Manchester newspaper, commenting on the first letter, says :

" By their weekly conflicts with the city police, the Manchester

group of Anarchists have been trying to pose as heroes during the

last few months ; but it seems their courage and fortitude are by

no means equal to their grandiloquence. One of the most valiant

of the group was James Coates, who delighted his friends a week

ago last Monday by telling Mr. Headlam, the stipendiary, before

whom he appeared, that the sentences he passed on his Anarchist

comrades the week before were brutal, and that his remarks on

that occasion were the most ridiculous nonsense man ever talked,

Criticism so frank disturbed the stipendiary's official gravity, and

he was constrained to join in the general laughter which it evoked.

Coates, it will be remembered, defied the police on the previous

Sunday by addressing an Anarchist meeting on forbidden ground

at Ardwick Green. He declared that he should hold a meeting on

the public highway, and assert the right of free speech in spite of

both the law and the police. Yea, he was prepared to go to prison

and to suffer death before he would forfeit that right. This speech

would have been, in its way, a masterpiece of invective had it not

been suddenly interrupted by Chief Inspector Caminada arresting

him, for on his MSS. notes appeared, among other choice headings:

' Right of free speech in spite of bigot Nunn and his followers'

' Cami. (Caminada) and his gamp' (the damaged umbrella the

Anarchists had to pay for)'Caminada's crew''Not to be daunted

by Headlam's brutal sentences.' Coates, who had already been

fined for a similar offence, was ordered to find two sureties of 30

each, and to be bound himself in 50 to be of good behaviour for

six months. The one month's imprisonment in default, and the

letter which was addressed by him to his father, show to the-

full the extent of his valour and fine professions."

After quoting the letter the article concludes

" Coates' friends are in no way disposed to remove him from

his temporary confinement, and there is every probability that he

will have to do his time."

In the meantime Messrs. E. G. Taylor and W. Payne had been

complaining that they had not been justly dealt with, and after a,

newspaper correspondence, signing declarations, and failing to





obtain what they considered satisfaction from the Watch Com-

mittee, on the 29th of November a public meeting was held in the

Co-operative Hall, Downing Street, for the purpose of protesting

against the violence and perjury of the police in connection with

the arrest of the two gentlemen.

The meeting was not unanimous, and on occasions there were

somewhat noisy manifestations of feeling. Mr. S. Norbury Williams,

who had recently been elected Citizens' Auditor, presided. He

opened the meeting with a rather lengthy speech, but, instead of

keeping to the subject for which the meeting was called, he

wandered off to the particular topics which interested him as

Citizens' Auditor, and amid cries of "That's old," "We've heard it

all before," he began to inform the meeting how the councillors

spent their money in wines, beer, mineral waters, gloves, trips to

Thirlmere, &c. Amid cries of " Keep to the subject," a lighted

cracker was thrown into the middle of the hall, which created

much confusion and alarm, many of the audience, having the bomb

outrages on the Continent in mind, hastily decamping. Several

others spoke, but crackers and fireworks continued to go off,

causing confusion, and having a tendency to thin the audience. The

chairman said that he believed a number of plain clothes men were

in the room, and asked the audience to take down their names , but

the audience did not appear to concern themselves about the

matter. Two gentlemen then addressed the meeting, moving an

amendment thanking the Watch Committee for the action they

had taken in regard to the Anarchists ; but the disorder became so

great that the chairman appealed in vain for order, and described

the proceedings as un-English. At length amid much noise a

resolution was passed asking for, an inquiry into the matter, and a

deputation was appointed to present it. Then the meeting broke up,

the audience on their way out running the gauntlet of a number

of men with collecting boxes, seeking for coppers to defray the


In connection with the Downing Street meeting a question was

asked in the House of Commons respecting the remarks of Mr.

Charles Eowley, a Justice of the Peace, who took a prominent

part in it, and he was called upon for an explanation.

As the Lord Mayor refused to receive the deputation, the



matter was brought up in the City Council, by Dr. Sinclair, who

expressed regret that the Watch Committee did not see their way

to make inquiry; but the Lord Mayor ruled the matter out of

order, and pointed out that it was a question for the law courts to

settle. If any one had any complaint to make respecting the

conduct of the police they might place a notice upon the agenda.

No one, however, took the trouble to do this, and nothing further

was heard of the matter, except the braggadocio of a few agitators

who, as usual, said the matter could not rest where it was, and

threatened all sorts of pains and penalties. But even these appeared

to find out that the game was not worth the candle, and quietly


The ridicule heaped upon the Anarchists on showing the

" white feather,'-' after their fine professions, made them a laughing

stock, and things began to look very flat on Sunday mornings, and

the crowds to diminish. No one, I presume, regretted the matter,

except the publicans in the neighbourhood of the meeting place.

On Sunday, the 10th of December, a change of tactics was tried.

Patrick Joseph Kelly was seen approaching the Green, carrying

his platform with him in the shape of a soap-box covered with

white paper. He did not, however, make for the lamp, but on

reaching the corner of Union Street, he placed his box on the

ground, and mounting it proceeded to address the crowd. I asked

him to move on, but he declined, and was taken into custody.

His defence was that he was not guilty of obstruction as there

was no one on the footpath at the time. He was fined 40s. and

costs, or one month's imprisonment.

On the Sunday following, the martyr was William Haughton,

who was bound in two sureties -to keep the peace for six months,

or one month's imprisonment.

On Sunday, the 24th, no martyr appeared, as probably none of

them were inclined to eat their Christmas dinner in the police

station. But on the 31st Morris Mendelssohn, a mackintosh maker,

aged 24, made his first appearance, and commenced the New Year

by being ordered to find two sureties of 10 each to keep the

peace for three months, or to go to prison for a month; and then,

as the public interest in the matter appeared to have died out, and

the stock of "patriots and martyrs" seemed to have been ex-





hausted, Ardwick Green assumed its normal condition. After a

contest of three months the police were allowed to enjoy their

Sundays in peace.

The generality of the speeches delivered by these men were of

one type. After abusing Her Majesty and the Royal Family, and

giving a version of their own respecting the emoluments of the

Royal Family, they would go on to describe how many paupers

might be kept in comfort if this money were divided amongst them.

They would then turn their attention to the House of Lords, or,

as they described it, the House of robbers and plunderers, and

talk of the land stolen by their forefathers. "Every man," said

one of these reformers, " should work two hours a dayno more

and no less. All priests, parsons, bishops, and ecclesiastics of all

sorts were useless and should be unfrocked. Policemen should be

made to go down coal pits, and might thank their stars that they

were not sent to even a deeper and hotter region. He would pay

the national debt with a stroke of the pen. He would " The

sentence was incomplete, for a " stroke" on the side of the head

brought him from his perch, and when taken to the Police Station

and searched threepence halfpenny in money and a collecting box,

on which was written the "Manchester Anarchist Communist

Group," was found in his possession.

The following handbill has recently been circulated in the

neighbourhood of Gorton :

" Commune of Paris !! The Manchester Anarchists will cele-

brate the Revolt of the Paris Workers against Masters and Govern-

ments on Sunday, March 17th, 1895, in Stevenson Square, at

3 p.m; New Cross (Oldham Road), at 8 p.m. Rebellion is



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