Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 05 November 1910
Denaby Fillers Sorry Show At Court
Disgraceful Case Of Child Neglect
Defendant Spent Fortnight in Camp And Left Wife And Four Children Starving
Charlie Brooks, filler and Territorial, of Denaby, an unkempt and insignificant little individual, stood shivering in the dock. Beside him was his wife, Frances Brooks. The woman was plainly but respectfully dressed, and she took the situation quite coolly. But the Territorial kept putting his hand up to his big eyes to wipe away the tears that came as a prosecuted solicitor (Mr W Baddiley) rubbed it in.
Baby Outside this
The pair were jointly charged with cruelty to their four children at their residence, 53 Barnburgh St, Denaby Main. When the wife entered the dock she had a baby in her arms, but the baby had to be given to a Denaby woman while his parents answered to charge of cruelty towards it and the three other children. The case was brought at the instance of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children; both defendants pleaded guilty, but wished to be dealt with that day. “Deal with me today, sir. I want to get it over,” sobbed the man who had been at camp. “I want to get back to Denaby to work hard for my family.”
Mr Baddiley: I hope he will work hard when he gets back to Denaby, but if I know anything he will do some hard labour before he sees his beloved Denaby again. (Laughter)
Blamed Each Other
Continuing, Mr Baddiley, told the court that defendant’s children were aged six, five, three and one respectively. He should say that the parties had blamed each other, and on that account the authorities thought it best to bring both the court, and see what defence either had to make. Inspector Lloyd, of the NSPCC, who had charge of the case, had only recently come to the district, but Inspector Dolan, his predecessor, had had the couple under observation for some months. Mr Lloyd visited the house in Barnburgh Street, Denaby on October 21, and an account of what he saw you Doctor McArthur and PC Glithro immediately called in.
When the evidence was complete, the Bench would see that this was a very bad case of neglect. The male defendant had any amount of work at the pit if he would like to do it, but he was a thoroughly idle man and would not work. His earnings averaged about 10 shillings a week, and he never cared to earn more.
Inspector Lloyd had they had the matter in hand since you and in consequence of complaints he had visited Brooks on July 18, August 4, 10, 17, 20, September 6, and October 1.
On each of these occasions the couple were cautioned, and finally on October 21, the doctor was called in. “These cases of neglect,” said Mr Baddiley, in conclusion, “are becoming all too frequent in Denaby, and I hope your Worships will make an example in this case.”
Inspector Charles C Lloyd said he visited the house on the date named, and cautioned the defendants about the condition of the children and the man’s lazy habits. He warned them particularly about three year old Alice, and give them money, as they had none, and there was very little food in the house. The latter made a statement as to the money she received from the husband. Again on 10th of August he won the husband, on 17 August he gave them more money, and brought sufficient food to last from Wednesday to Saturday. He went again on October 21, and saw the four children, Thomas six Willie five Alice three and the baby one year.
Mr Baddiley: how did you find these children?
Inspector Lloyd: Well, Thomas had a sore head due to vermin; he was full of vermin, which were falling off him. He was clothed in rags and had no shoes or stockings. He was clean so far as skin went. Lily was in a similar condition, but her clothing was slightly better. Alice was the worst of the lot; she appeared to be ill, and I called the mother’s attention to her. I also warned her as to allowing the young children to sit on the stone floor while they were naked. Alice had no clothes but a piece of old blanket pinned round her. The youngest child Raymond, was rather well nourished, but there were sores on his face due to neglect, and he was very poorly clad.
Continuing, the Inspector said the floor of the house was clean, but upstairs the condition was awful. The mattress was full of filth and was rotten. There were two holes in it large enough for a child to fall through. Defendants territorial great coat formed the only bed clothes in the bedroom. There was no furniture. In the other room upstairs there was a heap of flocks and no furniture. When Brooks was asked for an explanation he put the blame on his wife, and the wife in turn blamed her husband.
They had had no doctor to Alice, they said, because “she was always that way.” There was absolutely no furniture in the house.
Mr Baddiley: Was the condition of the children such as to cause unnecessary suffering an injury to health?
Inspector Lloyd: Most decidedly. They were badly nourished and neglected, but I gave them every opportunity.
The Chairman (Mr G B C Yarborough): Did you give them money? – Yes. The man told me could not go to work because he had had no food. I gave him a shilling first time and three shillings in the second occasion, besides procuring food for them. The money was the property of the Society.
Worst Doctor Had Seen
Doctor John MacArthur spoke to examine the fortune of October 21, when the Inspector called into the house. Thomas was suffering from eczema and sores in the scalp, while his head was verminous. Lily was in the same condition. Alice was suffering from kidney disease brought on by poor food and neglect. Raymond had sores on the scalp, his head was verminous, but he was fairly well nourished; he had very little clothing.
Mr Baddiley: Did you examine the house, doctor?
Doctor McArthur: Yes.
What did you find? – Well, I have seen many a filthy, dirty bedroom, but nothing like what I saw at Barnburgh Street. The two mattresses on the bed where the mother and four children slept were rotten from filth, and there were two large holes, big enough for any child to falls through.
With the exception of some territorial clothing there was no bed clothes at all. The condition of the children and the house was such as to cause them unnecessary suffering.
PC Glithro, who was called in on the same day, in October, corroborated. He had known Brooks and his wife during the two years they had been in Denaby.
“What kind of man is Brooks?” Asked Mr Baddiley
A Lazy Man
“He is an idle man,” replied the constable. He won’t go to work. His wife is complain to me times many that he won’t give her enough money, and won’t go to work. He doesn’t like rising early.”
You know that a man can get plenty of work in Denaby if you want to? – Yes, as a filler at kb Plenty to do if he liked, but he won’t work.
Have you seen the children from time to time? – I have.
What has been there condition? – Generally speaking, they have been poorly clad. I have told the mother about it, but she said her husband won’t work, and she couldn’t help it. He had reported the case to the Inspector.
Answering another question, PC Glithro said he had seen the child with dirty heads many times.
With the Territorials
“The man is totally to blame,” continued the officer. “He went away to the Territorial camp for a fortnight, leaving his wife and children totally provided for.”
The male defendant sworn, told the Bench had done his best for wife and family since coming to Denaby two years ago. Pit work didn’t agree with him, and he gave him boils. He was going to work if he could get a job. If he was discharged he would work hard ever more.
“Oh, sir,” he pleaded, with tears in his eyes, do discharge me.” Then be sobbed and commenced to tug at his whiskers.
When Mr Baddiley rose to cross examine the little man in the box, he put his hand to his eyes, bowed his head, and again sobbed. He admitted that he had a regular job in the Cadeby pit and worked in a stall, but he I denied that he could earn seven and sixpence a shift. He generally put in three to four shifts a week when he worked.
How is it you never game her more than tea shillings a week? -Sometimes I gave her more than that. As a rule, see got more than five shillings.
You remember what the policeman has said about you?
Yes, but the colliers have promised to come to help me if I wanted them. They would tell you that I am a right good man, and that I do my duty to my family as husband and father, and duty to my country as a Territorial.
“My Health, Sir:
Have you any excuse to offer why you can’t earn a good weekly wage! -“My health sir, my health;’ and the little man once again wiped the tears away and tugged at his whiskers. He had, he paid, been to Dr. MacArthur abort the boils.
Why didn’t you ask Dr. MacArthur in the box whether the boils kept you from work? -A sob from the dock was the only reply.
Why didn’t you try to do better after all these warnings?- I have tried to do better. Let week I bought food and bedding.
Yes, but you had the summons then.
Defendant denied that Pc. Glithro had warned him, or that his wife used to complain about the money. If he could get plenty of tubs to fill he could earn any amount of cash, because one of the finest banks in the pit.
If that be so, you should average five or 6 pounds a week? – But, sir, I’m only a little fellow.
Back to the dock again went the little fellow, who still kept poking at his eyes
The wife, in the witness box, said she had had tensions away from hubby – never more. He gave very little as three shillings and two shillings a week. No woman could manage on that. Witness had done her best for the children. She was always washing and doing work. Really, she could do no more.
Mr Baddiley: I won’t say an unkind word to Mrs Brooke, because I am bound to admit that as far as the house was concern you kept it clean. Have you complained about your husband?
I have, times many. He has work to go if he cares to, but he will do nothing. I do all in my power, and I can’t do any more. Last week, when obi new a visit to Doncaster was pending, he worked better and gave her 17/-, with which they got some clothes. On three shillings a week the Territorial expected her to find food, clothing, and everything else for herself, the four children, and their father.
For the Workhouse
Inspector Lloyd, recall, said the four children were now in Denaby. Both defendants were committed to prison, the kiddies will have to go to the Work at. The society would, of course, endeavour to see that the parents did their duty to the children afterwards.
The Chairman, after consultation with his colleagues, said the Bench had come to the conclusion that Brooks was an idle man, who could get work, but would not do it. It was in consequence of his neglect that the children were in such a bad state. In such a case the only thing for us to do is to send you to prison, and you must go to Wakefield for one month.
Addressing Mr Brooks, the Chairman said she had had a great difficulty to contend with. They knew that the husband didn’t give sufficient money, but that factor part, the state of the children was no credit to her as a mother. She had neglected
Her Duty as a Mother
in not keeping them clean. She would be bound over to come up for judgement if called upon, but if she looked after the children now she would hear no more about the case.
“And Brooks,” the chairman continue, “when you come out of prison do your duty as a father, or you will be more severely punished.”
The Territorial sobbed from the dock, “I wish you would give me my discharge sir” – and they led him downstairs still weeping.