WIGAN WORLD - Mayor went on pub crawl in a wheelbarrow

ALL the Mayors I’ve known since 1960 have carried out their duties with decorum and dignity.

It wasn’t always so.

I reckon you’ll laugh when I tell you about how, back in the mid 1880s, the good folks of Ince elected their own ‘Mayor’.

The old newspaper cutting reveals all.

“For many years it has been the custom to choose a Gentleman to officiate as Mayor of Ince for the ensuing year.

“The custom originated over half a century ago and from an innocent practice, it has developed into a drunken riot.

“Immediately after choosing the ‘Mayor’ the men who joined the ceremony put ‘His Worship’ in a wheel barrow and took him to public houses in the district where he demanded drink.

“If it wasn’t supplied, the landlord was peppered with abusive language.”

The report said that the Mayor for 1887, a man by the name of James Yates of Caroline Street, was chosen for the honoured position.

One of his duties was to allow himself to be ducked in the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, following which his entourage followed suit.

This happened after the Mayor and his friends had downed as much ale as possible. Suddenly the shout went up: “Everybody to the canal.”

On the day the Ince mayor was elected, the streets were festooned with banners.

At the appointed moment, the unofficial mayor jumped into the murky canal waters, followed by four of his associates. The Mayor and three of the chaps swam safely to the other side, but one man, Alfred Hindley, drowned despite valiant efforts to save him.”

Still on the Ince scene, this report was printed in 1895: “A valuable St Bernard dog belonging to Mr Fairhurst and named ‘The Duke of Albany’ reputed to be the largest dog in the world, dropped down dead at his master’s feet on Saturday last.

“The dog had won 13 first prizes and five specials under the most prominent judges. In fact, the animal won laurels wherever shown. The dog simply had no equal.”

And finally. In Ince in 1873, a man was reported to the authorities for roasting dog carcasses on Amberswood common causing ‘an injurious strench’.