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Jenkinson & Bow of Salford
Noise Nuisance, 1836
Michaelmas Court Leet: Presentments - Nuisances:
'John Thompson, jun., appeared on behalf of Mrs. Bayley, the owner of some houses in Parsonage, and complained of the annoyance to which the people in that neighbourhood were subjected by the working of a forge belonging Messrs. Bow and Jenkinson, on the Salford bank of the river. The forge, he said, had been recently erected ; the hammer, which was worked by a fourteen-horse engine, weighed from two to four tons, and the noise which it occasioned while at work in the night, prevented all the people in the neighbourhood from sleeping. They had no objection to its being worked in the day, although the noise then was sufficiently disagreeable, but they wished to be protected in the enjoyment of their natural rest at night. Mr. Charlton, whose house is in North Parade, at least four hundred yards from the forge, said it was quite impossible to get any rest in his house while it was at work, and the noise was so great that it. might be heard in St. Anns-square — Another witness, whose name we did not hear, caused a good deal of amusement by the manner in which he gave his evidence. He said that had lived in a house on the Manchester bank of the river forty years, and before this forge was erected he did very comfortably, for he could hear four clocks strike as he lay in bed, but since this hammering began he could not get a wink of sleep, and could hear neither clock nor watchman the neighbourhood was a very bad one, as several thieves had been transported from it, and there were many others who ought to be, but this noise gave them every chance of escaping from the watchmen. He had not had a wink of sleep all last night for it. He had to go down stairs to his bed-room, and if the gentlemen had seen him coming from his bed that morning, they would have laughed at the figure he cut, for he had his head wrapped up in towels to drown the noise! He thought that it was "the most iniquitous thing that had ever been done to mankind," and then it cast such a "glare into the elements at night that it terrified some of the neighbours as much as if it was some particular fiend rising out the earth.". He had spoken to Mr. Bow about it, and the only consolation he got was, that he would get used to it ;— but he should never get used to it, he should be dead first. Some of the jury appeared to doubt whether this wonderful noise really was as bad as was represented, and one or two of them said they frequently passed over Blackfriars Bridge at night, and had never heard anything of it—Mr. Charlton offered to accommodate any of the jurymen with a bed if they would lodge with him for a week, and then they would have an opportunity of judging for themselves ; but none of them seemed inclined to accept the offer. The jury, after some further discussion, laid a fine of 5s., with a penalty of £50 if the nuisance is not abated in one month.'
Later - lighter hammer, lighter fine!.....
Salford Court Leet - The Affeering
'On Monday last, the Affeerers appointed at the Court Leet met at the Salford Town Hall, for the purpose of hearing the defences set up by the persons who had been fined, and of fixing the amount of penalties be paid by them……
Mr. Bentley, on behalf of Messrs. Bow and Jenkinson, appeared to answer the complaint against their forge-hammer, to which such marvellous properties had been ascribed by the witnesses at the Court Leet, said that its weight was only two tons three cwt., and that it fell with a force of 15cwt. They had been trying to abate the nuisance, and intended to build a wall so as to confine the sound as much as possible to their own premises. Mr. John Williams, of the Blackfriars Inn, said that the effect was such as to prevent the travellers who stopped at his house, from sleeping, and many of them had given him notice that if the nuisance was not abated they would be obliged to stop elsewhere; in fact, he should be under the necessity of giving up his house. Mr. Lambert, Mr. Smith, and other persons stated that it was impossible to get any rest while the hammer was at work and one witness, in reference to the abatement of the nuisance which was said to have been made, remarked that it was true the noise was less in some respects, but every third or fourth stroke was heavier, which made it quite as bad for persons who wished to enjoy a sound sleep. Mr. Bentley said that similar things were allowed at Bilston, Birmingham, and other large towns, and they were only an annoyance when they were first put up; as a proof of this, some of the witnesses had stated that the hammer was not at work last week, but he was prepared to prove that it had been work all week. With reference to the evidence which had been given that the noise could be heard in St. Ann’s-square, Mr. Bentley said it might be heard two miles and a half off. The affeerers were of opinion, that a wall was about to be erected to confine the sound, the neighbours ought to be satisfied until the next court, when the matter might be mentioned again, or they might in the mean time prefer an indictment at the quarter sessions. The fine was reduced to one shilling.'