Scandal hits the Kite in Oxford in 1899


Saturday, April 1st 1899
: Jackson’s Oxford Journal

SERIOUS ASSAULT IN MILL-STREET

Algernon Porter, cab driver, 2. Luther-street, St. Aldate’s was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Mill-street on Tuesday; he was further charged with assaulting George Borman, Elizabeth Borman, and Mark Molyneux, at the same time and place. – Prisoner pleaded not guilty. – Mr. A. Walsh prosecuted on behalf of Mr. Borman, the landlord of the Kite public-house, Mill-street, who he said was so seriously hurt that he was unable to attend. He had a doctor’s certificate, stating that Borman would not be able to appear for a week, and Mrs. Borman was also confined to bed by her injuries. He therefore asked that the case might be adjourned. – Mr. Fisher, who appeared for the prisoner, agreed to this course. – Remanded till Wednesday. – Mr. Fisher made application for bail, which was refused.

Wednesday.

Before Mr. W. Brain (in the chair), Aldermen Cooper, Saunders and Wilson and the Sheriff (Alderman Bacon).

THE MILL-STREET ASSAULT CASE

Algernon Porter, cab driver, of 2, Luther-street, St Ebbe’s, was charged with being drunk and disorderly in Mill-street, St. Thomas’, on Tuesday, March 21st; he was further charged with assaulting George Borman, landlord of the Kite public-house, Mill-street. Elizabeth Borman, his wife, and Mark Molyneux at the same time and place. Prisoner pleaded not guilty.

Mr. Gordon Walsh appeared on behalf of Borman and his wife, and Mr. H.J. Fisher defended the prisoner.

The charge of being drunk and disorderly was first proceeded with.

P.C. Harriss stated that he was on duty outside the railway station on the 21st March, about a quarter-past four, when he was called to the Kite publichouse in Mill-street. He went there and saw Porter, and asked what was the matter, and he replied that three or four men had been attacking him. Witness went inside, and saw the landlord, who was in a frightful state. His face was bashed about, and blood was flowing from it. The prisoner followed him into the house, and Borman said to witness, “I give that man in charge for assaulting me.” Witness told Porter he would have to go to the police-station, and he had better go quietly. He replied that he did not know that he should, and added that as witness was a big man he should not mind having a “go” at him. He came at him, and witness went for him and got him down and handcuffed him. He took him to the station, and he was very violent on the way.

By Mr. Fisher: Prisoner was mad drunk. Witness did not hesitate very long about putting him on his back, but this would not pacify him altogether. On the way to the station he heard someone offer to take the prisoner in a cab, but he took him on foot as he did not want to take the responsibility of any damage that might have been done to the cab.

The charge of assult was then gone into, and in opening the case, Mr. Gorden Walsh said that Porter visited Borman’s house on the morning of the 21st, and they went out together. Porter called again at the “Kite” some little time after three o’clock, and Borman noticing that he was drunk, refused to serve him with the brandy and soda which he had called for. Porter appeared to have become enraged at this, and to describe it in a few words, practically cleared the house. Walsh described the prisoner’s violence in detail, and said he had failed to find any justification for the assaults, as there had not been any provocation of any sort or kind. The only reason appeared to be that he was refused drink, which Borman was perfectly right in doing. He might say on behalf of Borman and his wife that they had not the slightest vindictive feeling against Porter in the matter, but as the propietor of the licensed premises he was bound to take notice of any disturbance which took place in his house for the sake of his licence. The assaults were more serious than those which generally came before the Bench, and the question of punishment was for the magistrates to decide. He would ask them to bear in mind that Porter was not an ignorant man, but a man of education, and one who ought to have known better than to do what he did.

Alfred George Borman, landlord of the Kite Inn, said he had held the licence of that inn for seven years. He knew the prisoner well. On the morning of the 21st he came to his house sober. He had a glass of port wine and they left the house together. They went to the “Old Gate House,” where they had a a drink together. Witness, accompanied by Porter, then went to the brewery to do his business, where they had a glass of bitter. They afterwards met two friends of the prisoner, and went to the “Anchor,” where they had another drink together, and he then left him. He next saw him about 3.30, when he came to his house in an intoxicated condition. He asked for a brandy and soda, but witness refused to serve, and invited him to have some dinner with him. He refused, and went in and kicked the dinner over. Shortly afterwards witness went out into the yard and saw Molyneux washing his nose uder the tap. Read was also in the yard with his hand to his face. Prisoner was stripped out, and as soon as witness went out prisoner hit him between the eyes, and before he could recover struck him again, kicked him down, knelt upon his ribs, and again struck him. His injuries were so serious that he had to call in a doctor and keep his bed for several days. They had always been good friends, and he could not understand why prisoner treated him in this way. Prisoner also assaulted his wife, and she was being medically attended at the present time.

Cross-examined: They had always been good friends and there had been no quarrel between them. The meeting in witness’ house was not the result of a quarrel that had been patched up. There was no suggestion of “tossing” for drinks, although on the previous Monday they had done so. He had his dinner when his business permitted, and it was not unusual for him to have his dinner on the table at 3.30 untouched. He did not keep champagne in the house, although he had done so. Witness did not make any remark that he had been fortunate at “tossing”. There was a man who was in the Navy in the house on Monday, and he and the prisoner “tossed” for a bottle of champagne, but he heard no suggestion made of cheating. Mr. Hitchings had attended him before for bleeding of the nose, but on this occasion it bled from the result of prisoners’ blow. He was not a quarrelsome man, and his wife at present did not bear marks of his violence. It was not alleged that Porter caused her black eyes, as they were caused by falling out of a chair, which the doctor would prove. Witness and prisoner did not knock Molyneux down. The assault on Molyneux took place in the taproom at 3.30, but the constable did not arrive until 4.15. Before he saw Porter he was not aware that his wife had been assaulted. Witness was perfectly sover, and had not had a considerable quantity of drink.

Re-examined: There was no “tossing” in his house on this day, so far as he knew.

Mr. Robert Hitchings, M.R.C.S., said he had known Borman for two years as a patient. He was called to see him on the 21st. He had several contusions on his nose, and his face had marks of blows on it. He suffered from bleeding of the nose for most of the night. Witness sent him to bed, where he remained until the following Saturday. He was of opinion that the injuries might be the result of the blows described. He also attended Borman’s wife, who was suffering from gastric catarrh, and was unable to attend the court. He believed she had been subject to fainting fits. He had examined Mrs. Borman, and found two marks on the lower part of the woman’s body, which might have been caused by a blow or a fall.

Cross-examined: He did not suggest that the gastric catarrh was caused by the prisoner. Mrs. Borman said the marks on her eye were caused by a fall. He thought Borman had had some drink; he should not say he was a full-blooded man. He had seen bruises on people’s faces caused by boxing. He had previously attended Borman for bleeding of the nose, but on this occasion it was acute and not chronic. On this occasion there was also a contusion of the nose, and blood seemed to come from the stomach.

By the Magistrate’s Clerk: He found no bruises on the prosecutors’s ribs.

Mark Frederick Molyneux, of Clarke’s-row, St. Aldate’s, said he went to the “Kite” about 3.30 on this day, and heard prisoner call for a brandy and soda from the tap-room. Borman told him a good dinner would do him more good, and invited him to have some with him. Witness looked into the taproom and saw prisoner kick the fender over with some plates that were on it. Mrs. Borman, on hearing the crash, went into the taproom and asked what he was doing. Porter put up his elbow and caught her across the chest. She fell across the table and then on to the floor. Prisoner asked witness if he could fight, and he replied that he was not a fighting man. Prisoner then struck him between the eyes, breaking his nose. Witness went into the yard and washed his nose under the tap, and while he was doing this Read was struck in the left eye by Porter. Borman came out, and Porter “went for him” and knocked him about. Witness told prisoner he would kill him if he was not careful, and witness then went for a policeman. He had been medically attended for the injury to his nose. He first went to a chemist, who sent him to the Infirmary because his nose shifted from side to side.

Cross-examined: His nose was not yet better but there was not much the matter with it.

Joseph Read, baker, said he went to the “Kite” at 3.30 p.m on the 21st for a drink. Porter, who was the worse for drink, was refused a brandy and soda by the landlord. Witness went into the yard and saw Molyneux at the tap. He asked him if he could do anything for him, and Porter then struck him in the eye, although he did not say a word to him. Borman then came out and told Porter not to act such a fool, and prisoner then struck him several times and knelt on his ribs.

Mr. Fisher, addressing the Bench for the defendant, said if Porter had not been such a strong man as he was physically he would not have been there that day, and if the constable had used the tact which most policemen did and not preferred to take the bull by the horns by handcuffing him, he might have taken him to the station in a different manner. With respect to Borman, he did not desire to press the charge against the prisoner, and although he was quite right in refusing him drink if the prisoner was drunk, he thought he was courting danger by going out into the yard and telling him not to act the fool instead of sending for a constable, and what he got was partly due to his own indiscretion. With respect to Mrs. Borman he did not think the Bench would attach any importance to that charge and would dismiss it, as there was no evidence before the Court that she bore any marks of bruises consequent on the assault by Porter. In dealing with the case the Bench would not forget the stigma that was already attached to prisoner’s name by having been mixed up in a drunken brawl, and that is was also a disgrace to the prisoner and an old family name for having been hauled through the streets of Oxford with handcuffs on. They also would not forget that he had already been in gaol under these charges for eight days, and that was a stigma, which would attach to his name.

The Bench retired, and on their return into Court, Mr. Brain said they had decided to dismiss the charge against the prisoner of assaulting Mrs. Borman. The Bench were very sorry to see the prisoner in the position in which he was, but they thought it a most serious offence. They also thought that P.C. Harriss acted excellently in discharging his duty in the way he did. The Bench also desired him to say that they did not consider that Mr. Borman courted danger by going out into the yard. They had decided that for the assault on Borman, he would be sentenced to one month’s imprisonment with hard labour, and for the assault on Molyneux to 14 days’ hard labour, the sentences to run consecutively.

Considerable interest was manifested in the case, there being a large attendance of the public in the Court.

Upon the prisoner being removed to the cells under the court, he suddenly threw himself over some railings, and fell a distance of several feet; he sustained rather severe injuries to his head, back, and one arm, and was not able to be taken to the prison for nearly an hour.

Network Rail explains transparent bogs

I RECENTLY made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Network Rail.

Thing is, I was down to meet some bods in King’s Cross and, before I headed back to Oxford, realised I needed a wee.  In King’s Cross proper, you have to pay money to get access to a bog, but I remembered that if you walked a few hundred feet, the bogs in St Pancras International are free.

But after I’d had my wee, my little brain started thinking about how it would be if elderly and foreign folk like yours truly didn’t have spare change to “spend a penny” – or 30 pence to 50 pence as it is on Network Rail stations these days. Public toilets seem to have disappeared.

Network Rail’s reply is interesting, and you can find it here. I will follow this up.

NR has a transparency policy and it does make a profit on its bogs, if you take the time to read the reply.  But, it insists that any money it makes is spent on “improving the facilities”.

It wants to discourage “illegal activities” and that’s why it’s thrown up barriers, although, let’s face it, 30 pence or 50 pence is hardly going to be a barrier to illegal activities in a bog.

I mean, call me cynical, but really Network Rail doesn’t give a toss about its customers and its bog policy, far from being transparent, is pretty damn opaque. 

Onsey – you can now vote

THERE IS an election here in West Oxford this coming Thursday, the 5th of May, in West Oxford.

So far we’ve only had three communications from candidates – from Ms Muddiman (Green), from Jason Fiddaman (Tory) and from Colin Cook (Labour).

We do feel Colin should possibly have spell checked his – he is a candidate for Jericho and Osney.  But as you can see below, Colin spells Osney as Onsey and has a photo of himself outside Halfords in the Botley Road, demolished some time ago.  It is now a Waitrose shop.

Colin Cook

And Jason’s document reveals no personal information about himself – just a photo which looks like maybe he might need a) a shave and b) a better high resolution picture.

Jason Fiddaman

We’ve had nothing from the Liberal Democrats yet.  We’d like to make it clear that we are commenting on the documents from an editorial, rather than a political perspective.

Here is Lois’ Green party thingie, and here is our local Tory MP Nicola Blackwood MP, with a perfect colour picture from Conservative Central Office  showing her gift of gravitas.  Poor Jason!  

Nicola Blackwood

muddiiman

Crime wave hits Banburyshire

A WAVE OF CRIME is sweeping across a place called Banbury and it’s affecting Oxford and Bicester too.

As you can see from this story in the  Oxford Mail, criminals are receiving tough love from the authorities in what’s obviously a major crackdown at the home of the Banbury Cake.

We’re not entirely sure why Banbury residents Emma Ashburn and Marie Biston got fined more than two other folk in Bicester and in Oxford.  But, rest assured, Google, sorry BBC vans, are watching you. ♥

Tony Dennis: 15 October 1956 to 15th February 2016

Tony Dennis in the Wheatsheaf

Tony Dennis in the Wheatsheaf

 

This is the text of a tribute I made to dear Tony Dennis at his funeral on the 7th of March 2016. Later we adjourned to his local, The Wheatsheaf, in Ewell,  where we all drank to the health of his family, friends and many colleagues.

Tone the Phone beer

 

“I talked to Tony Dennis just a few days before he died. He was cheerful, optimistic, even enthusiastic about the future and had a writing project lined up that sounded full of promise. We were going to meet up in the near future, a future that he was never to see.

“I couldn’t imagine then that just three weeks later I would be standing here in front of his family, his friends and his colleagues, paying this small tribute to him and his memory.

“I first met Tony in, I think 1989, when I was editing a weekly magazine for IDG. That would be the same year I first met the very lovely Dave Evans who we’ve also lost. The three of us became the best of friends over the years at one period meeting every Monday, for many years, in one or other of our favourite pubs in Soho or Fitzrovia.

“Tony was unfailingly kind and helpful to his colleagues and would go well out of his way to make people feel comfortable and to give them useful guidance if they were new to the world of tech journalism. He was just kind.

“He was tremendously popular with his journalistic colleagues and that’s shown by the outpouring of tributes to him on social media. I know that he had a wide circle of friends outside journalism and no doubt they feel the same grief as we hacks do.

“I will miss Tony Dennis hugely but have nothing but the fondest memories of him. I’m sure that’s the way we all feel. I will never forget him.”

The Wheatsheaf, Ewell

Row breaks out at Oseney “island” lock

Furious residents in the very posh Osney Island that worried about flooding because of a hydro-electric scheme, are understood not to be assuaged by the response of the trustees to accusations.

Osney island used to be a term attributed to the area around the monastery at the end of Mill Street, described in a saucy tale by Chaucer.  But, suddenly, in the early 1900s, the original island became “new Oseney”, even though “New Oseney” is really old Osney. Both areas, in general, used to be places rented to the “working class”.

Prices in the new Osney, that is to say Osney Island, are beyond the dreams of most people. Even in the old Osney, that is to say in Mill Street and environmens, they would give most people an attack of the heebie-jeebies.

David Hammond, who describes himself as an Osney Island resident, hit out at accusations that the hydro scheme could cause flooding.

In a document seen by Volesoft, Hammond said: “Dear All,

“I think it is a shame that this helpful Island communication link is being used to circulate misinformation about the Island’s Hydro scheme.

“These are the facts.

“There is no danger whatsoever that the Hydro will cause flooding. Everything is totally within the control of the EA, certainly not with “shareholders or do gooders”. In fact the Hydro has the potential to assist matters in the event of a flood. Sometime [we expect this summer] the new Radial Gate will become fully automated & so directly communicating with the Hydro.

“To be specific about last Thursday’s shutdown of the Hydro. The Hydro group were meeting at 9.00pm to discuss removing debris from the trash screen, and noticed the generator had shut down at 7.30pm. Several of us immediately went down to the lock to investigate. Ray was called but said he was off duty and gave us a Teddington number to phone. After a number of phone calls Ray’s boss managed to persuade him to alter the radial gate to normalise river levels. However AT NO TIME WAS THERE ANY RISK OF FLOODING. The EA is fully aware of what is happening to river levels at all times. On Friday the Hydro consultant rectified a minor software problem.

“The bigger picture is that when Osney Sustainable Island Group [OSIG] started this venture, nearly 15 years ago and long before Osney Mill turbine was even thought about, the Island was canvassed to find out what support there would be for a local Hydro scheme. The Group received an overwhelming mandate to proceed. However the Group needed to receive the EA’s agreement and support at every step of the way, and together with the required Planning approval, capital investment and a lot of volunteer input, things of necessity have moved quite slowly.

“We are only too aware that the site looks unfinished at the moment. Due to the unusually dry summer the Hydro has not been able to run and therefore generate the income as expected – up untill now. Now there has been some rain the Hydro is generating on average 40kw; it has reached over 32,000kWh in the last 5 weeks, and is providing an income of around £300/day through the FIT. However in the short term Osney Lock Hydro still need to raise a little more capital to complete the scheme so that it is fully landscaped and open to the public with interactive information panel. [And it would be nice to catch the graffiti vandals before that happens!]

“As a final point we would welcome anyone who is interested in helping us clear the trash screen to keep the Hydro running at full capacity. At the moment we have a small working party but would be very grateful for any offers of additional help.”

Hammond added in his communication to osneyislandresidents@gmail.com: “I think it is a shame that this helpful Island communication link is being used to circulate misinformation about the Island’s Hydro scheme.”

Earlier, other Osney Island residents complained. One resident said: “I think the EA have made a dreadful mistake in allowing the hydro experiment, however well meaning it was intended to be. The hydro below Osney Mill was already established and working fairly well. The land between the island and the lock has never looked worse. The weirs that it has displaced were effective controls to the river’s flow.

“As to the building itself? Words fail me. Ski lift?
Will it’s output heat a kettle for the workers in the EA yard where the output is now directed?

“I have enjoyed boating on the Thames for about 40 years. I dare to suggest that I understand it a little. Oh for the Thames Conservatory, how they are missed! J”.

Ray who manages the Lock, could not be contacted at press time.

The BBC won’t talk about religion

THE UK is becoming increasingly secular and culturally diverse, but the BBC continues to pursue a mostly Christian agendum.  Every morning, BBC Radio 4 starts with a prayer for the day, and during the Today programme, there’s a religious slot at about 12 minutes to eight called Thought for the Day.  The speakers are usually Christian clergy, although every so often, a Sikh, a Muslim or a Hindu or a Jew gets the slot.  There’s never an atheist, an agnostic and we haven’t heard a pagan yet.

Sundays are particularly tedious with a programme on religion between 7:10AM and a religious service kicking in on Radio 4 at 8:10 AM, forcing me to switch to the BBC World Service.

I decided to make use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) to see if BBC management could shed any light on the matter.  My request was declined because the BBC appears to believe that religious content is exempt from the FOI Act because it’s journalism, art or literature.

Here’s the text of its reply, below. 

————————————–>

Dear Mr Magee,
Freedom of Information request – RFI20151825

Thank you for your request to the BBC of 1st November 2015 seeking the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000: ‘Every Sunday, BBC Radio 4 seems to fill the airwaves with religious broadcasts, mostly of the Christian persuasion. I would like to ask the BBC why it feels the need to do this, specifically as this country is increasingly secularist and hardly anyone goes to the church on Sunday, if they even believe in the church. Is this a function of the BBC charter? And what’s the justification for doing thought for the day on BBC Radio 4 Today every weekday without including atheistic and agnostic ideas?  Thirdly, who picks the clergy to deliver thought for the day?’

The information you have requested is excluded from the Act because it is held for the purposes of ‘journalism, art or literature.’ The BBC is therefore not obliged to provide this information to you and will not be doing so on this occasion. Part VI of Schedule 1 to FOIA provides that information held by the BBC and the other public service broadcasters is only covered by the Act if it is held for ‘purposes other than those of journalism, art or literature”.

The BBC is not required to supply information held for the purposes of creating the BBC’s output or information that supports and is closely associated with these creative activities.1 The limited application of the Act to public service broadcasters was to protect freedom of expression and the rights of the media under Article 10 European Convention on Human Rights 1 For more information about how the Act applies to the BBC please see the enclosure which follows this letter. Please note that this guidance is not intended to be a comprehensive legal interpretation of how the Act applies to the BBC.

(“ECHR”). The BBC, as a media organisation, is under a duty to impart information and ideas on all matters of public interest and the importance of this function has been recognised by the European Court of Human Rights. Maintaining our editorial independence is a crucial factor in enabling the media to fulfil this function.

That said, the BBC makes a huge range of information available about our programmes and content on bbc.co.uk. We also proactively publish information covered by the Act on our publication scheme and regularly handle requests for information under the Act.

Appeal Rights
The BBC does not offer an internal review when the information requested is not covered by the Act. If you disagree with our decision you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. Contact details are: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF telephone 01625 545 700. http://www.ico.org.uk Please note that should the Information Commissioner’s Office decide that the Act does cover this information, exemptions under the Act might then apply.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Burns Head of Group Operations BBC Radio