1915, 30 January – Batley News

This is a round-up of pieces from the Batley News relating to the parishioners of St Mary’s. As usual I have put in bold the names of those connected to the parish who served with the military.

Spellings and punctuation are exactly as written in the newspaper.

The first piece is a follow-on from last week’s death notices, about the death of baby Bridget MacNamara. Her death was the subject of an inquest.

No Cause to Blame Midwife.

Pneumonia was said to be the primary cause of death at an inquest on Bridget Agnes MacNamara, 51, Bright Street, Batley.1 The mother stated the child was born on January 10th, and progressed favourably until the 18th, when its breathing became irregular, and the infant passed away on the 21st. Dr. A. G. S. Broughton said a post mortem examination revealed signs of pneumonia. – Emma Mitchell, certified midwife, 35, Peel Street, Batley, gave evidence of her attendance at the birth.

The Coroner said there was no cause why the jury should blame the midwife.

A verdict “that the child died from acute pneumonia probably aggravated by the loss of blood shortly after birth” was passed.

In this week’s Death Notice column, the following were relevant to St Mary’s:

BURNS. —On the 21st inst., aged 3 months, William, son of John Burns, 42, New Street.

BRESLIN. —On the 25th inst., aged 54 years, Ellen Breslin, 5a, Cross Bank Road.

LEACH. —On the 25th inst., aged 69 years, Mary Leach, 6, Fleming Street.

The last death was a notable one amongst the local community generally, and especially the Batley St Mary’s one, so much so that it warranted three other pieces in the paper: – a news in brief; an obituary; and a funeral report.

First the news in brief piece:

The death of Mrs. Leach, landlady of the Foresters’ Arms, Upper Commercial Street, who had been in the trade 47 years, is much regretted. She conducted her business in a community which presents many difficulties, but even the roughest patrons fell under her influence, and her house was wonderfully well conducted. It was said many years ago by a former police superintendent that Mrs. Leach was worth half a dozen policemen in her own neighbourhood, and there was never any occasion to lessen that tribute.

The obituary piece devoted to formidable landlady Mary Leach read as follows:

Notable Batleyite’s Death.
Mrs. Leach’s Prowess in Maintaining Good Order.

A notable Batley resident – Mrs. Mary Leach, the oldest licensee in the town, and a prominent figure amongst the Irish community – passed away unexpectedly on Monday. Deceased, who was 70 years old, had a licensing experience dating back to 1868; and at her last house, the Foresters’ Arms, Churchfield Street, she had quite a reputation for being able to control merry-makers with firmness and success.

Born in County Mayo, Ireland, she was brought to England at the age of six, and eventually settled in Batley. She married the late Mr. John Leach, who was well-known and highly respected, and after holding the license of the old Wheatsheaf in Well Lane, for a couple of years, Mr. and Mrs. Leach removed to the Foresters’ Arms. For 21 years they jointly managed the house successfully, and after the death of her husband, Mrs. Leach continued the business – for 26 years – until her demise. She was on duty on Friday.

“Owd Mary,” as she was familiarly known, was something of a character. Although she let customers know she was “the boss,” geniality always permeated her commands, and during nearly half-a-century of association with the trade she never had a black mark against her. In fact, a former police superintendent once declared that Mrs. Leach was as good as six policemen in the Churchfield Street district!

Mrs. Leach leaves one son, three daughters, 36 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Her only surviving son is Sergt. Thomas Leach, of the Leeds Police Force, and a former Batley and Hunslet forward; whilst are daughters are Mrs. B. McDonald (Batley), Mrs. A. Gallagher (Batley), and Mrs. M. E. Crosby (Morley).

And finally the funeral coverage, including a list of mourners:

THE FUNERAL OF MRS. LEACH, of the Foresters’ Arms, whose death is reported on Page 6, took place yesterday at Batley Cemetery, the Rev. Father P. McBride being the officiating priest. The principal mourners were Mr. and Mrs. P. MacDonald (daughter and son-in-law), Mrs. Gallagher (daughter), Mr. J. Gallagher (grandson), Mr. and Mrs. T. Leach (son and daughter-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. L. Crosby (son-in-law and daughter), Misses M., Annie and Nellie MacDonald (grand-children), Mr. J. E. MacDonald (grandson), Mr. and Mrs. J. Gallagher (grandson and granddaughter-in-law), Misses Annie, Teresa, and Nellie Gallagher and Masters Frank, Willie, and Eddie Gallagher (grandchildren), Misses May, Kate, Mary, and Bridget Leach and Master John Leach (grandchildren), Masters John, Willie and Harry Crosby and Miss May Crosby (grandchildren), Misses Annie and Mary Leach and Master Michael Leach (grandchildren), Mr. and Mrs. T. Kilgallon (nephew and niece), Mrs. Bridget Brennan (grand-niece), Mr. M. Leach (nephew), Miss K. Leach (cousin), Mrs T. Gallagher (niece), Mrs. W. Wilkinson, Mrs. Lister, Mr. and Mrs. B. Haley, Miss M. Fell, Mrs. Exley, Mrs. W. Gettings, Mrs. Healey, Mrs. B. Rowan, Mrs. P. Adams, Mrs. T. Carroll, Mrs. J. W. Richardson, Mrs. T. Townsley. The Licensed Victualler’s’ Association was represented by Councillor J. Rodgers, Mr. C. Thewlis and Mr. B. Hinch. The following represented the BatleyIrish National League: Messrs. T. Gavaghan, M. O’Hara, J. Harkin, J. Colleran and M. Conley. Mr. T. Stead and Mr. J. W. Newsome (tradesmen) were also present. Wreaths were sent by:— “Sorrowing children”; “All the Grandchildren”; Maggie Fell and Tom Wood; Mr. and Mrs. Roberts; Mrs. Chadwick; Mr. and Mrs. J. Halloran (Birstall); Mrs. Whiteley worth, Mrs. Boocock, and Mrs. Fletcher.

The finally item this week brought news of Patrick Mara, a former St John’s Ambulance man connected with St Mary’s, was now helping with the transport of sick and injured servicemen.

Two former members of Batley Ambulance Brigade – Sergt. P. Mara of Cross Bank a member of the staff of No. 1 hospital train; and Private J. Pride, of Howden Clough, who is attached to H.M.T. Plassy – have spent leave in the district this week.

1. The death notice in the paper of 23 January gave the family address as 31 Cross Peel Street. That corresponds with the Batley cemetery burial register. Bright Street bisected Peel Street, and was sometimes referred to as Cross Peel Street. It appears there is a typographical error in this edition of the paper with the number 51 entered in error for 31.