I have already featured the Winsford Waterman’s strike when the watermen went on strike, and the Salt Union brought strike-breaking workers to fill in.

This caused riots to such an extent that the army was brought in, and the Riot Act had to be read. When more modern public disorder occurred, like the Liverpool and Manchester riots, local yobs around the surrounding towns took advantage to have a go themselves.

So, this also happened at the time of the Watermen’s strike in Winsford in 1892.

On Sunday, September 4, 1892, police sergeant Maddocks was on duty in Wimboldsley at 2.30pm. He was in Minshull Vernon opposite the Verdin Arms pub. Locals still knew the pub as The Plough as the name was only changed to the Verdin Arms a year earlier.

While the sergeant was in the road, he saw about 20 men coming towards him. As he got closer, he heard one of the men say: “Here’s the sergeant coming, let’s give him a good hiding”. The sergeant went into the Verdin Arms to serve the landlady with a notice; this was his reason for being there.

Minshull Vernon station

Minshull Vernon station

When he came out of the pub, the men were gathered outside and shouting such things as: “Get off to Winsford and look after the Salt Union”. Someone pushed into him, and he received a blow to the face that cut his lip. Stones were thrown at him, and some hit his hat, which was cut open, injuring his head; others struck his body, causing further injuries.

The sergeant managed to run back into the pub and the tenant Sarah Broad locked the door behind him.

They surrounded the pub and shouted for the landlady to let them in. She would not be hurt, but they were determined to murder the officer.

When she refused, and the mob found that they could not get in, they smashed every window on the ground floor. One of the men got through an open window with a knife in his hand, shouting that he would cut the sergeant to pieces.

The Verdin Arms pub where Sergeant Maddocks sought refuge from the mob

The Verdin Arms pub where Sergeant Maddocks sought refuge from the mob

The intruder opened the front door, and the men got in most waving knives and started to search for the officer. He was hiding in a chest, and they could not find him. The pub had just undergone extensive renovations before the name change from The Plough to The Verdin Arms suffered extensive damage at the hands of the intruders.

This story will continue in next week’s Looking Back article...