Ratepayers’ election descends into brawl

Manchester Evening News
Saturday 7 April 1894

FREE FIGHT AT A RATEPAYERS’ MEETING

Last night the annual meeting of the ratepayers of the hamlet of Wrenthorpe, near Wakefield, was held for the purpose of electing highway surveyors for the forthcoming year. The large schoolroom was so packed that many could not gain admittance, and there must have been close upon 600 men present, mostly miners. There seemed to be two parties – one consisting of the supporters of Messrs Charles Holden and Elijah Farrer, who were declared duly elected as surveyors, and the other of Mr William Morris, the defeated candidate. When the result of the voting was announced a poll was demanded on behalf of Mr Morris, but the necessary deposit not being forthcoming, this was refused. Thereupon a free fight ensued. One of the supporters of the defeated candidate picked a chair and struck another man with it, and this was the signal for a free fight in one corner of the room. All the miners rushed to this one corner, and things presented serious aspect for a minute or so, but through the timely arrival of the local police, what might have proved quite riot was prevented.