Then Mount Street. … where lived…..
Jonty tries to batter Butters??
One evening in March 1879 Jonathan visited the Town Hall to collect payment from Mr. Fay the Ventriloquist who was appearing there and whose visit Jonathan had posted around town. However an altercation developed between the billposter and John Butters, assistant to the ventriloquist.
This led the latter to appear at the Petty Sessions, defending himself against a charge of assaulting Jonathan.
Conflicting evidence centred on the use of the town crier’s bell.
John maintained that Jonathan had arrived at the Hall far from sober – can you believe it!?! — clanging his bell, and when told to be quiet, swung it in the direction of John’s head. The latter’s quick reactions diverted the ‘missile’ but only into the face of his assailant, causing blood to flow.
Jonathan was adamant that he had not used his instrument as an offensive weapon, had not struck out at the assistant, and was the innocent and injured party.
Unfortunately for ‘Jonty’ several witnesses supported the alternative version of events and the case was dismissed.
Jonathan was left pondering how he was to get payment for the work he had done for Mr. Fay.
In May 1883 Mr. Fay was appearing at Victoria Hall, Sunderland, entertaining between 1500 and 2000 children, with conjuring tricks, talking waxworks and ventriloquism, living marionettes and various illusions.
What a rare delight for so many children so used to toil and tedium, entertained for a few hours of enjoyable escapism.
At the end of the performance, Mr. Fay and his assistants began to throw small treats to the excited, cheering children in the stalls but those in the gallery, thinking they were being overlooked, headed down the stairs to join in the fun.
As the tide of these frenzied children flowed down the staircase, a narrow bolted doorway faced them.
The pressure of the throng made opening these doors impossible and a crush developed which those at the top of the stairs were unaware of. The pushing continued as the children fell head over heels, piling on top of each other, their young life being crushed from those at the bottom.
183 children, mostly ages seven to ten, but two of them just three years old, died in the tragedy.
In April 1881 Jonty’s wife Ruth died at their Mount Street home, aged 73.
Six months later a cricket match was organised at the Rutland Recreation Ground in aid of the ‘Old Trot’ when almost £1 was collected at the ground.
“’Trot’ has for forty years been the servant of everybody – never refusing to become a messenger by night or by day, on life or death, and his honesty during this long period of public service has never been questioned. As a bill-poster, the town-crier, and ‘Pioneer’ news vendor he has also done the public great service, and we are glad to see his old townsmen know how and when to appreciate such services”. (IP)
The subsequent contributors included many of the main tradesmen of the town and they raised the total amount to £5 2s 3d which allowed Jonathan to buy a good winter suit of clothing, from head to foot.
Jonathan hoped that “his remaining days will be spent in increased comfort at home and in the continued service of those who have befriended him, as well as the public generally”.
His new suit of clothing had to last eight years of ‘remaining days’.
Jonty Trot about 1888 (courtesy of Ilkeston Reference Library), modelling his new ‘Winter Suit’?? .. no longer so ‘new’?
In July 1889 Jonathon, aged 82, died at the home of his daughter Maria and her husband, Charles Amos, in Trueman Street ‘having succumbed to the combination of diseases which appeared to afflict his latter days’.
Brother Thomas Bostock.
One of Jonty’s elder brothers was Thomas alias ‘Yellow Tom‘, “a thoroughly honest and thoroughly true, hard-working, reliable and strictly honourable man, and a staunch friend to all who needed his sympathy and aid”.
Thus he was described by the Telegraph for whom he acted as an ‘agent’ — though he also earned a living as a cowkeeper.
In his later years the outdoor life had not led to good health. Tom often complained of headaches, had difficulty in breathing, coughed a great deal, frequently spit blood, and suffered a swelling in his stomach and pain in his side from an accident.
One evening in September 1869 he came home after bringing in the milk, had a cup of tea with some bread and butter, and then left for his club at the Market Tavern. There he sat chatting for a few minutes with carter Thomas Lee, and suddenly died of ‘disease of the heart’.
He was 60 years old.
Jonty Trot was one of a pair of relatively aged ‘Jonathan Bostocks’ living in Ilkeston.
The other was known as ‘Jonty Dido’, — or simply ‘Jont’ or ‘Dido’ — a coalminer ten years older than Jonty Trot and who lived most of his life in Chapel Street.
In December 1822 he married Edith Keeling, daughter of West Hallam framework knitter Francis and Ann (nee Shaw), and separated from her several years before 1871. On the census of that year he is at Bath Street Place while his wife is living as ‘a widow’ in Ebenezer Street with her youngest child David, her married daughter Harriet and the latter’s husband Henry Sills.
Edith did become a widow in May 1874 when Jonty Dido died at Bath Street Place, aged 74.
His funeral was a bleak affair.
He had no friends or relatives willing to carry his body to its grave so that the parish had to supply this service.
Acting as undertakers, the Local Board provided a manure cart to transport his body to the Church where the Board’s roadmen then took it to the grave.
At the graveside there were but two ‘mourners’, one being his widow, though there were many spectators of the funeral cortege.
Edith was a widow for just over a year. She died at Cotmanhay in June 1875.
Another town crier
A predecessor of ‘Jonty Trot’ was ‘Old Billy Deverill’ … William Deverill who died in Moors Bridge Lane (later Derby Road) in 1845, aged 85
“What a voice he had when anything was lost, stolen, or strayed !! I was going to say, you might have heard him from one end of the town to the other. At the sound of his bell we used to flock round him, to hear the news. Being blind, he had no paper to read. His street orations were, therefore, all extempore. His quaint remarks very frequently provoked a deal of laughter from the bystanders. We used to make fun of him as he carried his lantern, when going to ring the eight o’clock bell, at the Church: there was no fear of his seeing a ghost : he would have been glad to have been able to see one”…… thus wrote ‘Progress’ in the Ilkeston Pioneer (IP Apr 1853)
And Jonty’s neighbours.