Lowerhouse History: Did you know? Part 3

The sorry tale of Mrs. Broadbent’s ear.

In July 1903, Todmorden’s pro. practising in the nets, hit a ball into Burnley Road and struck Mrs. Broadbent, wife of a Todmorden weaver on the ear, causing her injuries, dizziness, needing medical attention, and preventing her from working.

Understandably Mr. & Mrs. Broadbent felt they were due some compensation and went to a solicitor known for acting for poor people, who sued Todmorden Committee for £25 compensation. The Judge adjourned the case on first hearing, to consider whether a committee could even be liable, but said that if he found for Mrs. Broadbent, damages would be limited to £12 5s.  Todmorden offered to pay Mrs. Broadbent this sum without taking the matter any further, but the Broadbents’ solicitor advised them to hold out for more

When the court next sat and the case came up again, the Broadbents’ solicitor had made himself scarce, and it had to be adjourned.  When it came up yet again, Todmorden’s solicitor was getting fed up by being messed around and said the offer to pay compensation had been withdrawn and it was now up to the Judge, who found in Todmorden’s favour.  Incredibly, the Broadbents appealed, and the case went to London when, almost 12 months after the initial accident, after several court appearances and masses of column inches in the Todmorden press, the Appeal Court confirmed the judgement and awarded Todmorden costs.

So instead of taking a reasonable offer, made in good faith, the poor, badly advised Broadbents ended up with less than they had started with. However, there was now a legal precedent that such an occurrence, with no evidence of negligence or intent on the part of the club, was purely an accident and a cricket club could not be held liable, The Lancashire League granted Todmorden £15 towards the costs of defending the action.

White Rose Arrogance

From the Lancashire League Secretary’s Report at AGM February 1906 concerning   remarks by Yorkshire CC complaining about their professionals being lured away by the higher wages paid by the League, the Secretary said “that the Yorkshire County (seem to feel they ) should be entitled to keep a Professional at a lower wage than he can command and get elsewhere.  …Their obvious remedy is to pay a man what he is worth and we recommend them to take it.”

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