1862: Instructions for the Guidance to the Surrey Constabulary: Possibly the first detailed book of guidance for the Force. Before this date there were no definite conditions of service but in 1862 these were laid down by the Home Office. The book also included guidance on dealing with crime; the wording below is identical to that set out in the next issue of this work in 1889. The term robbery still is used as a catch all phrase for criminal activity. For extracts from this book, click here.

1862, 19 July: PC James Larke was dismissed and PC William Ryland was reduced from third to second class constable and to be removed at his own expense from Farnham to Lingfield. The two men were charged with "Apprehending on suspicion of being a deserter, Colonel, The Hon. H.H. Clifford, Assistant Quartermaster General at Aldershot without any reasonable grounds whatever on the 18 July" (day before). (Note: is this the origin of the Camberley to Caterham or the reverse for upsetting the chief constable?)

1862: Poaching Prevention Act: This was one of the most resented Acts amongst country people as it gave the police powers to stop and search anyone on suspicion. It was not unusual for the police to find some minor larceny as a result and prosecutions followed – stealing a turnip or a piece of wood.

Part of the pressure for the implementation of rural police forces was the extent of poaching and the pressure brought by the landowners. The duties of the gamekeeper and the policeman overlapped, and in many areas and probably Surrey was one, gamekeepers outnumbered the police. In Norfolk and Suffolk there were two or three times as many gamekeepers detaining poachers making work for the policeman.

In Norfolk between 1863 and 1871 two thousand poachers were fined or imprisoned and although Surrey might not have so many prosecutions (there may have been) there is little doubt that on night patrols this was a major part of beat work. Most men poached because of poverty, but class resentment and pitting oneself against the "system" and establishment may well have been a powerful motivating force.

In the main policemen were drawn from the very class of the poacher; from one Parish in Norfolk "thirty one sons of the soil have been enrolled as London policemen in thirty years – the very pick of the parish."61

The village constable was in an uneasy position in the community for while he was notionally the equal protector of all citizens' rights and property; he was in effect the representative of the landowner as George Sturt wrote about The Bourne in Surrey:

There is probably no lonelier man in the parish than the constable. One hears him mentioned in the same accents of grudging caution which the villagers use in speaking of unfriendly property-owners, as though he belonged to that alien caste. The cottagers feel they themselves are the people whom he has stationed in the valley to watch.

The conviction that there was one law for the rich and another for the poor was deeply ingrained. The village policeman rarely had to deal with serious crime; although rape and murder were not unknown, they were more likely to have to cope with poachers, fowl stealing, a fight in the pub, neighbourly disputes, with the occasional petty theft. Ricks were fired by arsonists or by itinerants with a grudge and animal maiming was not uncommon. The Victorian version of anti-social behaviour was ever present with drunken louts letting animals from fields, the breaking of fences or even the pulling down of dry walls; "beer, that filthy beer is the root of the evil".62

1864: Reigate Borough Police: 1863 saw the authority for the formation in the Borough of Reigate by Royal Charter and a year later the council formed its own borough police ... more

Every November 5, between 1820 and 1865, Guildford shopkeepers closed their businesses early, barricaded their shop fronts and prepared buckets of water to put out fires. Click here for more details.

1863, 4 November: The Times 1 December: Elizabeth Waterer found in a bedroom of the Carpenter's Arms beer house, North Street, Guildford. Sergeant Mahaig (Army) was lying at her side with his throat cut but alive.

1863, 1 December: The Times: Inquest on the body of Elizabeth Waterer found in a bedroom of the Carpenter's Arms beer house, North Street, Guildford. Sergeant Mahaig (Army) was lying at her side with his throat cut. "He was exceedingly week and looked much dejected."

Professor Taylor of Guy's Hospital at the instance of the Secretary of State had made analyses of the stomach. He found no poisonous matter, neither by chemical test nor by using the microscope could he detect strychnia. He then introduced a small amount of strychnia to test if it would be found if there and it produced the expected chemical result. He told the court that the poison that kills is usually found in the blood by absorption.

The Jury stated that the deceased took her own life on or about the 4 November and Joseph Mahaig was guilty of aiding and abetting the same. Mahaig was then committed for trial for "Wilful Murder". At the rising of the court the street was quite impassable from the crowds anxious to see Mahaig removed to the cells.

Following the trial there was discussion in the medical press over the cause of death with some convinced she was strangled and others including Professor Taylor thought she had been poisoned. The profession wanted to understand how he had found the traces of poison when his early tests were unsuccessful!68

1864, 20 February: Courier, Brisbane: Kingston Assizes: Joseph Mahaig a sergeant of the 3rd Buffs was on trial for murder of Elizabeth Waterer. Evidence showed that the two intended to kill each other but Mahaig survived. The jury found him guilty of being an accessory before the fact to the murder of the deceased woman, but recommended mercy. The judge then sentenced Mahaig to death but said he would recommend to the Home Secretary that mercy be shown. (It seems that mercy was shown as records show that Mahaig Joseph who had been sentenced to life aged twenty nine Surrey for Murder arrived on board the Racehorse in Western Australia in 1865.)

1864, 6 August: The Times: Explosion at Powder Mill at Albury: An explosion was heard in every part of Guildford and a mounted messenger arrived in Guildford to summon help. The fire bell was sounded and five minutes later the recently formed fire brigade were on their way. There was severe local damage to buildings, the serious wounding of residents and two workmen "blown to atoms" their trunks found two hundred yards from the mill, with an indentation of four to five inches in the hard ground where they landed. Haystacks on an adjoining farm were set on fire.

The massive explosion in was caused when thirty hundredweight of powder went up, killed two men in the press house and resulted in all work at the mill being suspended for three months whilst repairs and equipment replacements were carried out.

Transporting the powder was no less dangerous. In the same year a powder barge exploded on the Godalming Navigation as it was being hauled from Stonebridge at Shalford to Guildford, instantly killing the two men on board. Over the next fifteen years a further four men died, with the last accident recorded being a particularly extreme one.

The press house contained a hydraulic press and a breaking-down machine, both powered by a water turbine. One thousand eight hundred pounds of gunpowder ignited in a single shattering explosion instantly killing the two men working inside and hurling their bodies one hundred and thirty into an adjacent field. The press house’s heavy machinery was scattered in all directions and debris was strewn for over two hundred yards.69

1864: Reigate: 5 November Riots: Superintendent authorised to buy a new hat to replace the one damaged on the night.

1865, 4 October: The Times: "Tap Up" Sunday at Guildford Fair at St. Catherine's Hill. The Sunday preceding Bonfire the term "Tap Up" believed to come from the right for anyone to set up a tap and dispense beer. From this event disturbances develop culminating in the Guy Riots. ... more

1865, 25 May: GO 189: Six constables were promoted sergeant and GO 234 of the 4 January 1872 they were to receive a pay increase from three shillings and seven pence a day to four shillings a day. (The promotions are thought to be the first mention of a sergeant in the General Orders.)71

1865, 17 August: GO 191: Outbreak of cattle disease. (Note: Within GO there are numerous examples of cattle diseases, the appointment of officers as animal inspectors and even of rabies. These rural incidents were a significant part of the role of the Constabulary.)72

1865, 16 September: James William Parr Deputy Chief Constable, Attempted Double Murder at Hascombe 31 March 1866: Mary Ann Underwood Wife of William.73

1866, 1 March: The Scotsman: Lost in the floods: On Saturday afternoon a labouring man named Horton in the employ of Mr. Argent of Manor Farm, Egham, went into a field on the racecourse in order to look after some sheep. While there he noticed something in the field called "the Ride" which had been flooded during the recent inundations of the Thames. With some difficulty Horton reached the spot and found what he thought was the body of a man laying on his face with his arms and legs embedded in the mud.

He went to Egham and obtained the assistance of Police Constable Walker of the Surrey Constabulary with whom and several other persons he returned to the Ride. Upon examining the man it was found that although cold, numbed and quite insensitive, yet he breathed. He was however in a most dreadful condition.

The man was removed to the Catherine Wheel Inn, Egham where he was examined by Mr Hayward a surgeon of the town. Stimulants were administered and after a time the man slightly recovered when he was removed under the direction of Mr. Inspector Barker to the Old Windsor Union.

1866: R v Longhurst: Dorking: charged with murder of a little girl when aged 21 but said to be insane. Guildford Assizes case put back until next Assize. Could be JAS Longhurst murder a six year old girl Harriet Sax:

1866, 2 July: The Times: Attempted murder of a little girl Jane Sax in a field between Shere and Gomshall: Jane Sax had been sent on an errand across the fields when a man caught her and dragged her over a fence with dry faggots on top of it into an adjoining field, then into high standing wheat. She was stabbed in the throat partially severing her windpipe and cut her tongue.

She screamed and attracted attention and crawled away as Mr. Edser arrived and saw a man making off. Edser lifted the girl and took her to Doctor Hilliard and on his way met PC Lambert. The officer undertook a widespread search and found the man hiding in a field.

James Longhurst was searched and the officer found four clasp knives, three with two blades, and one with three blades. The suspect was then taken to the girl and the doctor and asked if he was the man that attacked her and Sax agree it was. The prisoner was taken to the lock up in Guildford in the same carriage as the little girl was taken by the doctor to the hospital.

1867, 16 April: James Longhurst was executed at Horesmonger Lane, gaol for the murder of Harriett Sax aged 6.

1866, July-August: A selection from the many entries for Hilliard for 1866 found on the Newspaper Detectives website:73

2 Jul Mr Hilliard House Surgeon, the Attempted Murder, see Longhurst Surrey County Hospital
7 Jul Mr Hilliard House Surgeon, the Attempted Murder, see Longhurst Surrey County Hospital
21 Jul Mr Hilliard Surgeon, the Late Outrage at Shere County Hospital
23 Jul Mr Hilliard The Alleged Attempt at Murder at Shere, see Sax County Hospital
28 Jul Mr Hilliard Guildford, Murder at Shere, see Sax Surrey County Hospital
28 Jul Mr Hilliard The Alleged Attempt at Murder at Shere, see Sax County Hospital
30 Jul Mr Hilliard Guildford, Murder at Shere, see Sax Surrey County Hospital
30 Jul Mr Hilliard The Shere Murder, Extraordinary Scene at The Coroner's Inquest *
30 Jul Henry Charles Hilliard House Surgeon, The Shere Murder Royal Surrey County Hospital
4 Aug Henry Charles Hilliard Surgeon, The Shere Murder, Extraordinary Scene at The Coroner's Inquest Surrey County Hospital

Note: In each case the town was given as Guildford; this has been omitted from the table above for brevity.

1866, September: A major improvement to the conditions of service in the county force was made on 13 September 1866 when one Sunday off in every six weeks was allowed. However, indiscipline seemed to continue apace with the first Defaulters Book, ending in April 1874, showed that one thousand one hundred and nineteen cases had been dealt with, one a week since the start of the Force.

Further improvements to conditions took place in January 1884 when rent allowances were mentioned for the first time. Superintendents did not appear to fare too well, as their pay had not been increased for nineteen years, other than cost of living rises.

Disseminating information throughout the force was an extremely slow and laborious business in the early days and the usual method was by post. This was regarded as very costly, however, and it was not unusual for constables to have to walk twelve miles to deliver orders. There appears to have been some limited use of telegrams. Horses were sometimes used although officers would be reprimanded for overriding their charges or going out on a wet day! Bicycles helped speed up communications and in 1895 the Force boasted a total of twenty four.

1867 outside Guildfords Police Station. The man in plain clothes in the centre is Inspector Parke.

1867 outside Guildfords Police
Station. The man in plain clothes in
the centre is Inspector Parke.

1866, 13 September: GO198: One Sunday every six weeks was to be taken as a day off – the only one – although there remained strict constraints on leaving officer's homes and what they could do.74

1867: Guildford Borough strength was one superintendent, one sergeant and ten constables.75

1868: Hansard House of Commons:76 Mr. Onslow said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his attention has been called to the case of Inspector Miller, of the Surrey County Constabulary, lately stationed at Reigate, who has been dismissed the Force, after a long and meritorious service, for subscribing to a newspaper termed the Police Service Advertiser. And whether, in his opinion, the alleged ground of dismissal is justifiable; if not justifiable, whether he will recommend the reinstatement of Inspector Miller? Mr. Gathorne Hardy said, in reply, that he had no authority whatever over the county constabulary, which was placed under the magistrates of the county.

It appeared, from inquiries made in consequence of the question of the Hon. Gentleman, that a man named Miller was dismissed by the chief constable of the Surrey Constabulary, who had absolute power to dismiss him, under, of course, the lawful authority of the magistrates. The justices, however, he understood, were about to investigate the case.

1868, 23 July: GO 207: Death of Superintendent and Deputy Chief Constable James William Parr who was attacked with malignant scarlet fever (caught it is believed in the discharge of his duty) on Friday last the 17th inst dying on Sunday 19th. The loss of this most excellent officer and upright man will long be felt and by no more by the chief constable. He joined in 1851 as a constable.77

Reigate Police in 1969

Reigate Police in 1969.

1870, 28 September: GO 220: There have been some instances where superintendents on receiving information of a robbery in their division have not always given prompt personal attention which the public and more importantly the sufferer has a right to expect.

Superintendents on receiving information of a robbery on their division will immediately proceed to the place themselves and not rest satisfied in deputising an inspector or any other subordinate officer to make those enquiries which is imperative of the superintendent to do himself.78

1870, 2 July: Howard Page received the King's Police Medal at the hands of His Majesty King George V and was among the first twenty five to receive it for prolonged service combined with conspicuous ability. In January 1921 Mr Page was made a member of the Order of the British Empire for conspicuous services in connection with the war. He served in Guildford and Farnham. On 30 April 1921 he was superannuated. His conduct during his service was exemplary and on his record it is written, "His exceptionally long service has been marked with honour, zeal and ability".

1871: Gerry Middleton-Stewart Head of Registry Services and Museum Manager Howard Page served 49 years and 7 months - nearly 50 years! He joined on 1st September 1871. Here is his service record:

Date From To
Feb 1 1872 3rd Class Constable and Clerk Second Class Constable and Clerk
Jan 1 1873 Constable 3rd Rate of Pay Constable 2nd Rate of Pay
Oct 1 1875 Constable 2nd Rate of Pay Constable 1st Rate of Pay
Sep 1 1881 First Class Constable Sergeant and Clerk
Dec 1 1888 Sergeant and Clerk Inspector and Clerk
Jan 1 1890 Inspector and Clerk Inspector and Chief Clerk
Dec 1 1891 Inspector and Chief Clerk Superintendent
Jan 13 1892 Superintendent Deputy Chief Constable

1871, 8 February: GO 232: Assisting Military Manoeuvres: An inspector is to be attached to each such division who will accompany the troops in the march in cooperation with the Metropolitan Police and Military Police.79

1871, 7 March: GO 226: Smallpox outbreak – all police officers to be re-vaccinated.80

61 Phillip, Neil (1993). Victorian Village Life, Albion, p. 112.

62 Phillip, Neil (1993). Victorian Village Life, Albion, p. 112.

68 Medical News (1864). (January).

69 http://www.weyriver.co.uk/theriver/industry_5_gunpowder.htm.

71 Surrey Constabulary General Orders Book 1 1851-.

72 Surrey Constabulary General Orders Book 1 1851-.

73 Newspaper detective's website: http://www.newspaperdetectives.co.uk/ [January 2010].

74 Surrey Constabulary General Orders Book 1 1851-.

75 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 69.

76 House of Commons Debate, 31 March 1868, volume 191 c572, 572.

77 Surrey Constabulary General Orders Book 1 1851-.

78 Surrey Constabulary General Orders Book 1 1851-.

79 Surrey Constabulary General Orders Book 1 1851-.

80 Surrey Constabulary General Orders Book 1 1851-.


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