1902: Exchange telephone lines to Surrey Police Stations appear in the National Telephone Company’s directory.1

1902, 15 October: The Scotsman: The Regulation of Automobiles: At the Surrey Quarter Sessions, Kingston-on-Thames, yesterday the Earl of Onslow proposed the following resolution: "That in the opinion of this Court it is in the interests of the public that the police should in their efforts to secure the observance of the regulations as to light locomotives on the highways, devote their attentions to preventing danger to passengers and traffic from the fast driving of motor cars in villages and populous places and around sharp corners rather than securing any fixed maximum of speed regardless of traffic and other conditions." Lord Onslow in criticising the actions of the Surrey police said they often acted in an underhand way to obtain convictions against motorists. On a show of hands the resolution was lost by a large majority.

Superintendent Collis and his groom PC Saunders.

Superintendent Collis and his
groom PC Saunders.

1903, 19 January: The Surrey Standing Joint Committee wrote to the Commissioner (See 1898 entry) indicating that the principal stations in the county had been connected by telephone. The Committee stated that the telephone had proved to be of great assistance to the Surrey Police and again suggested a link with the adjoining District of the Metropolitan Police. In due course this was to happen along with links from the Metropolitan Police to a range of Forces and institutions.2

1903, 31 July: William Alexander, 49 years, Superintendent of Police, was found dead at the Police Station, High Street, Dorking.

1903 Epsom Derby: Today's newspaper contains a yard or so of reading about a spring horse-race. The sight of it fills me with loathing. It brings to my mind that placard I saw at a station in Surrey a year or two ago, advertising certain races in the neighbourhood. Here is the poster, as I copied it into my note-book:

"Engaged by the Executive to ensure order and comfort to the public attending this meeting:

14 detectives (racing),
15 detectives (Scotland Yard),
7 police inspectors,
9 police sergeants,
76 police and a supernumerary contingent of specially selected men from the Army Reserve and the Corps of Commissionaires

The above force will be employed solely for the purpose of maintaining order and excluding bad characters, etc. They will have the assistance also of a strong force of the Surrey Constabulary."3

1904, March: A serious railway accident occurred as a troop train was passing through Gomshall Station. Although the engine and two coaches were overturned and smashed after the engine had left the rails, no one was killed but several soldiers and the driver and fireman of the train were severely injured. The troops were a draft of the Northumberland Fusiliers bound from Gravesend to Plymouth for embarkation to Mauritius. When the crash occurred the train was travelling at nearly forty miles an hour.4

1904, 17 April: Wrecclesham, Farnham: A man was beaten and died his body being found the following morning in River Row. The head of the young male victim had severe wounds and the throat cut. PC Hayland was on the scene twenty minutes after the discovery of the body and immediately undertook a search. He found a cut hazel stick with blood and hair on it. Near the stick was the victim’s hat. His pockets had been turned out but the PC found a letter from a girlfriend in Alton.

The victim, from Oakhanger, was sixteen year old George White an under-groom on a local estate. A suspect Frank Fry aged eighteen was soon identified and found to have blood stains on his clothes, the hazel stick was similar to those in the yard where Fry worked and his knife had blood on it although it had been cleaned. He had been seen following the victim and his girlfriend on the night of the murder and it became known that there was jealousy over the girl. It was not blood on his clothing Fry said but paint but gave no account for blood being on his knife or for the scour marks indicating that the knife had recently been vigorously rubbed.

On the day of the funeral as the procession reached the church at Oakhanger a group of constables stood to attention and saluted the remains of the young man.5 At the inquest the Coroner expressed his extreme frustration that so much evidence at the scene had been destroyed by onlookers, particularly footprints had been obliterated which were at that time one of the best means of identification of a suspect. Fry appeared before the court in Farnham Town Hall and was found not guilty. No one else was ever charged with the murder.

1904: New lamps issued oil not electric like the Metropolitan Police and could be blown out and as set out in a letter to Police Review; the heat engendered was so great that they were a source of illness.6 Electric lamps were never issued to the Force and oil lamps were still issued long after people stopped using them. The matter was finally settled in 1925 by paying a lamp allowance.7

1905, 24 September: Murder in Merstham Tunnel: At 1045 pm Sunday 24 September, Permanent Way Inspector Peacock entered the tunnel and four hundred yards in found the body of a young woman. ... click here for more

1905, June: Edward Priestly Letter to the editor taken from The Surrey Herald: "Sir, Let me make an appeal to the inhabitants of Egham and Englefield Green with regard to their toleration of the most selfish and wicked tyranny that has ever been inflicted on the people of this country by the rich. I mean of course "the motor curse". Surely, the owners of motorcars have committed enough murders ... . Everywhere I find indignation, but the people have become slaves of a formula "the motor car has come to stay". Twenty miles an hour is a monstrous pace to legalise on our roads, and the people should see to it, that no motorcar capable of going at a greater speed than ten miles per hour is allowed to run. To fix any legal limit without rendering a greater pace impossible is quite futile, for the motor car has revealed an amount of heartless scoundrelism in the country of which we had no previous notion." I am sir etc. George M Minchin

1905: At the beginning of the 20th century motorists were keen to test out their new and increasingly powerful motorcars. A new police chief had been appointed in Surrey, and the AA was formed by motoring enthusiasts to protect the interests of their fellow road users from what they saw as persecution of motorists. Chief Constable Captain H M Sant, was overly enthusiastic in enforcing the first speed limit for roads that had been introduced in 1905, and set about establishing regular police speed traps along straight stretches of road to catch speeding motorists. The AA encamped a safe distance ahead of the traps to warn motorists in Godalming, Wisley and Cobham, and much of Captain Sant's effort was duly thwarted. As the diary of the Bow-Wows Motor Cycle Club reported in 1914 "Motorists proceeded quietly to Godalming where a halt was called to see everyone safely through the trap which was observed to be working with its usual weekend vigour."

1906, 11 June: One sunny afternoon in June two elderly maiden sisters Miss Mary Anne Hogg aged sixty eight, and Miss Caroline Gwinnell Hog aged sixty two, were found by a postman in their house Heathfield, Camberley, where they had lived alone for some years.  ... more

1906: Approximately the Great Storm in Guildford.

The Great Storm of 1906


1906: GO: An order was issued forbidding constables to use their bicycles for the purpose of patrolling or attending conference points. It was never intended that these should be used in the performance of ordinary police duties. Many are the stories told of men riding their bikes to points and hiding them. The sergeant knowing this would walk back with them to near their residence some three or four miles away and would then say "Good night; if I were you I would go back for your bicycle now in case someone steals it."9

1907: Murder in Bayswater of the founder of Whiteley Village, Weybridge. The millionaire philanthropist William Whiteley left a substantial bequest in his will which, after his murder in 1907, provided for the building of a remarkable self-contained village for needy pensioners. The village near Weybridge was designed by six different architects resulting in a unique community set in two hundred and twenty five acres of beautiful woodland.

On 24 January 1907 the wealthy owner of a large Bayswater department store, William Whiteley, was shot dead by a young man claiming to be his illegitimate son. Horace Rayner had shot Whiteley in his office. Immediately afterwards he attempted to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head.

In court, public sympathy swung behind Rayner who, blind in one eye and in obvious pain, claimed to be Whiteley's natural son. This claim was strengthened by scandalous revelations about Whiteley's private life. Far from being the personification of moral rectitude, as most people had believed him to be, he had been partial to seducing his shop girls, including both Rayner's mother and aunt. Rayner was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was reprieved by the Home Secretary and served twelve years, dying just two years after his release.

1907, 28 November: The Scotsman: Motorist fined for attempting to bribe a policeman: At Surrey Assizes yesterday William Nelson Barmborough of Prince's Hotel, Jermyn Street, London, an American, was fined £60 for having attempted to bribe Constable Miles Surrey Constabulary after the constable had stopped the defendant's motor for excessive speed.

Inspector Matthews, Weybridge Division, at the entrance to Brooklands Race Track, 9 May 1908.

Inspector Matthews, Weybridge Division, at the entrance to Brooklands Race Track, 9 May 1908.

1908, 29 June: The Times: Lord Russell was summoned at the Guildford County Petty Sessions for having driven a motor car at Thursley at a greater speed than 20 mph. Sergeant Stevens stated the defendant’s speed was thirty six miles per hour and he ran over a dog. The driver had previous speeding convictions and was fined £10.

1908, 29 July: The Times: Summonsed for perjury: PC Thomas Edwards and PC James Butler of the Surrey Constabulary were charged with perjury following a case of speeding. The case was defended by the force as this was a part of a campaign by the influential and the motoring organisations against speed enforcement. Both charges were dismissed.

1909: The Beehive confectionary shop in Dorking caught fire in the night. The screams of the lady of the house woke PC Savage who lived close by and he dressed and went to the shop. Discovering the cause of the alarm he aroused Mr. F Hudson who is superintendent of the Fire Brigade and the fire extinguished with buckets of water before any considerable damage was caused. The lady was carried alive from the premises.10

1909, April: Dorking Advertiser11: Promotion: Chief grounds for complaint of members of Surrey police force seems to be that promotion in the force is purely a matter of seniority no matter how great the intelligence of a constable he cannot hope to be made a sergeant until he has been a certain number of years in the force and even then he occupies the same position in his chief’s eyes as the officer whose qualifications are nothing out of the ordinary. The present position is all the more unsatisfactory from the constable's point of view, because the hope is held out to him when he joins the force that he may hope for promotion before the thirteen years are up. It has been suggested that a constable should be eligible for promotion after ten years service and that an examination should determine how the vacancies which occur from time to time should be filled, a suggestion which seems a reasonable one.

Reigate Borough police, 1909.

Reigate Borough police, 1909.

1909, November: The Scotsman: Police medals: The King has been pleased to award the new Police Medal to a large number of members of police forces and fire brigades in the United Kingdom and India. Surrey recipient was Superintendent and Deputy Chief Constable Howard T. Page, Surrey Constabulary.

1910, February: Mr P Palmer of Bridge Street, Leatherhead has again undertaken the collection of a Christmas box for the police attached to the local station and all subscriptions should be sent to him will be gratefully received. There is no need to dilate on the excellent work of the local police as it is well known how courteously and satisfactorily they carry out their duties and residents of the town will welcome the opportunity of showing their appreciation of their services in a practical manner.12

1910: Weekly Rest Day Act passed giving one day off a week but was not adopted in Surrey until 6 July 1914 and required an increase of fifty officers to cover the loss of hours to patrol.13 In GO 600 22 June 1914 the chief constable made it clear that it was a day of rest and that officers should do nothing on that day that militate against the object of the Act. It was also pointed out that the day was granted "save on occasion of an emergency", and this may mean occasionally the day would be lost but he was sure would be accepted in the proper spirit. In the event of a man wanting to leave his detachment on his rest day he must make the usual application to his superior officer. Should he remain in his detachment and any emergency occurs he will have to perform his duty as a police officer.14

Woking Division, 7th March 1910.

Woking Division, 7th March 1910.

1910, 19 July: Murder of unknown man at Blindly Heath. Stanton Hall Farm 19 July, the body of a man was found in cattle shed attached to Holland’s Barn in Hare Lane. The victim was aged sixty to sixty five with injuries to the head, arms and legs. A Y shaped wound on his forehead and severe bruising to the left eye, and nine fractured ribs. The man was unknown and presumed to be a tramp An Inquest eventually charged Henry Francis Smith with "Wilful Murder". On his fourth appearance before Oxted Magistrates Court he was discharged. The Director of Poublic Prosecutions thought this unsatisfactory and Smith ended up at the Assizes in Guildford but the Judge said the whole thing was unsatisfactory and entered Not Guilty and Smith was discharged.

1910, 27 October: The Times: Horley Murder Charge – Case Dismissed: At Reigate County Bench James Dwane was charged with the murder of showman Christopher Odam at Horley on September 14th. Evidence was given by Alfred Seymour who saw the two men fighting and Dwane fell and struck his cheek on a potato box wiping the blood off his face with his coat sleeve. Dr. Wilson a Home Office analyst found spots of Mammalian blood on the prisoner's clothing and some of the stains were probably smears. The magistrates considered there was not enough to send before a jury and the case was dismissed.

1910, about: A fatal rail accident between Chilworth and Gomshall. A troop train became stuck near Postford and the assisting engine sent to help ran into the back killing the Guard and a number of soldiers. A commemorative Yew tree clipped like a Bird (Known as Jesse's Seat) was planted in memory of the Guard and is still there today.15

1910, 24 December: The Scotsman: Houndsditch Murders: Three More Detentions: In connection with the Houndsditch Murders three men were detained last evening by police. No charge was made against either of the men detained on Thursday. The body of the man Gardstein found in the house in Grove Street has now been removed to the City mortuary and placed in a special chamber for the preservation of bodies by the use of formalin.

Funeral of Constable Choat: The remains were laid to rest in Byfleet Churchyard yesterday afternoon of Constable Choat one of the officers shot in the Houndsditch tragedy. Detachments of the City, Metropolitan Police and Surrey police and firemen from the town and villages took part in the mournful procession, which included the police band playing the funeral march. The deceased was buried beside the grave of his mother who was interred only sixteen days before. There were one hundred and fifty wreaths including one from the Lord and Lady Mayoress.

1911, 18th July: Murder of a 10 year old Amy Reeves and placed in a dip hole on Chertsey Common. The initial impressions were that she took off her boots and stockings and left them on the grass beside a shallow pond at Longcross ... more

1911: First mention in Force records of the Special Constabulary.17

1911: Tony Collman Coronation Police Medal 1911 County and Borough:

Guildford Borough Police: Ex-Sergeant George Clarke, Sergeant James John Turner.

Reigate Borough: Chief Constable Mr James Metcalf, Inspector Fred Howlett.

Surrey Constabulary: Chief Constable Captain Mowbray Lees Sant, Deputy Chief Constable Howard John Page, Superintendent George Boon, Superintendent Arthur Simmonds, Inspector William Rands, Inspector William Faulkner, Inspector Robert George Barnard, Sergeant William Tytherleigh, Sergeant Edgar Brooks, Sergeant Frederick Percy, Sergeant Albert Philip Dixon, Constable John Slemmings, Constable Henry Boon, Constable Albert Samuel Carter, Constable Stephen Avenall, Constable Thomas Osbourne.

1 Bunker, John (1988). From Rattle to Radio: History of Metropolitan Police Communications, Brewin Books, ISBN-10: 0947731288, ISBN-13: 9780947731281, p. 124.

2 Bunker, John (1988). From Rattle to Radio: History of Metropolitan Police Communications, Brewin Books, ISBN-10: 0947731288, ISBN-13: 9780947731281, p. 105.

3 Gissing, George (1903). The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, Archibald Constable & Co.

4 Dorking Advertiser (2009). Yesteryear feature (March 26).

5 Maxton, Caroline (2005). Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Guildford, Wharncliffe Books, p. 40.

6 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 28.

7 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 30.

9 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 27.

10 Dorking Advertiser (2009). 100 years ago, (February 26).

11 Dorking Advertiser (2009). 100 years ago (April 2).

12 Dorking Advertiser (2010). 100 years ago (February 4).

13 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 28.

14 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 28.

15 http://website.lineone.net/~alan.c.edwards/chilworthtalk040228.html [25 January 2010].

17 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 72.


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