Guildford 1951

1951: Tony May: In 1951 after being posted to Guildford from the Training School at Sandgate I discovered that Guildford was divided into eight beats with One Beat being the High Street which was sacrosanct. The only time a probationer was allowed there was during the night meal break from 2-2.45 am. As we met and passed under the Guildhall clock the magic words "All correct" were passed.

Number Two Beat was Woodbridge Road and London Road, Three and Four Beats were Farnham Road and Onslow Village, Five and Six Bellfields and Stoughton and Seven and Eight were Merrow and Burpham. Quite often beats were doubled up and I can remember sometimes there were perhaps only two or three Probationers on nights plus the experienced PCs on One Beat and station officer.

At that time there were many of the old "Borough Force" constables and sergeants still serving such as 'Tiny' Burbridge, 'Tiny' Oliver, Ernie Klieser, 'Digger' Field, Charlie Barham and Sergeants 'Nutty' Almond ' Piggy' Proffit, 'Shaky' Williams, 'Mick' Feehan, Don Eldridge and of course Bill Leahy. No disrespect but nearly everybody had a nickname in those days George Lock was one of the inspectors.

Sometimes you were met by the sergeant or inspector. At one of the 'points' on the corner of Manor Road and Stoughton Road there was a house called "Just Here." When the sergeant said 'Book me five just here' many fell into the trap including me the first time.

I can very well remember my first ever night duty, standing at the corner of Clandon Road and London Road by the phone box around about 1 am when the railway signal arm in London Road Station dropped down with a clang and nearly frightened me to death. In those days steam was still the order of the day and one could hear in the dead of night the shunting going on at the main station all over town and from about 4am the railwaymen starting to walk to work with their lanterns.

In Woodbridge Road police station the superintendent would arrive about 9 am and immediately take the 'Day Book' into his office for half an hour whilst the station officer would have to make notes on scraps of paper until it was returned.

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