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Alan Baird

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    Melrose Scottish Borders

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  1. Hi, Here is some info and thoughts about William Piddington a known friend of Edward Watkins...…...
  2. Hi, There was an extremely interesting article written approximately a decade ago and was titled ''City Beat. City PC 881 Edward Watkins'' by Neil Bell and Robert Clack. Even although the article was produced in August of 2009, it covers much of what has been discussed here and is a definite required read if you are interested in Edward Watkins. It allows you to read all the information in a logical and progressive fashion. It is another source of information so I have listed it here. Go to...……... www.ripperologist.co.uk Back Issues Number 105.
  3. Hi, Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins in action... Between 9 and 10pm on Wednesday evening, on the 23rd of December in 1885, Thomas Knowling Edwards aged 52, met Clara Turner aged 23. It was a casual meeting, as they had never met before and Clara asked Thomas to stand her a drink since the night air was rather cold and so he agreed to this request. Thomas Edwards was a married man who was employed as a foreman shipwright at the Chatham Dockyard and resided at 19 Station Road in Camberwell. Their encounter took place near the Hercules Public House, in Leadenhall Street. John Lashbrook the keeper of the Public House remembered them coming in at approximately 10.15pm. Thomas bought Clara a port wine while he had a whisky and although he was not drunk, he had been in two other Public Houses before meeting Clara. Thomas paid for the drinks with money from his purse which contained between 5 and 6 gold sovereigns. A short time later Thomas caught Clara's hand in his trouser pocket and although her hand was empty, when he checked his purse, it was also empty. Thomas called Clara an, 'infernal thief' and the constables were sent for...... Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins arrived at the Hercules Public House just after 11pm. Thomas called Clara a thief and Clara denied having anything that belonged to Thomas. Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins asked Thomas if he was prepared to lay charge of theft against Clara and Thomas replied, 'that he was not.' Thomas was afraid that the exposure to this incident might cause him great harm as he was a married man. There was nothing more that Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins could do and so he left the Public House. Shortly after this, Police Constable 913 Thomas Overton arrived and Thomas Edwards realised that he would have to authorise the charge of theft, if he wanted to get his money back. Clara Turner was taken to the Police Station and her bag was searched and five gold sovereigns, a sixpence and seven pence in bronze were found. There was also a comb and a pencil which belonged to Thomas and which were also found during the search. Clara Turner was charged with theft/pocketpicking at her Old Bailey trial, on the 11th of January in 1886. Clara Turner was found guilty of the charges and was sentenced to 10 months Hard Labour. Observations……………………... Thomas Edwards although he was not drunk, admitted that he started drinking from 5.30pm that evening. Thomas was also transfixed on what people would think of him, if the incident became public knowledge. Under these circumstances Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins acted professionally by making it clear that unless a charge of theft was put forward, then nothing else could be done. Later when Thomas Edwards first appeared in front of a magistrate, he confusingly and wrongly stated the incident had occurred during the afternoon. This evidence was then corrected. There is also his wife's divorce petition which was registered on the 6th of December in 1877 which stated ''Thomas Knowling Edwards was habitually intoxicated, used violent and threatening language and frequently neglected and refused to provide her with common necessaries. It was also stated he had committed adultery and became infected with a veneral disease.'' Therefore he does not appear to have been married in 1886 but may have worried more about what his employer would have thought, regarding Thomas being involved in this incident. In the England Census of 1881,Thomas K Edwards, aged 47, his occupation is recorded as being ''Foreman of Yard, Admiralty Chatham'' and he was residing on his own at 68 Front Row Ordnance Place, in Chatham. Although Clara Turner obviously did rob Thomas Edwards, either she was one of the finest pocketpickers in London or Thomas Edwards was more affected by alcohol than suggested. Clara took several items from his trouser pockets without Thomas ever noticing. It would appear replacing his empty purse was one act too many. Thomas K Edwards dies in 1890 and left the remainder of his estate to his ex-wife.
  4. Hi, One of the last cases that Detective Chief Superintendent John Robertson was requested to investigate had, ''security officials in a fine old flap.'' It involved a robbery at the Tower of London in 1972. Lord Maclean, the Governor of the Tower of London, considered the situation so serious that he telephoned the Lord Chamberlain regarding the robbery. Detective Chief Superintendent John Robertson was then assigned to the case. The theft was from a locker in the Warden's mess which was located approximately 10 feet from where the crown jewels were on display. Security officials feared that if this robbery was not solved, it could be a prelude to the theft of the crown jewels. According to one member of the Tower staff, ''all hell broke loose,'' when the warden's tea money which amounted to £10 in a tin, was stolen from the locker. Detective Chief Superintendent John Robertson closed the case following the resignation of a member of the Tower house staff. This must be the most famous case involving stolen tea money and the case was closed when the ''tea leaf'' was caught. Alan.
  5. Hi, This is a more modern story of a senior Metropolitan Police Detective...………...Detective Chief Superintendent John Robertson. John Robertson's parents were John Smith Alexander Kidd Huston Robertson and Williamina Morrison Ramsey and they married in Forfar, in Angus, on the 29th of December in 1908. The family then moved to Glasgow where John Smith Alexander Kidd Huston Robertson became a Glasgow Police Constable. Their son John Robertson was born in Glasgow on the 2nd of April in 1912. In approximately 1933, John Robertson joins the Metropolitan Police and he would have been 21 years old. On the 31st of July in 1938, Police Constable John Robertson transferred to the fingerprint branch of the C.I.D. department at New Scotland Yard. In the England Census of 1939, we find that John Robertson is recorded as being a Police Constable in the C.I.D. department at New Scotland Yard. The family are residing in the family home at 72 Wickham Road, in Deptford. John Robertson's wife is Ethel Mabel Robertson [maiden name Gooch] and his mother-in-law Ethel Maud Charlton [previously married to Arthur Edward Gooch - deceased] and Sidney Gooch [brother/son/brother-in-law] is also residing there. John Robertson served in the Metropolitan Police throughout the 2nd World War and was awarded the Defence medal. In approximately 1959, Inspector John Robertson was awarded the Police Long Service and Good Conduct medal and it is engraved to 'Insp. John Robertson.' In late 1964, John Robertson gave evidence in the trial of Ronald John Cooper [26] for the murder of Joseph Hayes [67], as a New Scotland Yard fingerprint expert witness. Ronald John Cooper held up the Joseph Hayes a ship repair company director and his wife Mrs Elsie May Hayes and stole £2,000. During the robbery he shot Joseph Hayes dead and wounded Mrs Hayes. He then fled the country but was located in the Bahamas and brought back to stand trial for his crimes. Ronald John Cooper was found guilty and sentenced to death which was scheduled to take place on the 27th of January in 1965 but this was then commuted to life in prison. This action was take because the British Parliament was about to abolish capital punishment. Ronald John Cooper served just under 15 years before being released. John Robertson continued to serve in the fingerprint branch at New Scotland Yard for approximately 34 years and attained the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent and was also the Deputy in charge of the fingerprint branch of C.I.D. at New Scotland Yard. Detective Chief Superintendent John Robertson retired from New Scotland Yard and the Metropolitan Police in 1972, having served 39 years and reached the mandatory retirement age of 60. Along with John Robertson's medals we have the family medals belonging to Ethel Mabel Robertson's father, 'Arthur Edward Gooch.' [1] British War medal 88963 AWO Cl 2 A E Gooch R.E [2] 1914-15 Star 88963 Spr A E Gooch R.E. Arthur Edward Gooch joined the British Army on the 27th of March in 1915 and became Sapper 88963 [later to WR/283605 with the 234th L.R. F Way Company Railway Battalion, Royal Engineers]. In November of 1918, C.S.M. Arthur Edward Gooch was admitted into the 14th General Hospital suffering from influenza/pneumonia and died from this condition on the 5th of November in 1918. Ethel Maud Gooch remarried in early 1920's and became Ethel Maud Charlton. John Robertson is an extremely high ranking Metropolitan Police officer but it was still quite difficult in finding additional information on him. Probable the main point of this entry, is that if the family medals had not stayed together, the whole story of John Robertson Metropolitan Police career would have been lost. [I have typed this directly in and so I hope I have not made too many mistakes] Alan.
  6. Hi, This is another story from the Police career of George Endean but this time it comes from the year of 1912 and he is now a Sub Divisional Inspector. [I tried to paste this several times on the station cat listing but it just would not go on and so I decided to try under the PC 881 Edward Watkins heading. Not sure what I was doing wrong but it has attached now so I will just leave it at that. I hate typing.] 'Metropolitan Police Inspector Emanuel Geake, Sub Divisional Police Inspector George Endean and a Divisional Police Surgeon Felix Kempster, first on the scene at a tragic incident and working together.' 'Shocking discovery in a Battersea home.' On Monday morning, on the 26th of August in 1912, Metropolitan Police Inspector Emanuel Geake, on hearing a whistle blowing followed the sounds to 5 Gaines Cottages, in Sheepcote Lane, in Battersea. There he found Mrs Mary Ann Fox, in her nightdress, aged 30 and suffering from cut wounds to her neck which had been badly bandaged and which he quickly adjusted. Mrs Knight a neighbour had attempted to stop the bleeding with the original bandaging. There was evidence Mary Ann Fox had taken poison by drinking some 'spirits of salts which is the old fashioned name for hydrochloric acid. Inspector Emanuel Geake administered an emetic to induce vomiting so that Mary would bring up as much of the poison as possible. Shortly afterwards Sub Divisional Inspector George Endean and Divisional Police Surgeon Felix Kempster arrived and found 2 children in the scullery suffering from knife wounds to their throats, another two children were then found unconscious on their mothers bed and also had similar wounds. There was also fears that the children may have also been given poison. The children's ages ranged from 9 years old to 6 months. Mary Ann Fox and her 4 children were taken to the Anti-Vivisection Hospital where they lay in a precarious condition. George Fox who was the husband and father of the children, was not in the house at the time of the incident. George Fox worked as a dustman and was employed by the Holborn Borough Council. Divisional Police Surgeon Felix Kempster praised the quick actions of Inspector Geake as having saved the life of Mary Ann Fox. A recently sharpened blood stained table knife was found on the mantle-piece in the bedroom. Later..... at the time of the original article going to press, the mother and 2 of the children were making good progress but the other 2 children were in a grave condition. The children were George aged 9, Harry aged 4, Nelly aged 2 and the baby Kate was 6 months old. On Saturday the 21st of September in 1912, at the South Western Police Court, in London, Mary Ann Fox was charged with 'attempting to murder her 4 children' and a further charge was added of 'attempting to committee suicide.' The prisoner was very weak and was allowed a seat in the dock. Mary Ann Fox's son George, aged 9, was brought from the Battersea General Hospital to give evidence to the court. All four of the children were still in the care of the hospital. George in a low voice told the story of what happened that day whilst his mother sobbed through-out her little son's testimony. Doctor Armstrong Smith, House Surgeon at Battersea Hospital described the condition of the children, that they had suffered from incised wounds to the throat which involved the skin and the superficial veins but not the muscles. The children are doing very well and in a fair way to recovery. The prisoner condition was much more serious due to taking the poison. The court then heard that the sister of the prisoner wished to make a statement and this was granted. Mrs Kate Gale, Mary Ann Fox's sister who also lives in Sheepcote Lane gave the following statement. The previous night she had witnessed George Fox, the prisoner's husband, came home the worse for drink and using fowl language, then he throw out his wife's coat and hat in the street and told her to get out. Mary Ann Fox walked to the end of the street much distressed and it seems this type of behaviour had been occurring regularly especially over the past few nights. Mary Ann Fox was sent for trial to the Old Bailey Court and it was scheduled to take place in December of 1912 but all charges were dropped as Mary Ann Fox died from her internal injuries due to the hydrochloric acid she had previously taken. The strength of the hydrochloric acid was at a commercial level. This was quite an unusual event for all the first attenders to this incident, to be either senior members of the Metropolitan Police or a Police Surgeon. They worked well together to prevent the situation becoming an even greater tragedy than it was.
  7. Hi, Thanks for that Gordon, as I had never heard of the ''Battle of Cable Street'' very interesting and policed by 6,000 officers, that is massive. It just shows the tensions that were around in 1936 and building up to the start of the Second World War in 1939.
  8. Hi, The reason I put this entry under PC 881 Edward Watkins is that when I was considering getting the medals, I hesitated because I thought the murders were too horrific. It actually put me off wanting to own them but then I thought the real story is about the Policemen who prevented further murders by evil individuals such as Edgar Edwards. When you are talking about such extreme crimes then obviously individuals like Jack the Ripper are at the of the list and Policemen like PC 881 Edward Watkins who tried to catch him come to mind. I wonder if Jack the Ripper had been caught and hanged like Edgar Edwards, if the story would still hold as much interest as it does today. These medals were sourced in America which along with Australia and Canada, I believe, are the best places to keep watching for the occasional special finds. Another connection is that PC 881 Edward Watkins medal was located overseas in the same way. 'A truly horrific crime of the triple murder of the Darby family.' In December of 1902, Edgar Edwards aged 44, was a petty criminal that had just been released from prison after completing a five year sentence for housebreaking. John William Darby [26] and his wife Beatrice [28] and their 3 month old daughter Ethel, were all residing at 22 Wyndham Road, in Camberwell. John Darby managed his grocery business from the premises and it was advertised for sale in the local papers. Edgar Edwards responded to the advertisement and while John Darby was sorting out the paperwork, his wife Beatrice was showing Edgar Edwards the living quarter above the shop. Edgar Edwards took advantage of the situation to beat Beatrice to death with a sash window weight. Edgar Edwards then smashed John Darby's head with the same sash weight and then used sash window cord to strangle the baby. There is also other reports which say he used a hankerchief to strangle the baby and it was still tightly bound around the baby's neck when Police eventually discovered her little body. The bodies were placed in a locked room above the shop and Edgar Edwards got an old friend James Goodwin a hunchback and his wife to run the shop and they had strict instructions not to enter the locked living area quarters above the shop. Edgar Edwards then pawned John Darby's gold watch and chain and with the £7 he received, then rented a property at 89 Church Road, in Leyton. Edgar Edwards then cut up the bodies of the Darby family and placed the remains in sacks and transported them to 89 Church Road. There in the back garden he dug a deep five feet hole and buried the remains. Edgar Edward decided to continue his interest in this new style of employment and actually wanted to own a chain of grocery shops and of course without ever making any payments for the businesses. Therefore he invited Mr John Garland, an old grocer from Godrell Road, Victoria Park who was also advertising the sale of his grocery business, to visit him at 89 Church Road, in Leyton. There he severely beat the old man with another sash window weight which was wrapped in a newspaper but this time a passer-by heard the screams and the Police were called. John Garland had previously been a prize fighter in his younger days and that fact and because of his fitness, is probably the only reasons he was saved from being murdered. The Police were immediately suspicious of Edgar Edwards and his story soon started to unfold and the Police began to dig up the back garden at 89 Church Road, in Leyton. After digging down several feet the Police were considering stopping the operation. Edgar Edwards had taken the Darby's family pet black terrier dog with him to 89 Church Road and it was the dog that started to dig down further on the spot where the Police were working and so the Police continued the search until they found the sacks containing the body parts of the Darby family. The baby's body was found in a sack surrounded by the limbs of her mother. It is said that even hardest and most experienced Policemen found the discovery extremely distressing. At his Old Bailey trial on Thursday the 12th of February in 1903, Edgar Edwards attempted to feign insanity and he acted out strange behaviour throughout his trial but the court was having none of it. Edgar Edwards had pre-planned all his evil deeds and was declared sane to stand trial. The Police Surgeon Doctor Jenkins confirmed that John and Beatrice Darby had died from fractured skulls which were caused by repeated heavy blunt force trauma to the head and that the baby had died by strangulation. On Friday the 20th of February in 1903, Edgar Edwards was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging which was then carried out on the 3rd of March in 1903. Police Sergeant George Endean was responsible for drawing up the plans for the Old Bailey trial of Edgar Edwards. The plans would have also have indicated all the blood splatter that was found on the bedroom walls and the blood that had seeped through the floorboards to the ceilings below. It would have indicated where the blood stained sash window weight and blood stained saws were found in the house etc. There was even still human hair stuck to the sash window weight. George Thomas Endean, [born Devonport on the 21/1/1872] joined the Metropolitan Police on the 10/4/1893 as a Police Constable with 'L' or Lambeth division, warrant number 78503 and retired on pension on the 2/8/1920 as a Sub Divisional Inspector with 'V' or Wandsworth division. [Served as an Inspector in 'H' or Whitechapel division for several years until 1907 and involved in a number of other incidents as a Sub Divisional Inspector etc.] Here we have his Queen Victoria Metropolitan Police Jubilee medal for 1897 and awarded to 'PC G Endean L divn' and his Metropolitan Police Coronation medal for 1911 and awarded to 'Insp. G Endean.' The group is missing his Metropolitan Police Coronation medal for 1902. Alan.
  9. Hi, The sketch done of Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins was just so good, that there was only one course of action.....so I got it framed....and here it is. It is now approximately just a couple of inches under 2 feet in length and approximately 16 in width. Hope you like it. Alan.
  10. Hi, I totally agree with you, I was amazed at the price it went for and it might be very difficult to research since he only served two years and his service is right between the two England Census dates ie 1891 and 1901. He was hardly in the door and then he was out again. Don't really understand that one?
  11. Hi, Alas my theory has a fatal flaw...…….. Police Constable Edward Watkins served in the Metropolitan Police from the 31st of October in 1870 to 15th of May in 1871. The England Census of carried out on the 2nd of April in 1871 so Police Constable Edward Watkins was a Metropolitan Police Constable whilst boarding with the Greggs family at 2 Great Charlotte Street in Christchurch in Southwark. He applied for the City of London Police on the 22nd of May in 1871. He signed the Declaration for joining the City of London Police on the 25th of May in 1871.
  12. Hi, Craig's observation ''and he gets a certificate for Good Conduct'' got me thinking from another perspective. Actually when you examine Edward Watkins City of London Police career, nearly all of his misdemeanors occurred during his first five years of service. Then over the next twenty years, Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins, was only involved in one incident which occurred in 1889. Although being a Victorian Policeman was considered a stead job, it was also considered a low paid job. In fact by 1890, their pay had fallen so much that the Government had to increase their pay by 15%, just to bring them up to some kind of basic standard. When Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins joined the City of London Police in 1871, he was recorded as boarding with the Greggs family at 2 Great Charlotte Street, in Christchurch, Southwark. On his ''Declaration for joining the City of London Police'' his wife/children are recorded as residing at 2 Bramley Street and from the England Census of 1871 we find Edward Watkins parents are residing at 3 Bramley Street. We have already established that Police Constable Edward Watkins weekly pay which started at 21 shilling per week was not an excessive amount of money. Therefore this original arrangement of boarding with one family whilst supporting his family in another residence, must have been extremely difficult and stressful for him. Whether this arrangement was done to reduce the travelling time/distance to his work or whether he was suffering from marital problems, we will never know. But maybe his early misdemeanors were party due to his early difficulties, as suggested in the above. Maybe this arrangement had to continue for several years and the stresses continued. Just some thoughts...…… Alan. Note The Declaration of the City of London Police states his residency is 2 Bramley Street. In the England Census of 1871 there is 3 member of the Watkins family residing at this address ie mother and two children but the names do not match up but I believe this is just a mistake to their details. In the England Census of 1871 we find Edward Watkins is employed as a Police Constable and boarding with the Greggs family. So we see the Declaration on joining the City of London Police is the first document to be completed and the England Census records were next.
  13. Hi, I have just photographed the document, hopefully it looks ok. Alan.
  14. Hi, I have written out Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins City of London Police career details so that they are easier to read, just hope I attach the document correctly, otherwise I will fix it another time. PC Watkins City of London Police career.odt That document did not come out the way I intended it to...... so I will try and fix it later. Alan.
  15. Hi, It is nice to know I am not the only one that finds these old documents difficult to read at times - tks. Anyway, I was asked about researching City of London Police so here is an example of such an individual from my own collection which is still awaiting to be fully researched. It is the same medal, as that which was awarded to Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins and these two men would have served roughly during the same period. It is a Queen Victoria City of London Police Jubilee medal for 1887 with the City of London Police Jubilee clasp for 1897. This is a nice example and was awarded to ''PC 353 J Saveall.'' James Saveall was born in Upminster, in Essex [Parish of Rainham/District of Romford] in 1852. The establishment of the City of London Police in 1888 was :- 1 Commissioner. 1 Chief Superintendent. 1 Superintendent. 14 Inspectors. 92 Sergeants. 781 Constables. Making a total of 890 personnel. There is an Old Bailey trial record relating to a theft, pocket-picking offence which was dealt with on the 20th of October in 1879. James Saveall [City Policeman 353] gave evidence and the prisoner was sentenced to 7 years hard labour. This is roughly the extent of what I know about his City of London Police career. On the other hand, through 'ancestry.co.uk' I have his family history ie his wife died between October to December in 1888 and his niece then begins to take over the role of housekeeper to the family. Between his wife dying and the hunt for Jack the Ripper, the end of 1888 would have been extremely difficult for this City of London Police Constable. The London Metropolitan Archives, I believe, hold the majority of these officer's personal files. Therefore I 'e' mailed ''ask.lma@cityoflondon.gov,uk'' and they soon confirmed that James Saveall's personal file [reference CLA/048/AD/01/655] was available from their archives. Normally, depending on who answers your query, they will usually supply you with a few basic details about the individual you are researching. They will usually add an attachment which will allow you to pay a small fee [previously £20] which will then allow them to give you a breakdown of the file contents and the cost of providing copies of the documents. This is referring to distance researching, the 'e' mail will also give you all the information necessary for attending the London Metropolitan Archives personally. Obviously, attending the archives personally is much cheaper than having the London Metropolitan Archive staff prepare the documents for you which is, to say the least, quite expensive. Remember, if the file contents have been listed, then you can just order what you consider absolutely necessary and reduce the overall cost of the research. I have used their services, at least half a dozen times and it has always been a good experience. I have not completed the research on this individual because one day I hope to visit the LMA personally. If anybody is thinking of visiting the LMA for research purposes etc make sure read up all the rules governing the archives. Hope this might be of interest. Alan.