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Dr Arthur O'Brien Jones Police Surgeon V Division

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I happened upon this old photograph recently and thought it might be of interest. The handwriting on the back names the chap as Arthur O'Brien Jones, Divisional Surgeon, Epsom. Police surgeons aren't my normal collecting sphere, but I thought I'd take a chance and see what I could find out about him. It appears that members of the Epsom Historical Society were aware of him and had already conducted considerable research on him. His story is a somewhat sad if not interesting one. Which I thought might be of interest to fellow forum users.....

Arthur O'Brien Jones was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire in 1813 and qualified as a doctor in 1836; he was the only son of the Reverend Thomas Arthur Jones and Elizabeth O'Brien. Having qualified as a doctor he appears to have gone to live in Epsom. He was certainly there in 1841 and acting as Divisional Surgeon to V Division, when he had treated PC 269V Joseph Russell.............

On Saturday 8 May 1841, just before midnight, PC 269V Joseph Russell was on patrol in the High Street when he heard a disturbance at the King's Head inn. On investigation, Charles Fincher was found kicking at the tap-room door. On being told that he could get no more beer, Fincher, a labourer, became abusive, tore the officer's rolled cape from the back of his coat and used it to hit PC Russell in the face. A violent struggle ensued and a number of people emerged from the tap-room to become involved in the fracas.
A drunken George Gardom intervened, shouting: - "You shall not take that man to the station. I'm a gentleman and I'll bail him... You you and you. Come on ten of you and assist me to get this man away." A number of men then assaulted the constable with sticks and their fists.

PC Russell drew his truncheon to defend himself and kept hold of Fincher until a colleague, PC Price arrived to assist him.

When giving evidence to the Magistrates, Baron de Teissier and Mr Goss, about the event PC Russell declared that George Edes, James Phipps and John Ratcliffe (the latter two, recruits to 89th Regiment of Foot) had subsequently belaboured him with heavy sticks. "I was knocked down. Ede knelt upon my back, struck me and attempted to kick me in the ribs but kicked my lanthorn. I got up and struck him with my staff very violently, as I thought he intended to do me some serious hurt."

The original police station was situated in the High Street at the eastern end on the south side. As explained in 'The Court House' "From an article in one of the local papers in 1935, it appears that when number 45 High Street, now the ASK restaurant, was being vacated the remains of what appeared to be two cells were discovered. Although the some alterations had been made to the doors, the door bolts were still attached. Each door contained small trap about 6"x8" presumably to allow food to be given to the prisoner." At the time of the 1851 Census these premises were occupied by a Sergeant, his family, 6 constables and a lodger.

The two Police constables escorted their prisoner towards the section-house but only got as far as the (Spread) Eagle tap before Gardom again incited the mob.

George Gardom seized Phipps' stick, struck constable Russell down, and beat him about the head. The officer's leather top hat, then part of police uniform rather than a helmet, was 'cut to pieces'.
Eventually the constables managed to struggle back into the station-house with their prisoner and closed some gates behind them. A hail of stones were hurled after the group and the mob burst open the gates threatening to storm the building. Alerted by all the noise, other officers rushed out to assist their colleagues, beat off the attack and apprehend, additionally, Gardom, Edes, Phipps and Ratcliffe.

Although powerfully built, PC Russell had been badly injured and remained dangerously ill when examined by the surgeon-in-chief to the Metropolitan Police and Arthur O'Brien Jones, surgeon to V Division, some days later.

The charges brought were:
Edes - Assaulting and wounding Joseph Russell, PC 269 V, with intent to do him grievous bodily harm;
Phipps and Ratcliffe - Attempting to rescue a prisoner;
Gardom - Assaulting and resisting the police in the execution of their duty;
Fincher - Being drunk and disorderly and assaulting the police.

Initially, Gardom and Edes had been bailed for £100 and two sureties of £50 each. At a further hearing, however, the Magistrates remanded all the accused to Kingston gaol to await trial. Gardom's father appealed to the bench, explaining that George was his only son and being sent to prison would break his parents' hearts. His offer to stand bail to the extent of many thousands of pounds for security to ensure his son's appearance was declined.

The outcome of trial at Guildford assize is revealed by the Criminal Registers published on the Ancestry UK website. George Gardom, George Edes, James Phipps and John Ratcliffe were all tried at the Assizes on 29 June 1841. Gardom got 12 months' imprisonment and the others 9 months each. Charles Fincher was not mentioned.

 

1841 Epsom appears to have been a rowdy place as a similar incident occurred shortly afterwards.....

The Morning Post on Wednesday 25 August 1841. The previous Saturday, 21 August 1841, at ten minutes to midnight, five men left the Bull's Head*, Ewell, "drunk and noisy", before travelling to Epsom. In the town centre, they were encountered by Police Constables 219V Butcher and 217V Duncan Stewart who remonstrated with them. Charles Robinson from Putney flourished a reaping hook [indicating that the men could have been itinerant harvesters] over PC Butcher swearing he would cut off the officer's head. Disarmed by Butcher, Robinson was given into the custody of PC Stewart. George Morrett, of Brentford, then struck Constable Butcher over the head with a heavy stick before kicking him and breaking one of the officer's ribs. A man called Jarrett went to the assistance of the felled constable and both assailants were escorted towards the police-station. On their way to the station house PC Butcher collapsed in the street resulting in him being carried home. Examined by the divisional surgeon, Mr Jones, his injuries were declared to be of a most serious character. On Monday, 23 August 1841, the men appeared before local magistrates, Baron de Tessier & Captain Gough [Henry Gosse, Lord of the Manor of Chessington?]: after a surgeon's certificate had been produced testifying that PC Butcher remained in imminent danger the prisoners were remanded until Friday 3 September 1841. Details of their trial have not been traced.
 

In the 1851 census Arthur was already practising and living in South Street, Epsom with two of his sisters, Jemima and Anne, and three of Ellen's children were also in residence (it seems that Ellen's husband, coal merchant Arthur Burton, had gone to Paris in 1848 to escape his creditors and he set up in business there). Jemima married Australia merchant Joseph Matthew Holworthy in 1852 and Anne never married, eventually returning to Bromley College. 
 

Arthur O'Brien Jones marries Sibella Vernon/Farish at Epsom on 22 August 1857 and they live at The Shrubbery in South Street.  They have just one child, Arthur Vernon Jones, born in Epsom on 16 June 1859, who was educated at Eton. Sadly, the boy died of consumption at the age of 19, on 8 September 1878, at the mountain resort of Davos Platz, Grisons in Switzerland.
 

Dr O'Brien Jones was again in the papers in 1877 following a civil case that was brought against him and the head master of a local school following the death of a child, whom the Doctor had treated. It subsequently transpired that there was no case to answer by either party. But one can only imagine the local scandal. 

 

Finally on the 1st May 1889 Dr Obrien Jones commits suicide by consuming hydrogen cyanide.............

Wednesday, 1 May 1889, having committed suicide. A piece of paper was found, on which he had written 'Taken prussic acid'. The inquest was held at Epsom on 10 May 1889 and reported in The Surrey Mirror next day. Sibella's evidence was taken at her house; she had returned home at about 5pm on 1 May and found Arthur in a chair, evidently dying. 'He tried to open his eyes, but he could not speak. I left home at eleven in the morning, and I then noticed nothing particular in him. He had been very cheerful and happy lately. Nothing had happened to disturb him in any way. His age had incapacitated him from doing so much work and this might have preyed upon his mind.'

 

Dr George Robinson Barnes, said, 'I was formerly in partnership with the deceased, but during the last six years we had only a working agreement. I last saw him alive on Monday afternoon about two o'clock. He was in a good state of health and did not appear depressed. On Wednesday I was sent for to see him, and on my arrival found he was dead. The prussic acid bottle was by his side and a glass measure was standing on the table. I detected a strong smell of acid. The cause of death was poisoning from prussic acid. I know nothing which would cause the deceased to commit suicide. I was not aware of any financial difficulties. His practice had declined. He had outlived his old patients and a new generation had come into Epsom. I think this feeling of not being able to do much worried him considerably. He had not, through his declining years, been equal to his work, particularly his night practice'

 

Newspapers recorded, 7 May 1889,

"A Supposed Suicide. A painful sensation has been caused at Epsom by the death of Mr Arthur O'Brien Jones, surgeon to the Metropolitan Police, Epsom Division. He was found on Wednesday night lying dead in his room with a phial of prussic acid by his side and also, it is said, a statement written by himself. Mr Jones had spent over 50 years in Epsom, being about 76 years of age. He was surgeon for several public institutions and though of somewhat eccentric character was much esteemed. No reason has been forthcoming to explain this event."


 

 

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Sources -

https://www.geni.com/people/Dr-Arthur-O-Brien-Jones/6000000047732722825

http://www.epsomandewellhistoryexplorer.org.uk/RiotousEpsom.html

http://www.epsomandewellhistoryexplorer.org.uk/Shrubbery.html

http://www.epsomandewellhistoryexplorer.org.uk/SibellaJones.html

http://www.epsomandewellhistoryexplorer.org.uk/DeathAtEpsomCollege.html

http://livesonline.rcseng.ac.uk/biogs/E002373b.htm

 

Edited by bigjarofwasps

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Thanks for this, a well researched and informative story, Epsom was taken over by Surrey Police when the Boundary Changes occurred and was the neighbouring Division to the one in which I worked. It has always had a lively reputation and always surprised me that the Custody area was so small especially bearing in mind the crowds the Derby brings to the Town. It is also famous for the Riot by Canadian Soldiers resulting in the death of Station Sergeant Green.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epsom_Riot

Simon

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1 hour ago, coldstream said:

Thanks for this, a well researched and informative story, Epsom was taken over by Surrey Police when the Boundary Changes occurred and was the neighbouring Division to the one in which I worked. It has always had a lively reputation and always surprised me that the Custody area was so small especially bearing in mind the crowds the Derby brings to the Town. It is also famous for the Riot by Canadian Soldiers resulting in the death of Station Sergeant Green.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epsom_Riot

Simon

Glad you found it of interest, especially as a former bobby from the patch.

I have tried to research the four police officers named in the newspaper reports, although I was able to find PC 269V Joseph Russell  on the 1841 census other than that I have been unable to find any service details about them, as they served too far back in the mists of time. 

I was however able to find this out about Epsom which might also be of interest.

With the extension of the Metropolitan Police district in 1839, Epsom formed part of V or Wandsworth Division. A police document in the Office for National Statistics shows in V Division, there were six PCs living in a private house in Epsom. A Mounted Sergeant supervised Morden, North Cheam, Malden, Ewell and Epsom. 

 

Another possible line of research is with the two miscreants James Phipps and John Ratcliffe  from the 89th, which I am currently looking into.

 

 

 

With regards to the 1919 riot the Canadians were involved in a similar incident in Kinmel Camp North Wales. 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7923380.stm

 

 

 

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Similar details to those you have already written about are contained within this link along with a few illustrations.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/252481891/epsom?secret_password=u0cjtXFH3tH4hopxSv3x#fullscreen&from_embed

Bob Bartlett does a good job with the Surrey Constabulary History on this site

http://www.surrey-constabulary.com/

Regards Simon

 

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1 hour ago, coldstream said:

Similar details to those you have already written about are contained within this link along with a few illustrations.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/252481891/epsom?secret_password=u0cjtXFH3tH4hopxSv3x#fullscreen&from_embed

Bob Bartlett does a good job with the Surrey Constabulary History on this site

http://www.surrey-constabulary.com/

Regards Simon

 

.............and there was me thinking Epsom was an idyllic sleepy little place!!!!!!!! When's the next train back to Whitechapel?  ;)

Edited by bigjarofwasps

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Have to say the first Derby Weekend which was solely policed by Surrey was a bit of a stretch from our Uniformed point of view, saw quite a few Officers out and about who hadn't seen the Public for a while and waiting for the 'Stand Down' from Bronze Commander took a while, still if you can't take a joke and all that!:cheers:

Simon

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A bit more information has come to light. Unfortunately there is no John RATCLIFFE in the 89th but it appears there's on in the 4th. Too much of a long shot, perhaps? 

BUT, there is a James Phipps on the roll for the 89th, Regt.no. 1930, entitled to the Crimea medal with Sebastapol clasp. Could this be the same man? 

Do service papers for the army that far back still exist? 

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