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Alan Baird

PC 881 Edward Watkins City of London Police

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Hi Alan, if you done the 'share this post' way it would look like the above. Or you could just 'cut and paste' the stories and then add in the pictures. 

Edited by David68

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Hi Dave and thanks,

                               Does that mean I should go onto the new thread, then 'share this post,' adding in the PC881 details so that it then comes up on my post on the new thread?  Maybe I should cut and paste but I think I will leave it for now.

thank you again,

Alan. 

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Somebody recently said, 'it is hard to imagine there are still important medals out there, after all this time.'

They were referring, in general, to the Policemen that served in London during the 1888 period [JTR] and this was an informed observation. I would class myself as an expert, in Police medals from this period, so lets have some fun.

I will give you a short story regarding a medal I purchased approximately a year ago which I consider to be an extremely important one.

The medal was being sold as part of a small group of 4 Police medals which were all approximately from the same period. The seller was one of the most respected and professional London Auction Houses and has a worldwide reputation and following. [Auction Houses have archives, December 2017 sale refers] The lot/medal could have been viewed at both the preview and completed catalogue stages, on the Auction House site. It would also have been available to view on sites like 'the salesroom.' The lot/medal was on open view to the world for approximately one month and not just to hundreds of collectors and dealers but probably to many thousands of collectors and dealers. 

To cut a long story short, I purchased the lot/medal without any real opposition, sold off the other medals and kept the important one. This was the Metropolitan Police Coronation medal for 1902 and awarded to, 'Insp. J Helson M divn.'

' Insp. J Helson  is :-

[a] On the 24th of October in 1887, Detective Sergeant Joseph Henry Helson was promoted to Inspector and transferred to Bethnal Green or 'J' division. Detective Inspector Joseph Helson was in charge of the Bethnal Green  C.I.D.

At 06.45am on the 31st of August in 1888 Detective Inspector Joseph Helson was notified of Mary Ann 'Polly' Nichols murder, examined her body at the old mortuary, in Old Montague Street and then examined the murder site. Detective Inspector Joseph Helson subsequently took charge of the murder investigation. He attended the inquests and liaised closely with Detective Inspector Abberline especially on the murder of Annie Chapman.

[c] Detective Inspector Joseph Helson also had a good team of detectives in Bethnal Green and Detective Sergeant George Godley particularly stood out. This is a relevant point later in this story. There is so much information of Detective Inspector Joseph Helson that it would take too long to list it all so lets cut to the chase.

[d] On the 14th of January in 1895, Detective Inspector Joseph Helson retires on pension from Bethnal Green division and the Metropolitan Police. Joseph Helson was 49 years old and had completed 26 years and 10 days in the Metropolitan Police. Joseph Henry Helson and family return to his place of birth and retired in Devon.

 

Joseph Helson was recalled to duty with the Metropolitan Police on the 20th of June in 1902 for the Coronation Parade through London. Inspector Joseph Helson was assigned to Southwark or 'M' division and given the temporary warrant number of 1869.

Now somebody will say why did he not serve with Bethnal Green or 'J' division instead of Southwark or 'M' division in 1902. Well there are three reason for this deployment.

[a] Firstly, there was an Inspector's vacancy at Southwark or 'M' division.

Secondly, Joseph Helson's son Albert Henry Helson was a young detective serving in Southwark or 'M' division at the time.

[c] And last but not least, his old colleague and friend Detective Sergeant George Godley, was now Detective Inspector George Godley in charge of the Southwark C.I.D.

 

The moral of the story is that like Edward Watkins and Joseph Henry Helson, there is always the possibility of new finds out there.

[The medal was out there and in plain view for the world to see.]   

 

regards,

Alan.

 

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7 minutes ago, Mike McLellan said:

Bravo! Nice one. 

Yes indeed. Another little gem, thanks for sharing it with us Alan!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It does make one wondered what other belters are still out there waiting to be discovered.........

 

Edited by bigjarofwasps

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Hello,

Police Constable 821 George Keay, City of London Police.

The reason I have added Police Constable 821 George Keay's story to the thread relating to Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins is because they both served in the City of London Police during approximately the same period and both were awarded the Queen Victorian City of London Jubilee Police medal for 1887 with the 1897 Jubilee clasp. Obviously, Edward Watkins had recently retired from the City of London Police before the 1897 Jubilee Parade through London but the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police had to temporary re-employ many ex-policemen to supervise and organise this huge event and since Edward Watkins was considered to have been a very good Police Constable, actually completed his pensionable engagement, was quite famous at the time and resided in the area, he would have probably been at the top of the list for re-employment.

Police Constable 821 George Keay's medal, is one of the medals, I used to compare to Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins medal.

Police Constable 821 George Keay's service with the City of London Police is extremely well evidenced and documented. His personal City of London Police file is available through the London Metropolitan Archives and there is also his original discharge certificate which has survived.  

George Keay was born in Cheshunt, in Hertfordshire, in 1863.

George must have been quite a bright boy because at the age of 14 he was employed by a Mr Peter L. Blackmode [Chemist] as a chemist's assistant from 1877 to 1881.

George Keay joined the City of London Police on the 7th of April in 1881 and on a rate of pay of 25 shillings per week. [warrant number 5440]

Unfortunately, on the 20th of January in 1885, Police Constable George Keay was found in a Public House whilst on duty and on plain clothes assignment but was admonished with no further action being taken.

By the 28th of October in 1886, Police Constable 821 George Keay had achieved the rate of pay for a first class constable of thirty one shilling and six pence per week.

On the 14th of June in 1890 George Keay marries Mary Ellen O'Reilly at, 'The Church Most Holy Trinity,' in Bermondsey, in Surrey. They were both from the Catholic religion which is relevant later in the story.

Unfortunately, on the 20th of December in 1890, Police Constable 821 George Keay was found guilty of neglecting to report the loss of his helmet and cape and was reduced to 2nd class rate of pay for a period of 6 months.

Now to push on.......Police Constable 821 George Keay was obviously a good, solid and reliable Police Constable because when he retired on the 18th of October in 1906 his conduct was classed as, 'very good.'

What makes this medal even more special is the other items that belonged to George Keay and which have survived the decades. There is his City of London Police whistle.There are two Catholic religious medals. There is his, 'Key of Heaven Prayer Book' which must have been well used as it has loose pages and is well worn. But the most important item of all and which is extremely rare is Police Constable 821George Keay's ''Discharge Certificate'' from the City of London Police. This vellum document is still enclosed in its original envelope which is approximately eight and a half inches long by one and a half inches wide. It is in extremely nice condition and almost certainly spent most of the time enclosed in the envelope. The document is probably one of the reasons why the different items belonging to Police Constable 821 George Keay have remained together.

The point of this story is that when comparing one medal to another ie engraving, patina etc then the comparing/evidencing medals should be of the highest quality possible.

regards,

Alan. 

 

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I just noticed a small mistake when George Keay joined the City of London Police on the 7th of April in 1881 he was 21 years and 1 month old so his birth was 1860/61 and his employment dates with the chemist would be slight earlier. That's what I get for doing things later at night.

Alan.

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Hello,

It would appear there is a small discrepancy in George Keay's records. The declaration on application to become a City of London Police Constable clearly states that George Keay was 21 years and 1 month old and that his previous employment was with Mr P L Blackmore [chemist] was from October in 1877 to March in 1881 and the declaration was signed on the 2nd of March in 1881. 

On the other hand, the England Census of 1881 confirms George Keay as being 18 years old and a chemist's assistant and was born in 1863. Other records also appear to support this year of birth.

Therefore, either the original City of London Police Declaration should have read ''18 years and 1 month old'' or he told a little white lie about being ''21 years and I month old.'' The declaration is a very official document so I am sure you would have been advised to read the declaration carefully before signing this official document. Maybe George Keay thought the City of London would prefer older and more mature applicants.

The copies of these original City of London documents are quite dark in colour and so I don't believe they would photograph well.....so no photographs have been included with this entry.

One point I probably should include, is that on the 6th of March in 1902, Police Constable 821 George Keay was given a commendation for his vigilance and intelligence in detecting and arresting 3 men for attempted larceny. Good old George, whatever exact age you were. 

 

Alan.

 

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Perhaps forfeiture of part, or all, of his pension might teach him the importance of providing truthful answers on official documents! 

Larceny indeed!

Edited by Mike McLellan

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Hi Mike,

           Alas, I fear I must defence old George Keay. [ha, ha].

He actually did his full 25 years qualifying service for his City of London Police pension.

From 1906 to 1910, he is recorded as being employed but it does not state the type of employment.

In the 1911 Census, he is recorded as being a 'Wharf Beatle' and is residing at 277 Tooley Street, in Bermondsey.

From 8/8/1914 to 10/9/1915 he returned to 'City of London Police Reserve duties'...….. during the war.

After his period of Police reserve duties, he immediately took up a post as the 'Housekeeper' at the Offices at Christ Hospital, at 26 Great Tower Street.

9/4/1917 we know he is still residing at Christ Hospital at 26 Great Tower Street.

And George Keay's death certificate, dated 25/2/1923, states he was still employed as the Housekeeper, at Christ Hospital, at 26 Great Tower Street.

I know what your are thinking...…….good old George. [ha, ha]  

Alan.

 

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16 hours ago, Alan Baird said:

Hello,

It would appear there is a small discrepancy in George Keay's records. The declaration on application to become a City of London Police Constable clearly states that George Keay was 21 years and 1 month old and that his previous employment was with Mr P L Blackmore [chemist] was from October in 1877 to March in 1881 and the declaration was signed on the 2nd of March in 1881. 

On the other hand, the England Census of 1881 confirms George Keay as being 18 years old and a chemist's assistant and was born in 1863. Other records also appear to support this year of birth.

Therefore, either the original City of London Police Declaration should have read ''18 years and 1 month old'' or he told a little white lie about being ''21 years and I month old.'' The declaration is a very official document so I am sure you would have been advised to read the declaration carefully before signing this official document. Maybe George Keay thought the City of London would prefer older and more mature applicants...

In the Metropolitan Police of the same era, the minimum age limit for joining changed sometime between 1860 and 1895 from 18 to 21. I wonder if he added a few years to meet the newer requirement?

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Hi,

   Thanks and that definitely makes sense and is probably the reason for the age difference.

George Keay was 5 feet and 11 inches in height so it may have been easy for him to appear to be a few years older than he really was.

He must have been quite intelligent if he was working as a chemist's assistant, in a chemist shop and he appears to be physically well built, if you go by his height so I suspect he would have been an ideal candidate for the City of London Police from their prospective.

Alan. 

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Hi,

I like to think I have a nice collection of Police medals and nearly all of them are kept in the standard medal envelopes and housed in medal albums.

The ''PC 881 Edward Watkins medal''[City of London Police] did not look right store in this fashion.

The presentation of your individual items or collection is really a personal preference matter but this was my idea of how I thought it should be displayed. 

I had an old 1887 medal box which was still in a good condition so I placed the medal in this. Next there is an English company that supplies wooden engraved boxes at very reasonable prices and so I got one of them. Next it was to B&Q to buy a small length of 20mm pine wood which I cut and glued to the correct sizes.

The results are not perfect but I was happy with the presentation. Not everybody might like it but I just thought I would share my idea.

Alan.

 

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