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Alan Baird

PC 881 Edward Watkins City of London Police

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Hello,

Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins served in the City of London Police from 15/5/1871 to 28/5/1896.

Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins...…. his most famous moment was in the early hours of the 30th of September in 1888 when he discovered the body of Catherine Eddowes in Mitre Square

[Jack the Ripper had struck again.]…………...

 

Now before I explain this entry, I think it would be best to give you some background information. My name is Alan Baird and for many years I have collected Victorian/Edwardian etc Police medals ie Queen Victoria Metropolitan Police Jubilee medal for 1887, Queen Victoria Metropolitan Police Jubilee medal for 1897 [or clasp] and the Metropolitan Police Coronation medals for 1902 and 1911. The collection also covered, to a much smaller extent, City of London Police medals, as detailed above. Each individual policeman was extensively researched. At its peak, my collection included approximately 125 policemen and their individual medal or group of medals. Obviously, my collection's time frame covered the, 'Jack the Ripper murder period in 1888' but I don not class myself as a Ripperologist but rather more of an amateur researcher and researching within a very specific period and subject.

 

At regular intervals, I would search the usual sources ie ebay etc to check for any new medals going onto the market but I have found that, on many occasions, that it is the auction sites and overseas dealers that can be a very good source of quality medals and at reasonable prices. I have bought from America, Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Portugal and South Africa etc. The relevance of this information will become clear shortly.

I will post this and be back very shortly

Alan.    

I hope I add these pictures correctly onto the site and I am not sure about the size of the photo's or how many could go on each reply. So I will just wing it. Alan. 

 

 

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Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins City of London Police. Alan.

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Hello,

The first two photographs merged with the original entry, instead of being attached to a separate reply but it does not matter.

Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins, City of London Police medal, as you can see, has a very nice patina and is engraved with the correct details and in the correct style. I know this because I have compared the medal with other City of London Police Jubilee medals from 1887 which I have in my collection. I may post an example later. The medal is also the correct weight and even the ribbon bar is original, as I have seen other City of London medals fitted with the same ribbon bar pin.    

 

Alan.

        

I am going to try and place another photograph which hopefully I will attach to this separate reply. Alan

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My camera is quite old but I am quite happy with the results. The camera's weakness is in close-up's but these have come out O.K.  Lets try another download. This one will show what Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins looked like from an artist sketch from 1888.

Alan.

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My apologies if I am doing this all wrong, as all the replies I complete..... just seem to merge into one and I am not sure if that is the best way to do it. I will attach another photograph of Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins and see what happens. 

I am away tomorrow and will probably not be back until Thursday.

regards,

Alan.

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Hi,

Thanks Mike. When I was taking the above pictures for this post, I was handling the medal very carefully because I felt this medal was different from all the other medals I have. It was just a feeling but in reality they are all the same

Anyway, I have taken more photographs of another example of a City of London Police Jubilee medal from 1887 so I could show the engraved details but alas my old camera blurred 11 out of the 12 close-ups. The one photograph that was reasonable is limited in what it covers but the story of this City Policeman is really quite interesting so I will include these pictures.

This group of medals belongs to Detective Chief Inspector Frederick Charles Birch Holmes who joined the City of London Police on the 30th of August in 1878. In 1887 he is, 'PC 483 F Holmes.' He would have been a detective around this period and remained a Detective up until he retired from the City of London Police on the 11th of February in 1909, as a Detective Chief. Inspector. There are numerous Old Bailey trial records which he is involved in.

What is amusing...…….. is that around this period when he was promoted to Detective Holmes...…... Arthur Conan Doyle was publishing his first story, 'A Study in Scarlet,' in 1886 and from there the story of Sherlock Holmes swept London and the Country. I am not say the two events are connected, what I am saying is that he must have taken some stick about being Detective Holmes in Victorian London during this period.  

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Here is another photo of Detective Chief Inspector Holmes's medals. 

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And, much to the annoyance to his colleagues, he probably uttered, “The game’s afoot” when a sense of urgency arose. 

Thanks for showing, what would be, the centerpiece of any collection. Very nice indeed. 

Mike. 

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Hi Mike,

            The quote I like best is, ''Elementary, my dear Watson,'' because I believe Conan Doyle never actually used this phrase in any of his stories.

Alan.

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Alan,

A very historical Police Medal, thanks for posting, look forward to seeing more of your collection.

Best regards Simon.

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Posted (edited)

''Evidence the Evidence.''

The following photographs relates to Police Constable 661 George James Sims of the City of London Police and his City of London Police Jubilee medal of 1887. He joined on the 15th of March in 1866 and retired on pension on the 31st of January in 1895.

We know his City of London Police Jubilee medal of 1887  is original because :-

[a] The Records. [City of London Police, Census records etc.]

The Physical Properties. [The details/style/engraving, the weight etc.]

[c] The Family Connection. [Items relate to his daughters.]

 

Because we have excellent evidence on PC 661 George James Sims, even the most ordinary and basic details become more important. For example the medal ribbon bar pin which is located at the top of the ribbon, we can confirm it is both original and contemporary and I have seen other examples of this same ribbon bar on such medals. Therefore when we examine PC 661 George James Sims medal with PC 881 Edward Watkins medal we can evidence they are both original and contemporary. This is just one little point about the importance of such evidence. 

Alan.

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Edited by Alan Baird
grammer

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Hi Simon,

             Thank you for your comments. Some of these medals which I have collected over the years, were specifically collected because they had really interesting stories to them and I have never shared these stories.

Maybe it is time to share that history.

regards,

Alan. 

I forgot to add this photograph of Police Constable 661 George Sims engraved medal details. My camera is not the greatest at close-quarters photography but I have added it anyway.

Alan.

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Hi,

Sometimes it is the small story that gets lost with time, that can be the most poignant.

 

At approximately 10.30pm on Saturday the 20th of October in 1894, Police Constable Alfred Brace [176P] was in Commercial Road, in Peckham. A group of 4 to 5 men were causing a disturbance and when Police Constable Alfred Brace gave them a warning about their behaviour, Daniel Neil [21] a labourer, struck the Police Constable in the side of the face. Police Constable Alfred Brace arrested the individual and Police Constable Richard Vosper came to his assistance in taking the prisoner back to the Peckham Police Station. When they had travelled approximately 500 yards from where the original incident had taken place, Henry Neil [26] a labourer and the brother to Daniel Neil and who was one of the original group of men causing the disturbance, attacked the two Police Constables with an iron bar.

Henry Neil struck Police Constable Richard Vosper with the iron bar across the back of his head knocking his helmet off and he then struck Police Constable Alfred Brace in the face with the same weapon. Police Constable Alfred Brace was hit so hard in the mouth that he lost 17 teeth, his lips were split right through and he also lost part of his gum. Even although he was badly injured and in great pain and was suffering from shock, Police Constable Alfred Brace continued to keep hold of Daniel Neil and Police Constable Robert Vosper managed to detain Henry Neil. Other officers and a member of the public came to their assistance and also helped to get Police Constable Alfred Brace back to Peckham Police Station where Doctor Esher the Police Surgeon attended to the Constables wounds. The doctor testified that Police Constable Alfred Brace was in considerable pain and had extensive damage to his mouth area.

Henry Neil was found guilty of the vicious attack on Police Constable Alfred Brace and was sentenced to 7 years penal servitude and Daniel Neil was sentenced to 6 months hard labour.

Mr Justice Hawkins expressed his admiration for the remarkable bravery of Police Constable Alfred Brace and for his good discretion and good temper.

Both the Grand Jury and the Pettit Jury also made similar commendations.

[Lisburn Herald 27/10/1894 and the Old Bailey trial records.]

[Although this has nothing to do with Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins, it does give you an insight into the bravery of Victorian Police. Whether they be  Metropolitan Police or City of London Police.]

See below Police Constable Richard Vosper's Metropolitan Police medals.  

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Man, this thread just keeps getting better! Fascinating stuff. Thanks. 

Mike

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Hi Mike,

Glad you like the story.

It would be appalling to suffer such injuries in todays life but it is hard to imagine what it must have been like for Police Constable Alfred Brace in 1894.

Months of horrendous pain and with the loss of so many teeth his mouth area would have partially collapsed, his speech would be different, he would have difficulties eating and there is always the danger of infections. 

Imagine the scene at Peckham Police Station when he was brought in and the anger from the other Constables etc at what had been done to their friend and colleague. The sight of Police Constable Alfred Brace with his injuries, severe bleeding, in pain and in shock, must have been awful to witness.  

Alan.

 

  

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''The Shooting of Police Constable George Harrington.''

To set the scene :-

In the early hours of the 3d of February in 1900, word came to the Police Station of a burglary in the area and officers were dispatched to investigate the incident.

Snow had fallen, brightening the usually dark early winter morning [5.20am], on this particular day. Footprints of 3 people passing into the grounds of a large house were found and Police Constable George Harrington [393P] and Police Constable George Parker [160P] proceeded to follow them. Suddenly they came upon the 3 suspects from approximately 15 yards away and Gustavo Franci [18], Ernest Reuter [19] and Frederick Braun [20] all drew their revolvers and opened fire. Two of suspects then ran away but Gustavo Franci ran towards Police Constable George Harrington firing twice and the second bullet struck the Police Constable in the thigh. George Harrington cried out that he had been shot in the leg, he was in great pain, the shock took away the use of his leg and he was dazed and said that he could not see for a minute.

Police Constable George Parker ran after Gustavo Franci who then fired one or two rounds at Police Constable George Parker, one of which struck the officers helmet. Police Constable George Parker used his truncheon to down and disarm and arrest Gustavo Franci.

Police Constable William Read [38PR], Police Constable Harry Easter [592P] and Police Constable Frederick Dyer [38P] armed only with their truncheons and already knowing one of their colleagues had been wounded and multiple shots had been fired , continued after the two suspects that had run off. These officers were responsible for disarming and capturing of the two suspects and later it was confirmed all three suspects were in possession of fully loaded revolvers. 

The Divisional Police Surgeon examined Police Constable George Harrington at approximately 6.45am at the station and it was found the bullet had caused a severe contusion on the left thigh but had not broken the skin and he was suffering from shock. The Police Constable was told to go to bed and remain off work for at least 12 days. Police Constable George Harrington was probably saved from a more severe injury by his wet and heavy police overcoat and the other garments beneath it, that helped him to keep out the winter weather and reduced the power of the bullet that struck him. 

At the Old Bailey trial the suspects were found guilty of shooting with the intent to do grievous bodily harm and to avoid lawful arrest.

All the officer's were, ''highly complimented on their conduct'' by the Judge and were very brave in tackling 3 dangerous and armed criminals who had no hesitation in firing at the Police.

N.B. That in Police Constable George Harrington's pension records, it records he was off work for 65 days due to this injury so we can guess it was more complicated injury than first appeared.

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Police Constable George Harrington's medals.

Alan.

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Hi,

Metropolitan Police Sergeant Hezekiah Cook was serving in Whitehapel or 'H' division at the same time as Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins was serving with the City of London Police in 1888 and both men, like so many others, were hunting for Jack the Ripper.

Police Sergeant Hezekiah Cook served from 1865 to 1892 and this included serving as a Police Sergeant in Whitechapel or 'H' division from 28/4/1883 to 15/2/1892 when he retired from the Metropolitan Police. [Retired as a Police Sergeant/collar number was 32H.

The Star Newspaper article on the 15th of October in 1888 stated :-

''It was reported that in a lodging-house in Brick-Lane, in Whitechapel, some of the residents became suspicious and concerned by the behaviour of somebody staying at the lodging-house. They informed the Police of their concerns and Sergeant Cook and some other officers arrested the individual. The prisoner was taken to Commercial Street Police Station but within half an hour the prisoner was able to convince the authorities he was not the man they were looking for. The hunt for Jack the Ripper continues.''

The Inquest on the human remains discovered in Spitalfield, in early October in 1892.

The Inquest was held at the Town Hall, Old Street, in Shoreditch into the circumstances of the human remains that were found in Flower and Dean Street, in Spitalfield. There were 7 whole skeletons found at this location. Hezekiah Cook of 1 Princes Street, Spitalfield gave evidence at the Inquest, as he had previously been a Whitechapel division inspector of common lodging-houses. Hezekiah Cook confirmed that a lodging-house had been operating on the site and he was obviously requested to attend the Inquest on behalf of the Metropolitan Police, even although he was now retired.

The two separate stories confirm his role within Whitechapel or 'H' division, as being an expert on the lodging-houses, within the divisions area. This might have been an interesting role to be in, during the Jack the Ripper reign of terror.

The medal never possessed a good patina but tarnish/dirt effected the engraving on the rim and therefore it  became necessary for the medal to be cleaned. 

I will add some photographs on shortly, as I had forgot to reduce their size. I will do it on the next reply. 

 

 

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The first story in 1888 I have known about for many years but the second story in 1892 I only discovered in the last few months. 

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It is more impressive than the photograph shows.

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Splendid stuff Alan!!!

Could sit and read this stuff all day.

Keep it coming!!!! 

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So as not to detract from PC Watkins on this thread. How would forum users feel about making a new thread incorporating police medals with an interesting stories? 

I thought perhaps calling it Peeler's Ripping Yarns or something like that? 

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That is fine with me and I have a story that I could add, if you wanted, regarding a ''Metropolitan Police Constable that guarded Queen Victoria.'' and of course it is fully evidenced. Just let me know if you are interested and how or what to do, remember that I am new to the club. 

regards,

Alan.

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Look forward to reading that Alan, I’ll set up the thread over the weekend. I’ll see if I can work out how to separate your other posts from Watkin’s. 

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19 hours ago, Alan Baird said:

That is fine with me and I have a story that I could add, if you wanted, regarding a ''Metropolitan Police Constable that guarded Queen Victoria.'' and of course it is fully evidenced. Just let me know if you are interested and how or what to do, remember that I am new to the club. 

regards,

Alan.

Very much looking forward to that one Alan.

It would of been fascinating to have had a conversation with the man who 100 years ago did the same roll as I do now.

Dave

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Hi Dave,

I think you will like the story, I just hope I can summarise it so that I do it justice. The only reason this story is available today is due to a researcher …..researching the story in 1979-1981 and the real breakthrough when he found and contacted the family where he got the family history of this Police Constable. It was from there the full picture came out but I will need to write it up over the week-end.

Alan. 

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Ok the new thread has been started, I've called it Tales from the station cat. I assume that meets with everyone's approval?

I've been unable to work out how to transfer posts to different threads, so Alan it's not to much trouble could you repost your none Watkins related threads onto it? I'd do it for you, but then it would look like I'd done the research. Then what I'll do I'll delete them from this thread so as to keep this one purely for Watkins. 

 

Edited by bigjarofwasps

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Hi,

   To transfer a post.....top right hand symbol 'share a post' and then add in

Hi,

Unfortunately I am not sure how to repost the posts.....would you for example go into post 15 and use the ''share this post'' and then use the tales-from-the-station-cat/ heading and then use then tap on the  google symbol or something like that.

Alan. 

 

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