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Alan Baird

PC 881 Edward Watkins City of London Police

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This is some information on City of London Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins family and it might be of interest for future research etc. 

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My Brother popped along to the Jack the Ripper museum in Whitechapel a couple of days ago. He sent me a couple of photos of PC Watkins original whistle, notebook and handcuffs that were donated to the museum by his Family.

hope they are of interest.

 

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Hi David,

          That is really interesting and I just looked at their site and the Victorian house/museum looked great. I would really like to see the photographs. Living in the Scottish Borders is nice but it is not so convenient for visiting London so that is why your info is so good.

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Posted (edited)

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Hi Alan, hopefully the photos are showing now. Enjoy.

David

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Posted (edited)

I have another of his helmet badge but don’t seem to be having much luck uploading it. I will keep trying 

Edited by David68

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Hi Gordon and David,

             The pictures look good and the museum would be worth a visit, very interesting. I have to admit I did not know these items were there or about the helmet badge. The BBC article I did see a couple of years ago but after that I never heard any more.....so thanks for the update to both of you.

Alan.  

 

 

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Hi,

Edward Watkins died in March of 1913 but less than a year and a half before this event, he was contacted by an old friend. 

On the 2nd of November in 1911, Mrs Piddington [appears to be Mrs but the title could have been Mr] wrote to the City of London Police Office requesting the address of ex-Police Constable  Watkins. They in turn wrote to Edward Watkins passing on the request and the address of the ''Piddington's'' at 26 Marine Parade in Dover.

On the 4th of November in 1911, Edward Watkins thanked the City of London Police Office for putting him back in touch with an old friend.

I am finding it hard to read parts of the second page of the letter and I have not identified the period the friendship probably started from but I will give you the details I have so far.

 

England Census 1911.

[a] William Thomas Piddington [50], born in Woolwich in Kent, in 1861. Occupation Naval pensioner and teacher of music.

Mary Ann Elizabeth Piddington [45], born in Chatham in Kent, in 1866. Occupation Lodging Housekeeper.

The Piddington's residing at 26 Marine Parade, in Dover.

 

England Census of 1901.

William T Piddington occupation ''Bandmaster Military.'' No occupation listed for Mary Piddington. The family home is at 5 Bereford Terrace, St Mary, Dover, in Kent.

 

15th of April in 1893. First payment of Lodge fee's by Sergeant Piddington R.M.L.S. [Lord Warden Lodge in Deal]. 

 

England Census of 1891 is unfortunately missing.

 

Marriage in 1886 of William Thomas Piddington………. marries Mary Ann Elizabeth Bromley at Medway in Kent.

 

England Census of 1881.

William T Piddington [20 and single] musician R.M.L.I. and residing at the Royal Marine Barracks, Gillingham, in Chatham.  

 

I just thought I would list it but I am not sure how it fits in just yet.

aLAN.

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Posted (edited)
On ‎04‎/‎01‎/‎2019 at 15:16, Alan Baird said:

...I am finding it hard to read parts of the second page of the letter and I have not identified the period the friendship probably started from but I will give you the details I have so far...

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“…I think if he is still alive I thought the PENSION office might give me the address of himself or his wife which I very much would like to GET or you PERHAPS would kindly put me in the way…”

Edit - next bit -  "I don't think he held a HIGHER RANK but not sure" I now believe.

Edited by ayedeeyew

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1 hour ago, ayedeeyew said:

“…I think if he is still alive I thought the PENSION office might give me the address of himself or his wife which I very much would like to GET or you PERHAPS would kindly put me in the way…”

Edit - next bit -  "I don't think he held a HIGHER RANK but not sure" I now believe.

Sent this to my mother, who is a dab hand at transcriptions, and she had these three observations:

Without even knowing details of the Piddington family she thought it was not MR/MRS, but Wm. - the standard abbreviation for William

Not "Yours sincerely" but a "Yours TRUELY", possibly with a missing E. Note the wayward slash of the T over the middle of the word, which is repeated in words like "thought", "photographs" and "think".

She read the last sentence as "Thanking you and APOLOGISING".

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Many thanks and thank your mother for me.

108 years later and the letter comes back to life. Now that I know it was William Piddington that wrote the letter......it will help in trying to find a connection between William Piddington and Edward Watkins. 

Edward Watkins wrote back to the City of London Police Office and thanked them for passing on the address of an old friend [singular] so maybe the friendship started before William Piddington was married in 1886 and I need to look more closely at the early part of the 1880's. That's is just thinking out aloud.

again much appreciated,

Alan. 

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Hi,

I thought the translation of the letter relating to Edward Watkins was superb especially since I find these things so difficult.

I have one other mystery from December in 1888 which revolves around confirming just one word.

It does not directly connect with Police Constable Edward Watkins story except that when Edward Watkins was at the height of his fame, this other Police Constable was retiring on pension.

Police Constable Edward Browning served in the Metropolitan Police from the 21st of August in 1863 and until his retired on pension on the 4th of December in 1888. Police Constable Edward Browning completed his entire service in 'M' or Southwark division. If an individual is on, ''special duties,'' at the time of their retirement, then this is recorded below the particulars of service entry, on page two. Police Constable Edward Browning's special duty was on, ''diving service.'' It might be spelt 'divinng service.'

Because I felt I did not do so well on the Edward Watkins letter, I was hoping somebody might again give me their opinions on this entry. I might have read the entry wrongly so a second opinion would be interesting.

The entry, ''diving service'' appears quite unique, as I have not encountered this before. 

Alan.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

"In 'M' Division as Constable DURING service" is how I read that. I suspect the dot of the "i" is just a little wayward to the left.

Edited by ayedeeyew

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39 minutes ago, ayedeeyew said:

"In 'M' Division as Constable DURING service" is how I read that. I suspect the dot of the "i" is just a little wayward to the left.

Without seeing ayedeeyew's reply. I read it as "during service" as well. This would certainly make sense? 

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Hi,

 Many thanks to both of you, I couldn't see it before but now you have pointed it out......it is starring me right in the face. Now I feel a right numpty. One day I will get the hang of this joined-up-writing.

tks,

Alan.

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On 08/01/2019 at 18:34, Alan Baird said:

Hi,

 Many thanks to both of you, I couldn't see it before but now you have pointed it out......it is starring me right in the face. Now I feel a right numpty. One day I will get the hang of this joined-up-writing.

tks,

Alan.

It’s like those Magic Eye things, the hours I’ve pondered over Victorian script to then have someone point it out and it become obvious 😂.

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 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.

  

 

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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.

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Hi,

 I have just photographed the document, hopefully it looks ok.

Alan.

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And he gets a certificate for Good Conduct!! 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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