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Alan Baird

PC 881 Edward Watkins City of London Police

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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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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Hi,

Here is some info and thoughts about William Piddington a known friend of Edward Watkins...…...

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 Hi,

'The Commercial Tavern at 142 Commercial Street.'

Imagine your in London, at the height of the Jack the Ripper murder spree, in 1888. A concerned citizen wants to find the best vantage point to view the events as they are developing.

Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins whilst pounding his City of London beat, is stopped and his advice is sought on this matter.

''Well, in all of London, there is only one place I would suggest and that is the Commercial Tavern at 142 Commercial Street,'' was his reply.

This Public House looks onto the Commercial Street Police Station which is the Metropolitan Police centre of operations in the hunt for Jack the Ripper. This three story Police Station was only built in 1874 and so it is a relatively new building.

From your viewpoint in the Commercial Tavern it would have been possible to see Inspector Frederick George Abberline and many of the other famous detectives go in and out of the Police Station.  From your viewpoint in the Commercial Tavern it would have been possible to see the Ripper suspects, that have been arrested, go in and out of the Police Station.

Most of all, the Commercial Tavern is a well run Public House, by the Licensed Victualler 'James Blumson.' 

The talk, the stories and the theories about Jack the Ripper would have been endless and entertaining within the walls of this famous Public House. The latest gossip from both Police and Underworld sources would have been leaked here because everybody wants to pretend they are in the know.

[Obviously, all of the above is fictional and not factual, just a little bit of fun.]

 

'History of the Commercial Tavern at 142 Commercial Street.'

'Abraham Keymer' was born in Bethnal Green in 1816 and who in February of 1865 bought the lease to the site on which he would built the Commercial Tavern. The address would be Commercial Tavern, 142 Commercial Street and the lease was an 80 year lease. 

James Blumson managed the Commercial Tavern throughout the Jack the Ripper era.

From 1891 to 1899 William Blumson, James Blumson's brother and other members of the Blumson family took over the lease of the Commercial Tavern.

The following photographs show the vellum documents relating to the lease of the Commercial Tavern. The original lease from 1878 transferring it to James Blumson and then three other amendments to the lease in the 1891 period.

 

 

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Hi Gordon,

                 The preamble for the Commercial Tavern documents required a little artistic license to initially make the subject a bit more fun and interesting....it made me smile.  

My book would be more like a magazine...….. for example the ''Police Budget Edition of Famous Crimes and edited by Harold Furniss.''

The ''Penny Dreadfuls,'' of the 1880's and 1890's were roughly cut and printed on cheap and inferior paper but some did survive. For example this copy, volume II  no15, relating to ''Jack the Ripper.'' The literacy rate was rising and the magazines were available to all sections of society.  

Harold Furniss was a journalist, illustrator and political caricaturist and collector of criminal literature. He was born in Birkenhead/Liverpool in 1856.

What is also interesting is that he had also been employed as a Police-court portraitist.

[I will add more photographs in a second reply as I am already at 8MB]

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some more photographs...……………...

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some more photographs ……….

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Keep the info coming Alan, (have you considered posting it on the Ripper Forum, I'm sure there's loads of people who would enjoy reading your findings!!) It certainly makes great reading.

As do your posts on the Tales of the Station Cat, spent an hour or so earlier re-reading them and some that I'd missed the first time round. Supt Greenough for example, tightest bugger on earth :lol::lol: and PC Haddock sure I've read this story in a book somewhere? 

Edited by bigjarofwasps

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Hi Gordon,

                 Here are three more ''Police Budget Edition - Famous Crimes magazines,'' and they also relate to the, 'Jack the Ripper murders.' They are in good condition for their age but need to be handled carefully. I think the sketches are particularly interesting.  

I did a few posts on the Ripper Forum under, ''Collective Wisdom,'' regarding Policemen that I was researching. Unfortunately, I always had difficulties down sizing the attachments so I stopped posting items.

I have some more stories for the ''Tales of the Station Cat' but I will need to post them sometime in the future.

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last sketch...……………….. 

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Those are great Alan, thanks for sharing them!!!!! Are they in your possession? 

Look forward to further Tales of the Station Cat, when you get a minute.

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Hi Gordon,

        I don't collect them but over the years I have obtained a small number of these items. Great stories and interesting to read. 

[a] 4 x Police Budget Edition Famous Crimes relating to 'Jack the Ripper.'

4 X Police Budget Edition Famous Crimes relating to 'Mrs Maybrick.' [murder of her husband].

[c] 1 magazine account of the 'Houndsditch incident and the Sidney Street Siege.'

 

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Hi,

'The William Theodore Males connection to the Izzard family and therefore to PC 881 Edward Watkins and Mitre Square.'

This group of medals I purchased over five years ago and I immediately began to research them. I only partly completed the research because Police Constable 108 William Theodore Males who was a City of London Police Constable from 1893 to 1903, did not appear to warrant the additional expense of purchasing his personal records from the London Metropolitan Archives. Police Constable 108 William Males personal file had survived and amounted to 19 sides of paper. At todays prices, requesting copies from the London Metropolitan Archives would have probably cost around £100. Therefore I summarised the research information and closed down his file and it was my intention to re-open it some later date in the future.

Five years later, I was considering entering his story to, 'Tales from the Station Cat,' but after reading the original summary, I realised there was a connection to Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins story and every little connection, even if it is not directly connected, is worth noting.

Police Constable 108 William Theodore Males and his City of London Police career:- 

William Theodore Males was born in Hitchin, in Hertfordshire, in 1874.

In the England Census of 1891, William Males is 17 years old and is residing with his family at 13 Market Place, in Hitchin, in Hertfordshire.

William T Males served in the 1st Hertfordshire Volunteers from August of 1888 to March of 1893. William's previous employment, prior to joining the City of London Police, was with the Humber & Co Ltd at 32 Holborn Viaduct which was a cycle manufacturer.

In 1893, William T Males joins the City of London Police and becomes Police Constable 108 William Theodore Males and who's physical description is...….five feet ten inches in height, having a chest measurement of just over thirty six inches, grey eyes, brown hair and had a fresh complexion and had a scar on the back of his left hand.

In 1897, William T Males marries Lillie Louisa Izzard who's father is Chief Inspector James Alfred Izzard with the City of London Police. On the marriage certificate William is listed as being a Police Constable. Lillie Louisa Izzard is recorded as residing at 39 Bishopsgate Street in London.

In 1897, Police Constable 108 William T Males is awarded the Queen Victoria City of London Jubilee medal for 1897 for being on duty during Queen Victoria's Jubilee Parade through London.  

On the 11th of December in 1898, William and Lillie Males see the birth of their first child 'Alfred James Males' whilst living at 3 New Street, in Bishopsgate.

In the England Census of 1901, William is 27 and recorded as being employed as a Police Constable, Lillie Males is 22 and their son Alfred Males is now 2 years old. Lillie Louisa's sister 'Nellie Izzard' [24] is also staying with them and is recorded as being employed as a waitress. The family are residing at 3 New Street, St. Botolph, Bishopsgate.

There is an Old Bailey trial record for the 24th of June in 1901, regarding a theft charge and Police Constable William Males who was in plain clothes, along with another officer, assisted in arresting three individuals. One of the prisoners kicked William on the leg resulting in a cut which caused him to be off his work for two weeks. The prisoners were found guilty and sentenced to between 18 and 20 months imprisonment.

In 1902, Police Constable William T Males is awarded the Coronation City of London medal for 1902 for being on duty and taking part in the Coronation Parade through London.

In 1903, Police Constable William T Males leaves the City of London Police.

There is a 6th division report by District Inspector F Chapman, dated 28/11/1903 which states:-

At 5.40pm on the 28/11/1903, District Inspector F Chapman was called to the Magpie Public House at 12 New Street, Bishopsgate and was informed by the manager that the individual identified as 'William Males' was drunk and being abusive and using obscene language and had been refused service and was now refusing to leave the premises. District Inspector F Chapman with the assistance of the manager removed William from the Public House. Since William lived nearby the Inspector accompanied him home and William promised to go up the stairs to his flat quietly. William rang his door bell and then started to abuse his wife and then returned to the Magpie Public House and again demanded to be served. This time District Inspector F Chapman took a Police Sergeant [PS40] with him to attend the Magpie Public House. William Males was removed from the premises after considerable effort, abuse and violent behaviour and was taken to the Police Station. William Males then claimed he was not drunk and a doctor was summoned to also make a report. William T Males was forced to resign forthwith due to the incident.

In the England Census of 1911, we find that William Males [37] is now a Persian Carpet Salesman, Lillie is 32 and Alfred James Males is 12 years old. The family now includes Sydney William Males aged 9 and Hilda Lillian Males aged 2 and the family are residing at 3&4 New Street, in Bishopsgate City. The family had obviously survived the drunken incident which had terminated William's career with the City of London Police in 1903.

 

William Theodore Males and the Izzard family connection in 1888. [Note there were 2 City of London Police Inspectors Izzard's in 1888 ie Inspector James Alfred Izzard and Inspector George Izzard.]

William Theodore Males married Lillie Louisa Izzard in 1897 and her father is listed on the marriage certificate as City Chief Inspector James Alfred Izzard.

Chief Inspector James Alfred Izzard joined the City of London Police on the 27th of August in 1874 and a was issued with the number of 4289.

James Alfred Izzard retired from the City of London Police on the 19th of July in 1900 and received an annual pension of £146.3s.3d. Many important people attended James Alfred Izzard's retirement and it was also mentioned in the Times Newspaper and he also received the massive sum of 200 guineas as a gift.

During the 'Ripper Murders' James Alfred Izzard would have been an Inspector and he is recorded in the England Census of 1891 as being of this rank within the City Police.

It should be noted on James Alfred Izzard's marriage certificate in 1875 when he married Elizabeth Ellen Gater, he was recorded as residing at 482 Wandsworth Road, in Clapham. This is the same address/residency for Sergeant George Izzard of the City of London Police and his family, in the England Census of 1881.

George Izzard joins the City of London Police on the 12th of May in 1859 and was issued with the number of 2951 and retired on pension in January of 1890.

We can evidence these two Inspectors had a family connection by the following observations:- 

[a] Both these men had the same surname which was not a common surname.

Both these men were born in the town of Welwyn, in Hertfordshire.

[c] Records show they resided together for a period of time in the family home of George Izzard and this is the only record of George Izzard taking in any kind of lodgers/boarders etc. 

[d] Therefore it is reasonable to suspect these two man are related and family and the most likely connection is that they are brothers.

 

'The murder of Catherine Eddowes, in Mitre Square and the discovery of her body by Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins':-

Once the alarm had gone out about finding another Jack the Ripper murder victim, crowds soon formed around Mitre Square and the City of London Police gave Inspector Izzard and Sergeants Dudman and Phelps the responsibility for controlling and ensuring public order within the surrounding area. I believe this specific duty was given to Inspector George Izzard but it is also possible the Inspector was James Izzard.

Therefore we have the connection between Police Constable 108 William T Males and his wife's family and Inspector Izzard and Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins confirmed by the incident in Mitre Square. Both Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins and Inspector Izzard were there at the murder scene of Catherine Eddowes on that fateful night.

There are other interesting stories covering Inspectors George and James Izzard but for this entry we are only interested in the Mitre Square murder.

Further research may positively confirm the details but one fact that cannot be disputed is that these two men and the Izzard family in 1888 played a part in the City of London Police investigations and hunt for Jack the Ripper.

 

Here are some photographs of the Queen Victoria City of London Jubilee medal for 1897 which was awarded to 'PC 108 W T Males' and the Coronation City of London medal for 1902 and awarded to 'PC W T Males.' There is also his son's 'Alfred James Males' Victory medal and awarded to '3146 Pte A Males 4-Lond R.' 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi,

Just a quick update:-

'Inspector George Izzard is the uncle of Inspector/Chief Inspector James Alfred Izzard who is his nephew.' 

Family history of the Izzard's.

John Izzard [1809-1852] and Sarah Izzard [nee Pratt 1806-1888.].

Their son is George Izzard [1842-1901, born in Welwyn, Hertfordshire in 1842.]. Later to become City Inspector George Izzard.

Their daughter is Elizabeth [Betsey] Izzard [1837-1891, born in Welwyn in 1837]. Older sister of George Izzard.

In 1854, in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, Elizabeth [Betsey] Izzard gives birth to ''James Alfred Izzard'' without marrying and the family relationship of uncle and nephew is created.

A family tree on Ancestry was of great assistance.

 

All I need now is to confirm which of the two Inspector Izzard's was in charge of crowd control at the Catherine Eddowes murder/Mitre Square Incident. I believe it was most likely Inspector George Izzard but hopefully this can be confirmed one way or another.

Alan. 

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Hi,

'Inspector George Izzard - knew Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins because they both served in the Bishopsgate Police Station.'

As we know, at 1.45am on Sunday the 30th of September in 1888, Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins found the mutilated body of Catherine Eddowes, in Mitre Square. As the word spread that 'Jack the Riper' had claimed another victim, crowds soon formed in the area. It was City of London Police Inspector Izzard that was given the task of ensuring crowd control and public safety.

All the evidence points towards this City of London Police Inspector being, 'Inspector George Izzard' who was stationed at Bishopsgate Police Station.

Inspector George Izzard is the uncle to City of London Police Inspector James Alfred Izzard and both the uncle and nephew were City of London Police Inspectors in 1888.

Inspector George Izzard 's personal file has not survived  but from the 'Warrant Book' entries we know he joined the City of London Police on the 12th of May in 1859 and that his police number was 2951.

We also know that when William Bull [27] of 6 Stannard Road in Dalson presented himself to Bishopsgate Police Station and claimed he was a medical student at the London Hospital and that he had murdered Catherine Eddowes in Mitre Square, it was Inspector George Izzard that took the statement. Inspector George Izzard then established that William Bull came from a good family and that he had no medical connection with the London Hospital and that he could not have committed the crime. William Bull in apologising to the court claimed to have been drunk at the time of the confession. It was stressed that William Bull's actions had been extremely foolish and potentially dangerous.

There was an incident on Monday night on the 9th of September in 1889 where a Mr Samuel Robertson [53] a gentleman from Dalston appeared the worse for drink and was seen staggering and then fell to the ground. Police Constable 891 Green took the injured man to the hospital. Later a hospital doctor released Mr Robertson back into the care of Bishopsgate Police Station because he believed the man was simply drunk. When City of London Police Inspector George Izzard came on duty the next morning, the prisoner was found to be in an unconscious state and he was immediately sent to the hospital but later died that night. The post-mortem found a blood clot had formed from his previous fall. The jury expressed their opinion that the deceased should have been kept in hospital and that great credit was due to Inspector Izzard and the Police.

We also know that Inspector George Izzard retired on pension in January of 1890 and which means he did not just complete the necessary 26 years of service to obtain a full pension but actually completed approximately 30 years of service.

In the England Census of 1891, we find that George Izzard is the Licenced Victualler of the 'George and Dragon Public House' in the High Street, in Codicote, in Hertfordshire. It appears to be a busy family home because his wife and children are residing there but he also has visiting family members and even boarders.

There is a nice story that on Saturday the 25th of August in 1894, 22 members of the City of London Police cricket team visited an old retired friend 'George Izzard' at the George Hotel, in Codicote. Among the company was his nephew Chief Inspector James Alfred Izzard and Sergeant Izzard who I believe was George Izzard's son. The City of London Police team then played the Welwyn team and then had lunch. Afterwards they returned to the George Hotel to attend a 'smoking concert' which involved live music to an all male audience and which was a Victorian favourite event. The company returned to London by the last train after having spent a most enjoyable day.

In the England Census of 1901, we find that George Izzard is now the Sub Postmaster and is assisted in the Post Office by members of his family which is located in the High Street, in Codicote, in Hertfordshire.

On the 31st of July in 1901, George Izzard dies in Hertfordshire.

 

[A little insight to George Izzard]

 

 

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                               'Police Constable [City 251] George Izzard, Old Bailey trial attendance, in 1864.'

 

On the 17th of May in 1864, John Elvery [27] stole a 7 yard roll of cloth from a tailors shop and he was then chased and caught by the shopman in Charles Street, in Hattongarden. Metropolitan Police Constable [G210] William Taylor then took charge of the prisoner.

Police Constable [City 251] George Izzard also came to the assistance of Police Constable [G210] William Taylor.

At the Old Bailey trial of John Elvery, the prisoner was found guilty of the charge. A previous conviction in 1854 regarding a felony charge which resulted in John Elvery receiving a 4 year sentence was also highlighted to the court.

For the theft of the roll of cloth, John Elvery was sentenced to 5 years penal servitude.

 

What is interesting and nice about the case, is the co-operation between the Police Constables of the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police. They worked together to ensure the conviction of the prisoner.

The sentence appears to be quite considerable for a rather inept and poorly thought out attempted theft but we must remember this incident occurred in 1864.

The case also highlights why prisoners would use any means necessary, including alias names, to prevent their previous convictions from being identified. Repeat offenders, even if their previous conviction was over a decade old, could often expect little sympathy from the judge and court.

Another small insight to George Izzard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is some more information on the Izzard family:-

'Chief Inspector James Alfred Izzard of the City of London Police.'

James Alfred Izzard joins the City of London Police on the 27th of August in 1874 and was issued with the police number of 4289 and is also the nephew of Inspector George Izzard. Inspector George Izzard became famous for being in charge and responsible for the crowd control and public safety, at the incident involving the murder of Catherine Eddowes, in Mitre Square. James Alfred Izzard's daughter 'Lilly Louisa Izzard' also marries Police Constable [City 408] William Theodore Males and there are other Izzard family connections to the City of London Police.

Unfortunately, the City of London Police personal file for Chief Inspector James Alfred Izzard has not survived.

During the Jack the Ripper reign of terror in 1888, Inspector James Alfred Izzard appears to be stationed at Seething Lane Police Station, 54/55/56 Great Tower Street whilst his uncle Inspector George Izzard was stationed at the Bishopsgate Police Station.

In the England Census of 1891, Inspector James Alfred Izzard is recorded as lodging at the Seething Lane Police Station while his wife and children are away visiting their parents/grandparents etc in Hertfordshire.

In 1894, James Alfred Izzard and family are residing in a dwelling house at 36-39 Bishopsgate Street.

On the 23rd of March in 1895, there is an article in the newspapers of an extraordinary explosion that took place at Fenchurch Street Railway Station where an elderly man was literally blown to pieces. He was a gardener to a Plaistow doctor and had been sent to a Fleet Street opticians to collect some sides and an oxygen cylinder for a magic show that was being put on. Whilst sitting on a seat, on the platform, he accidentally dropped the oxygen cylinder and the resulting explosion was so powerful that people thought that a railway locomotive engine boiler had exploded. Chief Inspector Izzard took charge of the incident and body parts were placed in a couple of hampers, until a shell from the local City Mortuary arrived.

On the 9th of September in 1895, there is an article in the newspapers regarding 'a bomb' in London. A suspicious device was found in Mincing Lane which had previously been run over by a sewer cart and was believed to be a bomb. Chief Inspector Izzard who is the inspector appointed by the City of London under the Explosives Act was immediately called to the incident. The device was placed in water to make it safe and was eventually sent to the Home Office Inspector of Explosives who declared the device harmless.

In 1897, James Alfred Izzard and family are residing in a dwelling house at 36-39 Bishopsgate Street.

Chief Inspector James Alfred Izzard was heavily involved in the City of London Police cricket team and other City of London Police sporting events which can be evidenced by a newspaper article in 1897 which reported on one such event.

In 1900, James Alfred Izzard and family are residing in a dwelling house at 36-39 Bishopsgate Street.

On the 19th of July in 1900, Chief Inspector James Alfred Izzard retires from the City of London Police and is awarded a pension of £146.3s.3d. 

On the 9th of January in 1901, at the Bishopsgate Institute ex-Chief Inspector James Alfred Izzard was presented with an address and cheques for 200 guineas on his retirement from the City of London Police. On the platform were many distinguished guests and there was a great deal of praise for his service to the City of London Police.

In the England Census of 1901, we find that James Alfred Izzard is recorded as being a 'Police Pensioner' and the family are residing at City Cottage, 129 Rabley Heath, in Codicote, in Hertfordshire.

In the England Census of 1911, we find that James Alfred Izzard is recorded as being a 'Police Pensioner' and the family are residing at City Cottage, Rabley Heath, in Codicote, in the Parish of Welwyn, in Hertfordshire.

In 1926, James Alfred Izzard dies at City Cottage Rabley Heath, in Hertfordshire.

 

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Hi,

In May of 2018, I purchased a Metropolitan Police Coronation medal for 1911 on ebay which I considered to be very interesting and was surprised by the lack of interest in the medal.

The Metropolitan Police Coronation medal for 1911 was awarded to, 'PC A Phelps.'

Now at this point, don't get mixed up with the City of London Police Sergeant William Henry Phelps who along with City of London Police Inspector George Izzard was involved in crowd control and public safety at the murder scene of Catherine Eddowes, at Mitre Square, in 1888.

Alfred Robert Phelps was born in Mitcham, in Surrey, in 1888 and so was only a baby during the Jack the Ripper murders.

Alfred Robert Phelps parents were Ambrose and Christiana Phelps. Ambrose Robert Phelps was born in Monmouthshire, in Wales, in 1858. On the 20th of August in 1885, Ambrose R Phelps married Christiana Mason, in Lambeth. It is recorded on the marriage certificate that Ambrose Phelps was employed as a Police Constable and his father was John Phelps.

Police Constable Ambrose Robert Phelps joined the Metropolitan Police on the 28th of February in 1881 and was assigned to Wandsworth or 'V' division and given the warrant number of 65328. Police Constable Ambrose R Phelps was awarded the Queen Victoria Metropolitan Police Jubilee medal for 1887 whilst serving with Clapham or 'W' division. Police Constable Ambrose R Phelps served in the Metropolitan Police during investigation and the hunt Jack the Ripper.

In the England Census of 1891, Police Constable Ambrose R Phelps and his wife Christiana Phelps and their two children Alfred R Phelps aged 3 and Ada G Phelps aged 1 are residing in the family home at 17 Tree Grove, Court Yard, in Eltham, in Greenwich.

On the 6th of August in 1894, Police Constable Ambrose R Phelps at the age only 36 dies whilst he was serving with Greenwich or 'R' division. Sadly, he was leaving a widow and two young children, without their husband/father. The burial took place at Saint John the Baptist, in Eltham, in Greenwich.

I am sure the Phelps family would have pulled together for this sad event and it would have been interesting to know who attended the funeral. One person I am sure would have attended was Ambrose's older brother and he was 'City of London Police Sergeant William Henry Phelps,' Yes, this is the same City Policeman who was responsible for the crowd control and public safety at Mitre Square .[William Henry Phelps born in Monmouthshire, in Wales, in 1851 and those parents were John and Mary Phelps].

So you see the Phelps family service with the London Police comes with a famous connection to the City of London Police but also has a family connection to the Metropolitan Police.

Ambrose Robert Phelps never knew his son would join the Metropolitan Police but on the 1st of November in 1909, Alfred Robert Phelps joins Bow or 'K' division and is given the warrant number of 97434. Police Constable Alfred Robert Phelps was awarded the Metropolitan Police Coronation medal for 1911. On the 5th of November in 1934, Police Constable Alfred Robert Phelps retired on pension from the Metropolitan Police and Southwark or 'M' division. Alfred Robert Phelps later rejoins the Metropolitan Police and Southwark or 'M' division for service during the 2nd World War.

It can be a small world at times, brother, uncle and nephew.

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On the 23rd of March in 1895, there is an article in the newspapers of an extraordinary explosion that took place at Fenchurch Street Railway Station where an elderly man was literally blown to pieces. He was a gardener to a Plaistow doctor and had been sent to a Fleet Street opticians to collect some sides and an oxygen cylinder for a magic show that was being put on. Whilst sitting on a seat, on the platform, he accidentally dropped the oxygen cylinder and the resulting explosion was so powerful that people thought that a railway locomotive engine boiler had exploded. Chief Inspector Izzard took charge of the incident and body parts were placed in a couple of hampers, until a shell from the local City Mortuary arrived.

 

Thanks again Alan, for a most interesting read!!!!!

One cannot imagine what the scene that presented itself to the Insp Izzard must have been like!!!

 

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Hi,

Part 1...…..This medal is a City of London Police Jubilee medal for 1887 and with the 1897 clasp and was awarded to ''PC 492 Henry Webb.'' I will give you all his details in this entry but in Part 2...….. I will compare this individual to PC 881 Edward Watkins in a specific way but that will have to be done later.

Police Constable 492 Henry Webb. City of London Police.

Henry Webb was born in Sunninghill, in Berkshire, in 1834.

Henry Webb served in the Royal Navy for approximately 8 years, from 1857/1858 to January of 1866 and this explains why at 31 , he was an older recruit than normal , on joining the City of London Police. On the 8th of February in 1866 Henry Webb became Police Constable 492 Henry Webb, warrant number 3868 and was assigned to the 3rd division. 

PC Henry Webb [City Policeman 492] gave evidence at the Old Bailey trial of James Knight and Charles Chandler who were charged with coining offences, on the 4th of April in 1870. PC 492 Henry Webb gave evidence relating to their previous convictions and both men were convicted and sentenced to 5 years penal servitude.

PC Henry Webb [City Policeman 492] gave evidence at the Old Bailey trial of William Williams [25] who was charged with simple larceny, on the 9th of January in 1871. William Williams was accused of stealing a half chest of tea from a wagon at New Bridge Street, in Blackfriars. PC 492 Henry Webb arrested William Williams and gave evidence at the trial. The prisoner was found not guilty.

PC Henry Webb [City Policeman 492] gave evidence at the Old Bailey trial of John McDonald [31] for robbery, on the 12th of January in 1874. The prisoner attempted to rob an individual of a bag which contained a number of diamonds. PC 492 Henry Webb arrested the prisoner outside the Blue Anchor Public House. The prisoner was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

It is interesting to note that the heaviest sentence passed down was for 'coinage offences.'' Maybe they considered this type of offence was the greatest danger to the economy or maybe the heavier sentence was due to having prior convictions

In 1887, PC 492 Henry Webb was on duty for Queen Victoria's Jubilee Parade through London and was therefore awarded the Queen Victoria City of London Police Jubilee medal for 1887.

In 1888, PC 492 Henry Webb walked the streets of the City of London during the famous investigation and hunt for Jack the Ripper. The City of London was obviously heavily involved in the investigation especially regarding the Catherine Eddowes murder, in Mitre Square. It is also interesting to note that PC 492 Henry Webb would have been an extremely experienced Police Constable and would have been 53 years old in 1888.

On the 19th of May in 1892 PC 492 Henry Webb retired on pension from the City of London Police when he was 58 years & 2 months old. I would suspect that it was quite an achievement for a Police Constable to still be pounding the beat at his age and therefore he must have been quite fit and in good health. I am sure he must have gained a great deal of respect from his colleagues, that he managed to complete his 26 years of pensionable engagement. 

From his person record which survived, we know that in 1892 he was five feet and ten and a half inches tall, had a fresh complexion, dark brown hair and grey eyes. Henry Webb also had visible tattoo's on both his arms.

Henry Webb's retirement was only 4 years before the retirement of Edward Watkins.

In 1897, Henry Webb was recalled to duty with the City of London Police for Queen Victoria's Jubilee Parade through London in 1897 and was therefore awarded the Queen Victoria City of London Police Jubilee Clasp. Henry Webb at this point is now 63 years old. I would suggest that he was recalled to duty because of his excellent record and for no other reason.

It is interesting to note that some ''City of London Police personal files'' do survive but others like Inspector George Izzard or Chief Inspector James Izzard do not. Even where a file does exist, you cannot confirm that it is complete because they do not seem to ever come with any index of their contents. The personal file also vary considerably in size ie Edward Watkins with approximately 13 pages [13 single sides of information] and Henry Webb only having 5 pages. [5 single sides of information] and that is just two examples.

 

  

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Hi,

Part 2. 

'Comparing two City of London Police Constables - Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins and Police Constable 492 Henry Webb - that rejoined for Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1897,'

I believe that the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police would have had a set criteria for the rejoining of ex-Police personnel for duties relating to the Queen Victoria's Jubilee for 1887 and 1897. It certainly would not have been done on an ad hoc or unprofessional way.

For the purposes of this comparison, I will concentrate on the Queen Victoria Jubilee of 1897.

For the purposes of this comparison, I will concentrate on the City of London Police criteria for the rejoining of ex-Police personnel for duties relating to the Queen Victoria's Jubilee for 1897.

Queen Victoria 's Jubilee in  1897 would have been one of the biggest events that London has ever seen. This historic event was on a huge scale but the City of London Police did have  previous experience from Queen Victoria's Jubilee from 1887 regarding how to organize and manage such an event.

For the Queen Victoria Jubilee in 1887, the City of London Police issued 900 Queen Victoria  City of London Police Jubilee medals to its personnel.

By 1897, naturally the establishment of the City of London Police would have increased over the previous decade.

'The City of London Police awarded the following number of medals and clasps to their personnel in 1897.' 

[a] 535 Queen Victoria City of London Police medals for 1897 were awarded.                              485 Queen Victoria Police Clasps for 1897 were awarded. [These 1897 clasps were then attached to their original 1887 Jubilee medals which had previously been awarded.]               [c] This means a total of 1,020 Queen Victoria City of London medals and clasps for 1897 were awarded.  

I can find no data that gives an exact number of ex-City of London Police personnel that were selected to rejoin but I would suspect it would be in the double digit figure range. Where that figure would be found ie lower or middle or higher double digit range, would require additional information. If we knew the establishment figure for the City of London Police in 1897 or around that date, we could then determine with greater accuracy the number of additional City of London Policemen that rejoined to man this historic event.  

The criteria used for the City of London Police may have been more specific and rigid than the criteria used for the Metropolitan Police because while the City of London Police rejoining numbers were much smaller, the Metropolitan Police numbers rejoining were in the high hundreds level. The 'Update of information on Pensioners who rejoined the Metropolitan Police for the 1897 Jubilee by J. H. F. Kemp,' records over 800 plus individual Police pensioners who rejoined the Metropolitan Police in 1897.

'Therefore we have PC 881 Edward Watkins and PC 492 Henry Webb that were both selected to rejoin the City of London Police for Queen Victoria's Jubilee Parade in 1897. What basic facts can be deduced from their circumstances that might help to indicate this criteria for rejoining the City of London Police.'

[a] Both Edward Watkins and Henry Webb had completed their pensionable engagements with the City of London Police and were now City of London Pensioners.                                      Both Edward Watkins and Henry Webb were considered to be first class Police Constables. [Statements given at the time of the Catherine Eddowes murder in Mitre Square etc clearly indicate the PC 881 Edward Watkins was considered to be a good and reliable Police Constable. Henry Webb actually rejoined at the age of 63 which is clear evidence that the City of London Police must have considered him to be a good and reliable Police Constable. It should also be remembered that Henry Webb had also served Queen and Country in the Royal Navy for 6 years, prior to joining the City of London Police. One huge reason for the selection of Edward Watkins for these duties, was that he was one of the most famous City of London Police Constables. His story and connection with the murder of Catherine Eddowes, at the time of the murder and at the time of the inquest, was published in every newspaper and even included sketches of him in uniform. I believe this fame would have placed him at the top of any list of rejoining City of London Police Constables.]                 [c] Both Edward Watkins and Henry Webb had participated in Queen Victoria's Jubilee Parade in 1887 and therefore they had first hand experience on what the City of London Police duties would be during this historic event.                                                                                            [d] Both Edward Watkins and Henry Webb were residing in London and were therefore available to take on these City of London Police Jubilee duties.                                                       [e] Both Edward Watkins and Henry Webb would have been required to be both fit and well and in general good health.

 

 Hopefully I have not made too many mistakes as I am not the greatest typist.

regards,

Alan.

 

 

 

My apologies I don't quite understand why the bold lettering keeps jumping in or why the lists ie [a] etc keep getting messed up, as when I am writing the reply on my computer, everything looks fine. 

Alan.

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Hi,

Here we have a nice original newspaper archive photograph from 1987. 

The stamp states, 'The Daily Telegraph published - 3 Oct 1987.'

Obviously, they reproduced this section of the sketch showing Police Constable 881 Watkins signalling for assistance, in Mitre Square. The larger original sketch would have been created so that the newspaper readers could get an idea or feel for the events on that fateful night. [Jack the Ripper and the murder of Catherine Eddowes]  This sketch therefore does not really need to closely resemble Police Constable Watkins physical appearance because the person, place and situation are all indicated in the sketch scene.

Actually, I have just noticed that the sketch appears to show Police Constable Watkins about to blow his whistle for assistance. I am not a Ripperologist but I am sure it was only the night watchman George Morris [Met. Police pensioner] that did that. I don't remember any suggestions that Watkins blew his whistle?

Alan. 

 

 

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I believe the City of London Police used rattles during this period. George MORRIS is supposed to have had one. 

 

.......Amos SIMPSON would have had a whistle to but let’s not go there 😂😂😂

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Hi,

Obviously, the original suggestion that Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins blew his Police whistle at Mitre Square to raise the alarm of Catherine Eddowes murder, originated from the press sketches in 1888 which appear to show him doing such a thing. 

I am surprised that the City of London Police were so far behind the Metropolitan Police in the use of Police whistles. Joseph Hudson of Birmingham supplied the Metropolitan Police with 21,000 whistles in 1884. That is also probably why George Morris, a retired Metropolitan Policeman, still retained a Police whistle or obtained one by another means. 

I do seem to remember something which quoted PC 881 Edward Watkins as saying he had not given the 'general alarm' at Mitre Square and this obviously was because he had requested George Morris to take on this task and get additional assistance. The information probably came from the Catherine Eddowes inquest. I think it is reasonable to say that PC 881 Edward Watkins also did not raise any alarm using a rattle because he had already designated the duty of raising the alarm and getting addition assistance to George Morris and also because there are no accounts of PC Watkins doing such a thing. 

I believe it was well known that whistles could be heard from a distance of a 1,000 yards [900m] so it is slightly confusing why the City of London Police did not take up this new means of summoning assistance sooner. I also seem to remember reading somewhere that individuals of substance ie money ….....would often carry whistles for their personal protection.  

Alan.

 

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Hi,

Just as Police Constable 881 Edward Watkins was part of the City of London Police hunt for Jack the Ripper in 1888, here is the story, so far, of Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly of the Metropolitan Police who served in Whitechapel or 'H' division and who also was part of the hunt for Jack the Ripper.

Joseph Roskelly was born in St. Sampson, Fowey, in Cornwall, on the 14th of March in 1855. Nearly everywhere you will find his surname spelt 'Roskelly' but the real spelling of his name is 'Roskelley.'

On the 17th of January in 1876, Joseph Roskelly joins the Metropolitan Police and was assigned to St. James's or 'C' division and was given the warrant number of 59872.

On the 17th of December in 1880, Police Constable Joseph Roskelly is promoted to Police Sergeant and transferred to Whitechapel or 'H' division. The promotion to Police Sergeant within a 4 year period, is evidence, that he was considered to be a very good Policeman. One source, I have seen stated there were 44 Police Sergeants on the establishment of Whitechapel or 'H' division.

In the England Census of 1881, we find that Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly is serving at the Police Station at 102 Mile End Road, in Whitechapel.

On the 16th of November in 1885, at the Old Bailey, John Durkin was indicted for unlawfully assaulting Elizabeth Jackson and actually occasioning her bodily harm. [living as common-law/died after the assault] Joseph Roskelly [Police Sergeant H6] gave evidence at the trial and John Durkin was found guilty of aggravated assault and sentenced to 6 months with hard labour.

On the 25th of October in 1886, at the Old Bailey, three prisoners were charged with violent theft and Joseph Roskelly [Police Sergeant H9] gave evidence and all three prisoners were found guilty and sentenced to 18 months with hard labour.

In 1887, Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly was on duty for Queen Victoria's Jubilee Parade through London and was therefore awarded the Metropolitan Police Jubilee medal for 1887 whilst serving in Whitechapel or 'H' division.

In 1888, Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly was one of a small band of Police Sergeants that administered Whitechapel or 'H' division. In the, 'casebook 'H' division personnel for 1888,' it is recorded that there were 19 x 1st Class Sergeants, 4 x 2nd Class Sergeants and 14 x 3rd Class Sergeants. Police Sergeant Josph Roskelly's duties would have been to supervise and check on the beat Police Constables under his supervision. I would suspect that Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly may well have been a 1st Class Sergeant because in just a couple of years he was promoted to Station Police Sergeant. [rank marking of 4 chevrons for a SPS]

On the 4th of December in 1888, the East London Observer published an article titled, 'Ripper Up.' An 'Alfred Eagleton' demanded money from a man and a woman and when the woman told him to go away, he produced a knife and threatened to, 'Ripper Up.' Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly was also threatened by the prisoner whilst he was brandishing the knife. Basically Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly disarmed the prisoner and took him into custody and he was then remanded over by the court. [see full account of newspaper article added to the end of this post] Note the play on words in the title of the article because this is at the height of the Jack the Ripper terror.

On the 15th of July in 1891, Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly is promoted to the rank of Station Police Sergeant and I believe he was then transferred to Bow or 'K' division.

In 1897, Station Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly was awarded the Queen Victoria Jubilee Clasp for 1897.

On the 11th of May in 1899, Station Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly does something wrong and is reduced in rank to Police Sergeant 2nd Class. Unfortunately at this moment, I do not know what his actions were that resulted in this punishment.

On the 11th of September in 1900, at the Old Bailey, two prisoners were charged with housebreaking and Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly [Police Sergeant 'K' divn.] gave evidence. It appears Joseph Roskelly whilst out walking with his wife and in civilian clothes, noticed several men acting suspiciously near a house. He obtained a key from a neighbour and entered the said property and caught the two men in the act of burglary. A Police Constable assisted in taking the prisoners back to the Police Station. The prisoners were given 2 and 9 month sentences. [What a story and what a man]

On the 20th of January in 1901, Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly retired from the Metropolitan Police and Bow or 'K' division. Joseph Roskelly was 45 years old and had completed 25 years and 4 days of service with the Metropolitan Police. Joseph physical description was 'dark twining grey hair, grey eyes, dark complexion and was five feet and seven and a half inches tall.

Hopefully there is still a little more of his story to come...…………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More photographs re Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly or Roskelley………….

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Hi, 

Regarding Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly's incident in 1900 when he was involved in the capture of 2 burglars....I had previously only posted the newspaper article describing the event. This is quite a good example of how reading the newspaper article and also in this case, the Old Bailey trial record, gives you a much better picture of what actually happened. It is only in the Old Bailey record [11th of September in 1900] that we learn Police Sergeant Joseph Roskelly was off duty and in civilian clothes and was taking a walk with his wife when the incident occurred. 

I have also added a transcript of the ''Ripper Up'' newspaper article from the 4th of December in 1888 which might be easier to read.

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