Aigburth Police Force The Plan To Establish One In 1842 - If you can read it
Courtesy Liverpool Records Office
Alfred Waterhouse - whose signature appears - was the father of the famous architect, also called Alfred Waterhouse.
Here's the wording on those two pages:
Resolved, That it appears to this Meeting desirable that a day and night Police for the Hamlet of Aigburth in the Township of Garston during the ensuing Winter should be forthwirth established and that the same shall be under the management of the following committee, viz [signed]:
" Bramley Moore
" Nicholas Robinson
" Alfred Waterhouse
" J. B. Lloyd
" George Thompson
" Winder [name unclear]
and that such committee shall have power to make rules and orders for the management thereof as they or any three of them at any meeting may from time to time think proper --
[first page ends, second begins]
Resolved that a Fund be raised to defray the expenses incident to and attending such a Police by an Assessment upon the Inhabitants of Aigburth who shall concur in the Resolutions at a Rate upon the Annual Rental of their respective houses and buildings as the same is assessed to the relief of the Poor for the Township of Garston to be fixed upon by the said Committee or any three of them [i.e., any three of the Committee members] at any of their meetings when such rate or rates shall be laid, proper notice thereof being given to all the Members of said Committee_
[signed] Nicholas Robinson, Chairman
We the undersigned being Inhabitants of Aigburth do hereby consent to become parties to the above Resolutions and to contribute to the expense attending the ....
[second page ends]
Very interesting Kev thanks for that.
I wonder where the police force was located when set up? Chris's transcript above refers to the "township of Garston", so maybe they were established there initially? The Police station in Lark Lane also comes to mind, which is shown on the OS map of 1893, but not on Newlands plan of 1863, some thirty years earlier?
Can anyone comfirm where the first Police Station was located? On a map preferably?
Attachment: 1893 OS map [showing Lark Lane Police Stn.] & 1863 Newlands plan [with the future site of L.L. Police Stn. shown].
I am guessing here but I should think there was no formal, established Aigburth police station until the one was built in Lark Lane. As you note, Aigburth was technically part of Garston, and in the 1840's of course not part of Liverpool but rather Lancashire at that date and for decades following. My sense is that as I stated earlier, the "Aigburth Police Force" of 1842 was a temporarily established force to see the community through the winter, as indicated in the document. That being said, there might not have been a police headquarters as such as there was later, but maybe they operated out of a residence or social hall. If a private house, it might even have been the residence of one of the worthies who sat on the committee.
Of course, such a temporary police station might have been in Lark Lane, as it was later when the red brick building now popularly known at "The Old Police Station" was built. Somehow these days, we tend to view Lark Lane as being separate from Aigburth, but back then, before Sefton Park was established, it could have seemed to be more part of the same area as Aigburth Vale. And I see even now there are references on websites to "the Old Police Station on Lark Lane, Aigburth, Liverpool" (Daily Post listing for an evening with "VINNY FINN. . . hosting a folk and blues night at 'Finn's Hotel' at the Old Police Station on Lark Lane, Aigburth, Liverpool" on August 9, 2008).
I suspect you're right on this. I think the idea of a police force evolving to meet the needs of an expanding population from simple beginnings is realistic. The demands of the day would have driven the need and provision a station later on. So maybe Lark Lane is still the forerunner of a purpose-built police station? I wonder if there are any publications on the history of policing in Liverpool, and beyond?
I get the impression that the Garston police station and the Lark Lane one were built around the same time. They certainly look similar. There are photographs on the site here by Kev and others. Thus I don't think (but may be wrong) that the Lark Lane police station preceded or was the prototype for other police stations. I would think that some academic might have done some sort of thesis on the early police districts of Liverpool and Lancashire.
Two extracts below from Recollections of Old Liverpool, by A Nonagenarian.
The 1st. is about the general state of crime around the outskirts of Liverpool particularly Toxeth Park. The 2nd is a report of a robbery at Mr. J. A. Yates’ house, in Toxteth Park [chapter 16].
A transcript of the full book can be read here.
"In the year 1816, in consequence of the high price of provisions, as mentioned in a former chapter, many persons rendered desperate by their wants, formed themselves into gangs of robbers, and committed many daring acts of depredation. Travellers were constantly stopped, ill-treated, and robbed on the roads in the vicinity of the town; and scarcely a day passed, without intelligence arriving of some house in the outskirts being attacked and plundered. To such an extent was this carried, that people commenced forming themselves into associations for their mutual protection. In Toxteth Park, this was especially the case, as several very serious robberies had been reported in that neighbourhood. It must be remembered that at that time Toxteth Park was but thinly populated. There were only a few good houses in it, occupied by highly respectable families, for the salubrious air of “the Park,” and the beautiful views of the river from many parts of it, gave it attractions to those who could live out of town. It was, amongst other things, proposed, I recollect, to have as protection, large and sonorous bells put up on the tops of the houses, so that on the least alarm of thieves, the bells might be rung to arouse the neighbours. Such precautions will be laughed at now-a-days, but something was necessary to be done at that time, when policemen were unknown, and personal protection was by no means much regarded. It was no uncommon circumstance for persons who had occasion to go out at night, to carry a brace of pistols with them; but whether they would have had courage to use them or not, I cannot say, but the fact of having such things at hand were crumbs of comfort to timid people."
"On the night of Friday, 16th August, 1816, about ten o’clock, six men wearing masks, and armed with pistols, might have been seen approaching Mr. Yates’ house. Two of them took their position outside as sentinels to give alarm to their companions, if necessary. The other four approached the back of the premises, and entered the house. Passing through the scullery they went into the kitchen, where they found a servant-maid and a footman. Threatening them with instant death if they gave any alarm, one of the four remained in the kitchen to watch the girl, while the other three compelled the footman to show them over the house. Proceeding up stairs, they encountered Mr. J. B. Yates, who was on a visit to Mr. J. A. Yates. On seeing the men approach, he inquired their business, when one of them aimed a blow at him, which, however, fortunately missed its mark, and only inflicted a slight wound on Mr. Yates’s mouth. They then ordered Mr. Yates to give up his money, which he did, fearing further violence. Driving him before them, they next entered a room, in which Mrs. J. B. Yates was sitting. They compelled her also to give up her money, watch, and the jewellery she wore. While this was going on, Mr. J. A. Yates arrived from Liverpool, and was seized by the two rascals stationed outside. They demanded his money, putting pistols to his head. Mr. Yates, however, with a good deal of nerve, rushed past the fellows, threw his watch away, and seized hold of the handle of the door bell, which he rung with considerable force. The men, however, again seized him, and told him his ringing would be of no use, as there were fellows inside who could overmaster any effort of his. But the ringing of the door-bell had seriously alarmed the party within, who were then robbing Mrs. Yates, as just mentioned. Snatching up whatever they could, which was portable and seemed of value, the fellows rushed down stairs, ordering the footman to open the hall-door. This he did, and availed himself of the opportunity of making his escape. He ran across the fields and speedily gave an alarm, but too late to be of any service; for, when assistance arrived, the thieves had decamped, taking with them about £14 in money, and a quantity of valuable plate and jewellery. The man left in the kitchen had contrived to secure the stock of plate. Four of the robbers were captured in September following, and committed to take their trial at Lancaster, where they were found guilty and sentenced to death. They were hung in October following, and it is a rather curious circumstance that the very week these men suffered the extreme penalty of the law for their misdeeds, a daring burglary was committed one night at the mill near Mr. Yates’ house, when five sacks of flour were stolen, put into a boat in waiting by the mill dam, and successfully carried off."
Excellent find. A very interesting account. I would suggest that this lawlessness occurred about the same time as the unemployment that occurred following the Napoleonic Wars that concluded with the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815 and the Treaty of Paris signed on 20 November 1815 following the defeat and second abdication of Napoleon Bonaparte. The unemployment in Liverpool at the time is the oft-stated reason for Joseph Wilkinson to begin his famous tunnels in Edge Hill -- though the Friends of Williamson's Tunnels website seems to indicate the definitive reason for the tunnels is uncertain.
In any case lawlessness in 1816 does not directly answer the question for the establishment of an Aigburth police force in 1842, although following Sir Robert Peel's establishment of the London Metropolitan police in 1829, various communities began forces of "Bobbies" or "Peelers" and by 1857 all cities in the UK were obliged to form their own police forces.
Thanks for that. 1816 - a little early I know, but it does give a good illustration of the fears and security concerns of the day, before Peel's "Bobbies" were established.
Aigburth plan 1842. By comparison The Liverpool Constabulary was established in February 1836 and was directly responsible to the Liverpool Town (from 1880, City) Council Watch Committee, some 6 years before the plan of 1842 was conceived. I think the Liverpool City boundary would have been Dingle Lane back in 1842.
Interestingly [from LRO record here] "Prior to 1836 the policing of the town of Liverpool had been one of the public services for which responsibility was divided between parish and borough. Under the terms of the Liverpool Corporation Act, 1748 ('An Act for building a church in the town of Liverpool...and for keeping and maintaining a nightly Watch there', 21 Geo 11, cap. 24) a Commission of Watch, Scavengers and Lamps was established , consisting of representatives of both authorities. Its membership was to be made up of the mayor, the recorder, the borough justices (aldermen) and 'eighteen of the principal inhabitants of the ...parish of Liverpool', the latter to be elected annually in the parish Vestry meeting. The Commissioners originally appointed 60 men as night watchmen, scavengers and lamplighters although numbers were subsequently increased..."
The same system of "Watch, Scavengers and Lamps" must have existed in Aigburth prior to 1842?
You are probably correct.
Of course before Sir Robert Peel established the Metropolitan Police force there were the Bow Street Runners that kept order in the city of London. That system of policing was established in 1749 by the novelist Henry Fielding. I imagine other jurisdictions around the British Isles had their own similar forms of early policing.
I don't think a history of the police in Liverpool exists.
The fire service has been covered recently, and the early fire stations were attached to police stations.
I don't know anything about police stations in Aigburth, apart from knowing Lark Lane police station was built in 1885 (thanks to the datestone).
Bridewells (police cells/stations) are shown on early maps, and the nearest one to Lark Lane was in Essex Street (1863 Newland's map).
The 1863 map doesn't include Garston, but there was a police station in St Mary's Road, Garston in the 1860s (the building survives).
Heald Street police station replaced this.