Bow Street, central London in 1868
Metropolitan Police Historical Timeline
Events between 1829 and 1899
|1829||John WRAY is appointed Receiver and Ellis and Ellis are appointed Police Solicitors (until 1874).
The Pawnbrokers lists are commenced.
The last execution for forgery is conducted. It is abolished in 1832.
Capital punishment for burglary is abolished.
Bridewell New Prison is erected. It is later demolished in 1864.
Metropolitan Police Divisions ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’, ‘E’ and ‘F’ established.
Truncheons are made of bamboo on lancewood and are 20” long.
Scotland Yard is at 4 Whitehall Place, until 1890.
Establishment of the Metropolitan Police:
8 Superintendents; 20 Inspectors; 88 Sergeants; 895 Constables; 5 Clerks for the Commissioner and Receiver
|Apr 15: Sir Robert PEEL introduced the Metropolitan Police Bill.
Jul 4: George Shillibeer’s omnibuses appeared.
Jul 7: Colonel, Sir Charles ROWAN and Richard MAYNE appointed as Justices of the Peace and joint Commissioners in charge of the force.
Jun 19: Royal Assent is given to Metropolitan Police Bill.
Oct 12: Metropolitan Police Instruction Book issued. (Police Order 17 Oct 1829).
Sep 17: First Police Orders issued - in manuscript.
|Sep 30: At 6 pm first Metropolitan Police Officers marched out onto the streets of London., their pay was 21 shillings per week and they had been recruited from 21 September. Police Orders of 29 September instructed the Inspectors to take charge of the watch houses from 4pm on Wednesday 30 September, and to await the arrival of the men, who were also instructed in the same Order to acquaint themselves with their beats for the following day.
Uniform: Blue single-breasted swallow tail coat, 8 gilt buttons down front (each with the Victoria Crown and the words ‘Police Force’), 4” Leather Stock fastened at the back with brass clasp, Blue trousers (white in summer), strapped-over boots and a black leather top hat.
Other rates of pay:
Superintendent: £200 pa; Inspector: £100 pa; Sergeant: 22 shillings and 6 pence per week.
Dec: ‘M’ Division established.
|1830||Population of London is 1,200,000.
Post of Chief Medical Officer for the Metropolitan Police is created.
‘G’, ‘H’, ‘K’, ‘L’, ‘N’, ‘P’, ‘R’, ‘S’, ‘T’, and ‘V’ Divisions established.
Uniform: Sergeants and Constables are issued with gloves (white for summer, black worsted for winter).
Mar: Uniform: Armlets are introduced. They are worn on the left arm to indicate that they were on duty (withdrawn July 1968).
May 17: Night-watchmen (‘Charlies’) disbanded.
Jun: 17 Divisions are completed; strength 3,350, 164 per Division; 8 Sections; 8 Beats. 17 Superintendents, 68 Inspectors, 323 Sergeants, 2,706 PCs.
Jun 28: PC Joseph 169 ‘S’ Division, GRANTHAM (Wt No 3170), is kicked in the head while attempting to arrest a drunken man at a disturbance in Somers Town.
Aug 18: PC LONG (Wt No 1715), ‘G’ Division, is stabbed to death (by SAPWELL) when he challenged three suspects near Grays Inn Lane.
Dec 17: Last pirates are executed at Execution Dock, Wapping, (George James DAVIS and William WATTS).
|1831||Tothill Fields Prison is rebuilt.
London Hackney Carriage Act is passed.
Further riots and a crowd attacked Apsley House, the home of the Duke of Wellington, and break all the windows. The police eventually restored order.
Italian Boy is murdered and it is linked to illegal provision of bodies for medical students.
Reform Bill creates riots at Bristol.
First edition of ‘Confidential Informations’ is published.
Oct 15: Special Constables Act. Two or more JPs are empowered to appoint specials upon information on oath that a disturbance exists or is feared.
|1832||Richard MAYNE, the Commissioner, tried to clarify the roles of the Magistrates and the Commissioners as the Bow Street Runners continued their existence.
Attempted assassination of King William IV.
Sir Richard BIRNIE, Chief Magistrate, died.
Capital punishment for forgery abolished (Last execution in 1829).
First stage Carriage Act.
Last two men are gibbeted (William JOBLING and James COOK).
Dissection of murderers' bodies made optional, this was later abolished in 1861.
A Parliamentary Commission is set up to enquire into rioting.
Apr: Cholera outbreak in London.
|1833||Parliamentary Committee on Police as Spies. Popay Case. (Police Officer William POPAY (Wt No 6778) is accused of ‘spying’ as he was working in plain clothes).
Parliament agreed to part of police cost being borne by the Exchequer.
Station Officers are deprived of the power to dismiss drunks.
The Lighting and Watching Act - Parishes are empowered to elect inspectors and appoint watchmen.
Jan: The London Fire Engine Establishment is formed.
May 13: Coldbath Fields Riots (Grays Inn Road)) A major crowd disturbance was dealt with by the Metropolitan Police with a controversial use of force. PC Robert CULLEY, 95 ‘C’ Division (Wt No 1044), was stabbed to death at this event and the jury returned a verdict of Justifiable Homicide.
|1834||The Select Committee designated with the task of enquiring into the state of the Police of the Metropolis reported that ‘the Metropolitan Police Force, as respects its influence in repressing crime and the security it has given persons and property, is one of the most valuable modern institutions’.
Bow Street officers are still investigating cases, Henry Goddard being called to investigate a fore in Oare, Wiltshire. Mr Richardson's murder in Surrey is being investigated by both Metropolitan Police and Bow Street.
Hansom Patent Safety Cab is introduced.
Poor Law Act created united workhouses.
Summer: Cholera and Typhus outbreak killed 5 police officers.
Alfred Swaine Taylor appointed Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at Guy's Hospital.
Hanging in chains is abolished.
Central Criminal Court Act is passed.
Destruction of both Houses of Parliament by fire.
|1835||Uniform: Sergeants are issued with a new Armlet containing two narrow blue and three wide white stripes worn on the right arm.
Highway Act has introduced Rule of the Road (Section 78 - that carriages and animals shall be driven on the left or near side of the road) and Furious Driving.
Bow Street's Henry Goddard solves firearms case in Southampton by comparing ammunition made from the same mould.
Reform Act is passed.
Gas installations are made at Police Stations.
Municipal Corporations Act establishes the Borough Police Forces.
Metropolitan Police Officers are sent to provinces to deal with riots against the Poor Law.
The Municipal Corporations Act required every Borough to appoint a watch committee with a duty of maintaining a police force.
Oct: A fire broke out at the Millbank Penitentiary and 400 Metropolitan Police officers and a detachment of Guards, were called to restore order. This prompted the press to call for the police to be put in command at all large fires.
|1836||James Greenacre is convicted of the murder of Hannah Brown.
Royal Commission on Police (1836 - 38).
Counsel for a prisoner accused of a felony is first permitted to address the jury on behalf of the prisoner.
Feb: London’s first railway opens between Spa Rd, Bermondsey and Deptford.
Sep: Blackheath Road Police Station is opened (R Division).
Oct: Bow St Horse Patrol is attached to the Metropolitan Police and placed under the authority of the Commissioners of Police.
Dec: London and Greenwich Railway is extended to London Bridge.
|1837||Queen Victoria succeeded William IV.
Select Committee is appointed to look into the affairs of the police offices. They also proposed that the City of London be placed under the control of the Metropolitan Police.
Sergeant Charles Otway assists Uxbridge magistrates with the murder of John Brill, an early example of assistance with investigations outside London.
Jul: London and Birmingham Railway opened from Euston Square to Boxmoor.
|1838||Select Committee reported and recommended incorporating the Marine Police and the Bow Street Runners into the Metropolitan Police and the disbandment of the Bow Street Office and other offices. These were all agreed and put into effect.
Office of Registrar of Metropolitan Public Carriages established. Drivers and Conductors first licensed - duties transferred to Commissioners in 1850.
Coronation of Queen Victoria.
|1839||The two Justices of the Peace, ROWAN and MAYNE were termed ‘Commissioners’ by the Metropolitan Police Act 1839. Enlargement of the Metropolitan Police District by the Same Act.
Captain William HAY appointed Inspecting Superintendent.
Authority to extend the Metropolitan Police District. Creation of statutory Street offences with power of arrest.
S 52 Traffic Regulations on special occasions.
First superannuation scheme established - 2.5% deduction. Pension at the age of 60.
Metropolitan Police Courts Act. Office of Receiver of Courts is amalgamated with Receiver of Police.
County Police Act. Justices of Quarter Sessions empowered to establish police.
Nelson’s Column begun in Trafalgar Square. It was completed in 1842.
Jun: Eastern Counties Railway opened - Mile End to Romford.
London & Croydon Railway opened over former Croydon Canal.
Aug 31: Thames Marine Police is incorporated in the Metropolitan Police.
Sep 24: Candidates Class established. 3 weeks drill.
Sep 30: PC William ALDRIDGE (Wt No 13759) ‘R’ Division died from a fractured skull after he was stoned by a mob during an arrest at Deptford.
Nov: City of London Police formed.
Nov 17: Bow Street Horse Patrol incorporated in Metropolitan Police, and 'Runners' (ie investigating officers) abolished.
|1840||Marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert.
Metropolitan Police Courts Act.
GOULD Interrogation case in which Police Sergeant Charles OTWAY (Wt No 9211) attempted to induce self-incrimination in the accused, which was immediately discountenanced by the courts and Commissioner Richard MAYNE.
Lord William Russell's murder (solved) creates a cause for campaign by The Times for specialist detectives.
Jan 13: Metropolitan Police District extended to six times original size.
May: Bullseye Pattern Oil Lantern issued to officers (Police Order 30 May 1840).
Jun 10: Attempted assassination of Queen Victoria by Edward OXFORD at Constitution Hill.
Transportation (legalised in 1597 during reign of Elizabeth I) to New South Wales ended.
|1841||Apr: Formation of the Dockyard Division of the Metropolitan Police comprising Deptford and Woolwich dockyards and placed under ‘R’ (Greenwich) Division.
Hertfordshire Constabulary formed.
Aug: Fenchurch Street Railway Terminus opened.
Oct 3: PC James CARROLL (WT No 17546) ‘H’ Division, attacked by a mob and struck with his own truncheon while making an arrest in Shoreditch.
Police prosecutions in hands of Treasury (until 1887).
Post of Surveyor for the Metropolitan Police created.
Uniform: Flaps sewn down either side of tunic, but no pockets.
Jan: PC 114 V Charles NICHOLLS found dead in suspicious circumstances near Vauxhall Turnpike.
May 5: PC Timothy DALY (Wt No 5277), ‘N’ Division, shot dead by Thomas Cooper while attempting to arrest a man for highway robbery at Highbury.
May 30: Assassination attempt on Queen Victoria by John FRANCIS in Constitution Hill.
Jul 3: Attempt on life of Queen Victoria by John BEAN.
Aug 15: Detective Branch established in the Metropolitan Police (2 Inspectors and 6 Sergeants) after newspaper criticism of the failure to catch Daniel Good for murdering Jane Good at Roehampton in March 1842. Good was arrested 6 weeks after the crime.
|1843||Woolwich Arsenal became part of the area to be patrolled by the Metropolitan Police.
London Hackney Carriage Act, the Commissioner is empowered to appoint cab ranks.
Mar: Brunel’s Thames Tunnel opened between Rotherhithe and Wapping.
|1844||Richard MAYNE, Commissioner, called to give evidence to the Select Committee on Dogs. He stated that in the Metropolis there were a rising number of lost or stolen dogs. In the preceding year over 600 dogs were lost and 60 stolen. He declared the law to be in a very unsatisfactory state as people paid money for restoration of dogs. ‘People paid monies to parties whom they have reason to believe have either stolen or enticed them away in order to get the reward...’. MAYNE believed it to be organised crime.
Trafalgar Square Act.
Uniform: New pattern with white buttons bearing words ‘Metropolitan Police’.
Henry SOLOMON (Chief Constable of Brighton) murdered by LAWRENCE.
May: ‘Bricklayers Arms’ terminus (off Old Kent Road) opened by the South-Eastern Railway Company to relieve congestion at London Bridge.
|1845||Telegraphy first used to assist apprehension of a criminal (John TAWELL).
The Commissioners, in returns to the Home Office, stated that the aim of the Force was to have one policeman to 450 head of population.
Cottage Road (Gerald Road) Pimlico police station opened on ‘B’ (Westminster Division).
|1846||Plain clothes officers were frequently used at this time, but a June order made clear that two officers per division would be employed on detective duties, but that police in plain clothes must make themselves known if interfered with in their duty.
Truncheons are marked with divisional letter and number.
Jan: Last Royal Mail Stage-Coach taken off the Brighton Road -’Killed by the Railways’.
Mar: Clapham Police Station opened.
Mar 7: PC James HASTIE (Wt No 21237) ‘R’ Division, died from head injuries after being assaulted by several men in a street disturbance at Deptford.
Jun 29: PC George CLARK (Wt No 22098) ‘K’ Division, brutally beaten and stabbed to death while on night duty at Dagenham.
Jul: London & South Western Railway extended to Richmond.
Town Police Clauses Act.
Statistics for the year were: 14,091 robberies; 62,181 people taken in charge; 24,689 of these were summarily dealt with; 5,920 stood trial and 4,551 were convicted and sentenced; 31,572 people were discharged by the magistrates.
The Metropolitan Police were still, despite their good record on crime prevention, facing discipline problems amongst their own officers on the 18 divisions, with 238 men being dismissed in the year.
Dec: Gardners Lane Police Station, Westminster replaced by King Street (A Division)
|1848||PC Daniel Harker MONK, (Wt No 24816) ‘E’ Division, struck with his own truncheon by a man attempting to free a prisoner at St Giles.
May: London & Southampton Railway opened from Nine Elms to Woking Common
Jun: Special recruitment of 600 men into the Metropolitan Police and large scale enrollment of 200,000 Special constables to assist the police in controlling the Chartist demonstrations. Mass meeting at Kennington.
July: Waterloo Station opened
|1849||Authorised strength 5,493. In reality 5,288 were available for duty. The population at that time in London was 2,473,758.
Aug: The Bermondsey Murder occurred on M Division, The victim, Patrick O'Connor, was identified partly because of his false teeth.
|1850||Charles DICKENS’ ‘Modern Science of Thief-Taking’ published in ‘Household Words’.
Dartmoor, formerly prisoner of war camp, taken over as convict prison.
Jan 5: Sir Charles ROWAN retired. Captain William HAY appointed Joint Commissioner.
Mar 25: Duties of Metropolitan Public Carriages transferred to the Commissioner.
May: Attack on Queen Victoria by Robert PATE.
May 8: Capt Douglas Labalmondiere appointed Inspecting Superintendent.
Jul 7: Sir Robert PEEL died after riding accident
|1851||Jan: Great Exhibition in Hyde Park with its special crowd problems forced the police temporarily to form a new police division. The total manpower of the force at that time was 5,551, covering 688 square miles.
Surrey Constabulary formed
May 5: PC Henry James CHAPLIN (Wt No 24774), ‘L’ Division, attacked and struck with bricks by a disorderly crowd at Vauxhall Walk.
|1852||Strength of force 5,652.
Feb: Great Ormond Street Hospital for sick Children opened.
May 8: Colonel, Sir Charles ROWAN, first Joint Commissioner died. In his obituary note of May 24, The Times wrote: ‘No individual of any rank or station could be more highly esteemed or loved when living, or more regretted in death.’
Richard Mayne knighted KCB.
Oct: Great Northern Railway extended from temporary terminus at Maiden Lane to Kings Cross.
Nov: Lying in State and funeral of Duke of Wellington - 3 people crushed to death. High Feeling against police. Order restored by police.
|1853||Lord Dudley STUART, MP for Marylebone and a persistent critic of the police, suggested in Parliament that the police were not worth the money they cost. He recommended that they be reduced in numbers and a higher class of officers be recruited to control the constables.
Uniform: Official issue of a belt to be worn with tunic.
London Hackney Carriage Act.
Select Committee formed to consider expediency of adopting more uniform system of police in England, Wales and Scotland. Chairman - Edward Royds RICE.
Penal Servitude Act. Transportation to Tasmania ended. Limited to Western Australia and gradually ceased.
|1854||Out of 5,700 in the Metropolitan Police, 2.5% were Scottish, 6.5% Irish. The Commissioner was not happy about employing these officers in areas of high Scottish or Irish ethnic concentrations.
Jan: The second Paddington Terminus opened by the Great Western Railway Company, replaces original station of 1838
|1855||Metropolitan Police Act. Strength of force 7-8,000.
6 Pillar Boxes introduced in London
Metropolitan Management Act.
Jul 1: Clash in Hyde Park between unemployed and police.
Aug 27: Sir Richard MAYNE became sole Commissioner on death of Captain HAY.
|1856||London General Omnibus Company Launched.
County and Borough Police Act. Counties and Boroughs compelled to appoint paid forces and furnish the Home Office with annual crime statistics. Home Office Inspectors of Constabulary Formed.
Detective Branch at Commissioner’s Office increased temporarily by 1 Inspector and 1 Sergeant (Made permanent in 1864).
Murder of John Cook by Dr William Palmer causes public hostility and new Act allows for such cases to be transferred for trial in a different part of the country.
New truncheons - 17” long
Jan: Metropolitan Police Act established one Commissioner instead of two.
Mar: Carter Street Police Station opens.
Last gibbet in England demolished at Jarrow.
Mar 3: First two Assistant Commissioners appointed (Captain Labalmondiere and Captain HARRIS).
Aug: Railways opened to Caterham and Loughton.
Nov: Parochial Cage or Lock-up removed at Beckenham.
Railway extended to Crystal Palace.
|1857||Penal Servitude Act abolished Transportation but still continued until 1867.
The Commissioner, Sir Richard MAYNE, is paid a salary of £1,883, and his two Assistant Commissioners are paid salaries of £800 each.
Metropolitan Police Act. Rating etc. for building and improving stations etc.
Jan: Kent Constabulary formed.
Jun 11: persons killed in Lewisham train crash.
Sep 1: Metropolitan Police Orders, Instructions and Pawnbroker list first issued in printed form (Printed by Harrison & Co, St Martin’s Lane (previously in manuscript)).
|1858||William HERSCHEL used fingerprints in India.
PC Henry MORGAN (Wt No 36449) ‘K’ Division, died from injuries received when attacked while making an arrest during an affray at Stepney.
First acquisition of a Police van for conveying prisoners. These were horse-drawn and known as ‘Black Marias’.
Mar 31: First estimate for English police for year ending - £145,980 (including salaries in Inspectors of Constabulary).
Apr: Queen Victoria opened Chelsea Suspension Bridge
Chelsea Watch House given up (from 1825)
|1859||Jan 6: Police Orders stated ‘It is a great gratification to the Commissioner that the number of police guilty of the offence of drunkenness during the late Christmas holidays has been much lower than last year.... In A, F and R Divisions only one man was reported in each and in H Division not one man was reported in the present or last year...’
Uniform: 4” leather stock worn by police officers around their necks reduced to 2” Discontinued in 1880.
Mar 31: Estimate for English and Scottish police for year just ended - £214,200.
April: Part of Bow and Poplar Sub Divisions (Middlesex) amalgamated to create the first West Ham Sub Division (Essex) - K Division.
Uniform: Metropolitan Police Order published forbidding carrying of umbrellas on duty. (Police Order 19 August 1859)
|1860||Constance KENT case in Wiltshire/Somerset, in which Jonathan Whicher is criticised for his arrest of Constance Kent, who, 5 years later, confessed to the murder of her young brother.
Age for joining Metropolitan Police: Minimum - 18 years, Maximum - 35 years (until 1890).
Police began the use of the ‘Bischoffsheim Hand Ambulances’ for injured, sick or drunk people. In use until 1938.
Maurice DRUMMOND appointed Receiver.
Oct 3: Metropolitan Police Act. Metropolitan Police took over Woolwich, Portsmouth, Chatham, Devonport and Pembroke Dockyards.
|1861||Jan 25: Police Orders made allowance for one third of the Metropolitan Police Officers in Dockyards ‘to be relieved each Sunday, to give them opportunity of attending Divine Service.
The Metropolitan Police acted as firemen at the British Museum. The Superintendent in charge said of them, ‘From their manner of doing the work, I should be inclined to place considerable confidence in these men in an emergency’.
Dissection of murderers’ bodies abolished.
Capital Punishment - Only four offences punishable - Murder, Treason, Piracy with Violence and setting fire to arsenals and/or dockyards.
Uniform: Duck Trousers as part of the uniform abolished.
Last execution for attempted murder (Martin DOYLE).
Metropolitan Police Act (Pensions).
Metropolitan Police (Receiver) Act.
City of London coal posts removed from a 20 mile radius around the Metropolis to the MPD boundary under Act of Parliament.
Mar 23: Trams first introduced in London. Removed in 1862 owing to inconvenience to other road users. Re-introduced May 9 1870.
Dec: ‘Police not to borrow money from publicans’ (Police Order 12 December 1861).
|1862||Second Great International Exhibition at South Kensington Formation of a new temporary ‘X’ Division to police the Exhibition.
Superannuation Fund of 1839 found insolvent. 50ths substituted for 30ths. Discontent led to strike in later years.
Strength of Force 7,112. Population 3,110,707.
Uniform: Official Belts issued to all ranks, 2.5“ wide, leather with snake-type clasp.
May: Lambeth Suspension Bridge replaces former Horse-Ferry.
Nov: Outbreak of garrotting in London.
The present Westminster Bridge opens to replace the original 1750 structure
|1863||PC William John DAVEY, (Wt No 27702) ‘T’ Division, shot through the head on his doorstep by a man whom he was investigating for a crime at Acton.
Drunkenness was still a problem in the force and in this year 215 officers were dismissed for this reason.
Victoria Embankment constructed.
City of London Police nearly taken over by the Metropolitan Police after failure to keep order for passage of Princess Beatrice through the city.
City of London Traffic Regulation Act.
Uniform: Top hat replaced by helmet originally in the inner divisions and then in the outer divisions (1863 - 1864).
Jan: Metropolitan Railway opens the world’s first underground Railway between Bishop’s Road, Paddington and Farringdon Street.
Uniform: Truncheon cases introduced to be carried on waist belt. (Police Order 21 October 1863).
|1864||Uniform: Wellington Boots abolished as part of the uniform. Tunic replaced the swallow-tail coat (Tunic had eight white buttons down front and two at rear until 1897). Plain stand collar with letters and numbers.
Uniform: Helmet completely replaced the Top-Hat.
Uniform: Belts issued to Constables to Inspectors worn with tunic, double thick right side with hook to carry truncheon case.
Uniform: Sergeants issued with badge of rank of three Chevrons.
Bridewell Prison demolished.
Metropolitan Police Act (Street Music).
Execution of 5 pirates of the ship ‘Flowery Land’ at Newgate. The Metropolitan Police supplied nearly 800 officers to keep the peace.
Detective Branch strength - 3 Inspectors and 12 Sergeants.
Jan: Charing Cross Railway terminus opened by the South-Eastern Railway Co (SER) on land formerly occupied by Hungerford Market.
Mar 11: Classes I - IV for Constables and I - II for Sergeants created (Abolished 1890 vide Police Order dated 8 December 1890).
Uniform: Sergeants change Armlets from right arm to left arm (see 1835).
July: Thomas Briggs murdered in a North London railway compartment near Hackney Wick by Franz Muller - the first Railway murder. Muller hanged on 14 Nov 1864.
|1865||Further extensions of the Metropolitan Police District in terms of the area patrolled in north east London.
Locomotives Act required every powered vehicle had to be preceded by a man on foot with a red flag.
Oct 21 - ‘W’, ‘X’ and ‘Y’ Divisions established.
Dec 4: Educational examination for promotion instituted.
|1866||Agitation over Reform Bill.
3,200 police under the command of Commissioner Richard MAYNE were used to control a serious riot in Hyde Park. 28 police officers were permanently disabled and MAYNE was hit by a stone which cut his head open. He was forced to call in the Military to restore order.
The Duddlewick murder case, investigated by Inspector Richard Tanner, uses evidence about blood from Professor Taylor.
Jan: Metropolitan Fire Brigade established.
Jan 23: PC William FITZGERALD (Wt No 36371), ‘F’ Division, died from injuries when violently assaulted by a drunken prisoner in Drury Lane.
Mar: Paddington Police Station opened.
Jul 2: Reform League meeting in Trafalgar Square.
Jul 23: Reform riots in Hyde Park for several days. 265 officers injured including Commissioner Sir Richard Mayne.
Aug: Wood Green Police Station opened.
Sep: Cannon Street Railway Terminus opened.
Dartford Loop Line via Sidcup opened.
Oct: Mile End Gate and other East End Turnpikes demolished.
|1867||Detective Branch Chief Inspector appointed at Commissioner’s Office. Establishment raised to 3 Inspectors, 11 Sergeants and 1 Clerk Personal Secretary.
The Metropolitan Police were severely criticised after commissioner Richard MAYNE ignored a warning about the Clerkenwell Bombing by the Fenians. MAYNE offered his resignation, but it was refused.
Enrolment of Special Constables following Clerkenwell explosions.
Metropolitan Police Street Act (Special Limits). Authorised Shoeblack standings.
Metropolitan Police (Receiver) Act.
Truncheons: Plain clothes officers issued with brass tipstaves.
Jan: 40 killed in Regents Park Ice disaster.
April: Hyde Park and Green Park policed by Met.
Sep: Station Codes introduced for telegraphic communication based on the first two letters of the station.
Oct: All Divisional HQ Stations equipped with telegraph codes, eg AD = King Street.
Dec 13: Clerkenwell explosions (Fenians)
Sergeant Brett was murdered on 18 September 1867 whilst in charge of the prison van escorting Thomas Kelly and another Fenian to Bellevue Prison. There was a crowd of people who attacked the van, the operation being masterminded by ‘Colonel’ O’Sullivan Burke who was later arrested in London and whose attempted rescue was the cause of the Clerkenwell prison explosion. Michael Barrett, the only man convicted of murder from this explosion, was the last man to be publicly executed in Britain.
|1868||Special recruitment of 1,200 men.
Transportation to Western Australia ended.
Police Rate Act.
Metropolitan Fairs Act.
Last public execution in Scotland (Mary REID).
PC Joseph EITE (Wt No 41044) ‘V’ Division, died from injuries received by being kicked by a drunken man in Wandsworth.
May 6: Report of Departmental Committee on Metropolitan Police.
May 26: Last public execution in England (Michael BARRATT - Fenian). (Outside Newgate Prison).
Jun: Officers are granted one days leave per week (Police Order 17 June 1868) (Prior to this officers had one day off per fortnight).
Jun 2: Insp Daniel BRADSTOCK (Wt No 20585), ‘A’ Division, stabbed by an insane prisoner at King Street Police Station.
Aug 13: First 'private' execution (Thomas WELLS). (Maidstone).
Oct: Leather gloves issued to police for seizing dogs (Police order 8 October 1868).
St Pancras Railway Terminus opened.
Dec 9: Experiments in traffic control signals outside House of Commons, in Bridge Street, New Palace Yard. (Designed by John Peake KNIGHT 1828-1886) PC injured when one exploded.
Dec 26: Sir Richard MAYNE died. Colonel Douglas Labalmondiere appointed Acting Commissioner.
|1869||Habitual Criminals Act introduced Habitual Criminals Register.
Metropolitan Public Carriage Act. Public Service Vehicles.
Licensed by the Commissioner. Standard of fitness. 1500 carriages removed unfit in first year.
Uniform: Wearing of plain clothes when off duty allowed.
Four Districts introduced each under command of a District Superintendent. (Police Order 27 Feb 1869).
Feb 13: Lt-Colonel Sir Edmund HENDERSON appointed Commissioner.
Mar 30: Metropolitan Police permitted to wear beards and moustaches.
May 15: Chief Inspector WILLIAMSON promoted Superintendent in Detective Branch.
Jul 26: Detective force formed to cover whole of the Metropolitan Police District. Divisional detectives appointed.
Oct: ‘F’ (Covent Garden) Division combined with ‘E’ (Holborn) Division.
Nov: New Blackfriars Bridge and Holborn Viaduct opened.
Dec: East London Railway opened through Brunel’s Thames Tunnel.
|1870||The standard height for Metropolitan Police officers was raised to 5ft 8ins, except for Thames Police where it was 5ft 7 ins. (Police Order 3 January 1870).
Truncheons: Tipstaves bore words “Metropolitan Police Constable” in plain clothes.
Prisons became the responsibility of the Home Secretary.
Register for Habitual Criminals now has space for photograph.
Jan 1: Metropolitan and City Police Orphanage established.
May 9: Trams re-introduced.
Jun: Annual Reports of Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis started as official Command papers (first one published 1869).
Jul: Reserve Police Force formed (Police Order 2 July 1870).
Dec: Fixed points established. (Police Order 5 December 1870).
|1871||Prevention of Crimes Act gave responsibility for keeping the Habitual Criminals Register for England to the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.
Introduction of the Chief Inspector and Station Police Sergeant ranks to Uniform grades.
Location of Divisions:
A - Whitehall
B - Westminster
C - St James
D - Marylebone
E - Holborn
G - Finsbury
H - Whitechapel
K - Stepney
L - Lambeth
M - Southwark
N - Islington
P - Camberwell
R - Greenwich
S - Hampstead
T - Kensington
V - Wandsworth
W - Clapham
X - Paddington
Y - Highgate
1 - Woolwich Dockyard
2 - Portsmouth Dockyard
3 - Devonport Dockyard
4 - Chatham Dockyard
5 - Pembroke Dockyard
Jan: ‘Police not to borrow money from publicans’ - (Police Order 1 January 1871).
Public Carriages- new metal tickets. (Police Order 24 January 1871).
Apr: Police suspended through Venereal Disease - reports to be made (Police Order 3 April 1871).
Apr 21: As a result of frequent larcenies of linen, the Commissioner, Edmund HENDERSON said, ‘Constables are to call at the houses of all persons on their beat having wet linen in their garden and caution them of the risk they run in having them stolen...’
May: Dogs Act 1871 - stray dogs to be seized by police and sent to Battersea Dogs Home (Police Order of 26 May 1871).
June: Albert Hall opened.
|1872||Parish Constables Act (Referred to PCs as tithingmen, headboroughs and borsholders).
Lantern supplied to each sergeant and constable on night-duty (Police Order 6 January 1872).
Licensing Act: see Police Order 8 October 1872 for exemptions.
Parks Regulations Act. Regulations enforced by the Metropolitan Police on duty within the parks (Police Order 9 October 1872).
Metropolitan Police Minstrels formed by ten police officers attached to Cannon Row, supported the Metropolitan and City Police Orphanage and raised thousands of pounds for charities. Disbanded 1933.
A Map of the Metropolitan Police District issued to every police station (Police Order 6 January 1872).
Aug: Abolition of parish constables appointments.
Nov: Police strike for the first time (180 men involved). Various men were disciplined or dismissed, although these latter were later allowed back in to the force.
Dec 25: Murder of Harriet Buswell and arrest of Gottfried Hessel creates a cause celebre on identification evidence and identification parades.
|1873||Mr BELT wrongly arrested for drunkenness. Clashes between police and officers of the Life Guards outside Argyll Rooms.
The Metropolitan Police acquire 9 new stations: North Woolwich, Rodney Road (Lock’s Field), Chislehurst, Finchley, Isleworth, Putney, South Norwood, Harrow and Enfield Town.
Legal advisors to the Commissioner appointed.
‘No candidate for the Metropolitan Police can be recommended to the Secretary of State for appointment if he have more than two children depending on him for support’ (General Orders).
Feb: Kew Bridge freed of toll between Middlesex and Surrey.
|1874||Red adopted for pillar boxes (previously various colours).
A survey of recruiting over a 2 year period showed that of those who had joined the force, 31% came from land jobs, 12% from military services and 5% from other police jobs. The remainder mostly from manual jobs. The majority of recruits and serving officers came from outside of London.
Feb: Liverpool Street Terminus opened by the Great Eastern Railway Co (GER).
Waterloo Pier floating Police Station (Thames) created, replacing the ship ‘Royalist’.
Oct: The barge ‘Tilbury’ laden with gunpowder explodes on the Regents Canal under the Macclesfield Road Bridge.
|1875||3 Detectives attached to Thames Division.
Crime Museum started, based partly on powers in Prisoners’ Property Act. (Police Order 25 Aug 1874). Before long dubbed 'The Black Museum' by Press.
Metropolitan Police Magistrates Act.
Uniform: Rank of Station Sergeant introduced with four-bar chevron (Replaced by three chevrons and a crown in 1921).
Metropolitan Police Staff (Superannuation Act).
Oct 4: New police offices at Great Scotland Yard are taken possession of by the Detective Department and the Public Carriage Department.
Dec: Chimney Sweeps Act 1875 required all Chimney Sweeps to be issued with a certificate by the Police (Police Order 22 December 1875).
|1876||Jan: Waltham Abbey Police Station opened.
Jan 8: The following order was released: ‘Relief from duty during severe weather - during the present severe weather as much indulgence as possible is to be given to the men on night duty, due regard being had to public safety...’
Mar: Tottenham Court Road police station opened. Commercial Street Police Station opened, replacing Church Street, Bethnal Green.
Apr: East London Underground Railway opened Shoreditch to New Cross.
Jul: Staines Police Station opened.
Aug: PC COOK murdered by Charles PEACE.
Dec: Sunbury and Notting Dale Police Stations opened.
|1877||Metropolitan Board of Works Act.
Clerkenwell House of Correction/Detention closed down.
Aug 13: Departmental Committee appointed on State, Discipline and Organisation of the Detective Force of the Metropolitan Police (Report published Jan 25 1878).
Oct 24: Trial of the Detectives, or ‘Turf Fraud Scandal’ exposed corruption within the force.
|1878||Fenian Bomb outrages.
Mar 6: Charles Edward Howard VINCENT appointed Director of Criminal Investigations, the reformed Detective Branch, which became known as the C.I.D.
Apr 8: C.I.D. re-organised.
Aug 7: Departmental Commission appointed on State, Discipline and organisation of the Metropolitan Police.
Sep 3: Pleasure Steamer ‘Princess Alice’ disaster on Thames. 640 people lost their lives when struck by the ‘Bywell Castle’ of Galleons Reach. (Police Order 9 September 1878 refers).
Sep 12: Cleopatra’s Needle erected on the embankment.
|1879||First telephone exchange installed in Coleman Street.
Henry Faulds solves a burglary case in Tokyo by comparing two suspects' fingerprints with a mark left at the scene.
Feb 25: Charles PEACE executed.
May: Lambeth, Vauxhall, Albert, Battersea and Chelsea Bridges now Toll-Free.
May 27: Report of Departmental Committee on State, Discipline and Re-organisation of the Metropolitan Police (other than the C.I.D.) published.
Jun 7: Initial rules for dealing with murder cases stated, ‘the body must not be moved, nor anything about it or in the room or place interfered with, and the public must be excluded’.
Jul: Metropolitan District Railway extended to Ealing Broadway.
Jul 29: Execution of Kate WEBSTER. (Wandsworth Prison).
|1880||Sir William HARCOURT at Home Office who improved Police Stations.
Titley Case (Agent Provocateur).
Convict Supervision Office formed for the assistance and control of convicts discharged upon licence.
Forged reprieve in attempt to stop execution of Charles SHURETY
|1881||First public telephone lines to Scotland Yard tried out but discontinued after a short while owing to trivial calls.
Treasury special contributions in respect of mounted and river police ceased.
Mar: Police Stations where dogs are detained to requisition Drinking Troughs for Dogs (Police Order 4 March 1881).
Apr 4: Old Bow Street Office replaced by new police station and court.
Sep 23: PC Frederick ATKINS (Wt No 61462), ‘V’ Division, shot three times and fatally wounded when he disturbed an unknown burglar at Kingston Hill.
Oct 12: Lost Property Office opened at 21 Whitehall Place, S.W.1.
|1882||Phoenix Park (Dublin) Murders.
Riots at Bolton.
The growth of London and the area needing policing was illustrated in Tottenham, (‘Y’ Division) when 8 miles of new streets were formed in a year with nearly 4,000 houses on them.
The Metropolitan Police at Devonport Dockyard illustrated the diversity of the role of the force as the Police Fire Brigade had its busiest year since formation with 6 major fires.
The Municipal Corporations Act repealed and replaced the 1835 Act.
May: Queen Victoria declares Epping Forest ‘Free to the public for ever’.
Dec 1: PC George COLE (Wt No 65227), ‘N’ Division, shot in the head attempting to arrest a burglar (ORROCK) at Dalston.
|1883||Uniform: Supply of Police whistles received Home Office approval.
Sir (Alfred) Richard PENNEFATHER appointed Receiver.
Receiver entitled to wear a civil court dress.
Police Gazette transferred from Bow Street to Scotland Yard.
Irish (Special) Branch formed.
Oct: Dynamite explosions on the underground near Charing Cross and Westminster Bridge
|1884||Metropolitan Police Act - Assistant Commissioner appointed in charge of Civil business.
James MONRO appointed Assistant Commissioner in charge of Detective Division.
May: Scotland Yard Police HQ and Nelson’s Column dynamited by Fenians. The Special Irish Branch attacked.
Oct: Inner Circle Underground Railway completed, including the Whitechapel branch.
|1885||Uniform: Rattle replaced by whistle on day patrol. (Police Order 10 February 1885).
The strength of the force in this year was 13,319, but statistics show that only 1,383 officers were available for beat duty in the day. The population of London at this time was 5,255,069.
Public outraged at the explosions at the Tower of London and Houses of Parliament. Two men were sentenced to penal servitude for life as a result.
Site on Embankment purchased for Metropolitan Police.
In the execution of Robert GOODALE, head severed from body.(Norwich) In the execution of John LEE, trap door failed three times.
Metropolitan Police Streets Act.
Steam launches introduced in Thames Police.
Inspr Thomas Simmons of Essex Constabulary shot dead by burglars near Romford
Jan: Attempt to blow up Westminster Hall averted by action of PC COLE who was awarded Albert Medal for bravery.
Attempt to blow up London Bridge.
Jul: Cutlasses reduced in number to 10 per division (Police Order of 1 July 1885).
|1886||Metropolitan Police Act.
Uniform: Ps/Pcs issued with new pattern armlets of blue and white stripes of equal length.
Riot (Damages) Act.
Special Irish Branch became known as the Special Branch
Feb 8: Black Monday. Riots in Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall and Oxford Street.
Mar 26: Trafalgar Square riots forced the resignation of Commissioner, Sir Edmund HENDERSON.
Mar 29: Sir Charles WARREN appointed Commissioner.
Apr: New ‘F’ or Paddington Police Division formed.
May: St Paul's Railway Station opened (now Blackfriars).
Jul 19: Report of Committee on Administration and Organisation of the Metropolitan Police Force.
Aug: New ‘J’ or Bethnal Green Division formed.
Sep: Wanstead Police Station opens.
Oct: The four District Superintendents re-designated Chief Constables. (Police Order 27 October 1886).
|1887||Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.
Sub-Divisional Inspector rank introduced.
Legal Advice by solicitors instead of legal advisor. Police prosecutions taken over by WONTNERS.
Uniform: Rattle replaced by whistle on night patrol. (Police Order 25 June 1887).
Police Disabilities Removal Act.
Metropolitan Police Act.
CASS case leads to overthrow of government.
Jan: New Truncheons 15” long. (Police Order 11 January 1887). Truncheon cases abolished and tipstaves abolished.
Feb: West Dulwich police station opened.
Jun: Appointment of Captain G. H. DEAN and Captain A. C. KNOLLYS as Assistant Chief Constables (Police Order 15 June 1887).
Police Golden Jubilee medal approved.
Oct: North Fulham police station opened.
Nov: Upper Holloway and Thornton Heath police stations opened.
Nov 13: Unemployment riot in Trafalgar Square, known as Bloody Sunday, the first test for the new Commissioner. Guards called out. Sporadic rioting continued until 2 December.
|1888||London County Council established.
Local Government Act. Joint local authorities responsible for police instead of Justices.
Sir Robert ANDERSON appointed Assistant Commissioner C.I.D.
Sep: Murder of Catherine Eddowes - the only Whitechapel Murders victim to be killed in the City of London (Jack the Ripper).
Dec 1: Commissioner, Sir Charles WARREN resigned following criticism by Home Office.
Dec 3: James MONRO appointed Commissioner.
|1889||Great Dock Strike.
Council park keepers took over London parks (except Hyde Park).
Apr: New County of London (LCC) created out of parts of Middlesex, Kent and Surrey.
May 11: MAYBRICK Case.
Jul 17: Arguably the last of the so-called ‘Whitechapel’ murders was discovered with the death in Castle Alley of Alice McKENZIE.
Opening of the new headquarters at the Norman Shaw building on the Embankment known as New Scotland Yard.
Police strike at Bow Street Police Station.
|1890||Motor cars first seen on roads.
Police Act - First statutory pensions.
Move from Great Scotland Yard to New Scotland Yard on embankment (the Norman Shaw Building).
London County Council (General Powers) Act.
Police Pay is 25 - 35 shillings per week.
Post of Engineer for Heating and Lighting for the Metropolitan Police created.
Mar: Metropolitan and City Police Convalescent Home opened at 51 Clarendon Villas, West Brighton, Sussex.
Jun 21: James MONRO resigned, stating his belief that police pensions were insufficient.
Jun 23: Sir Edward BRADFORD appointed Commissioner.
Jul: Police Strike at Bow Street (only a few officers involved).
Dec 8: Rank of Sub-Inspector abolished.
Dec 10: Move from old premises to New Scotland Yard (except C.I.D. who moved on Dec 22).
|1891||The body of Frances Coles found mutilated beneath railway arches near Leman Street police station starts new ‘Jack the Ripper’ scare.
Tickets introduced on buses and trams - leading to strike of drivers and conductors.
Mar 21: The Public Carriage Office and the Lost Property Office move from Great Scotland Yard to the new offices at New Scotland Yard. Other branches move later in the year. (Police Order 20 March 1891)
|1892||DS Joseph JOYCE (Wt No 52406) shot twice and fatally wounded when arresting a burglar at Charing Cross Road.
Juan Vucetich in Argentina solves child murder case by comparing fingerprints of a suspect and the children's mother.
Feb: Over 1050 officers on duty between the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington Butts and West Norwood Cemetery for the funeral of the Rev C. H. Spurgeon.
May: The last Broad-Gauge train departs from Paddington for Penzance.
Jul 21: Dismissals and Rank and Pay deductions were common at this point, and the case of PC 379’A’ BEST whose resignation on this day illustrated how the Metropolitan Police attempted to keep its men in order. He was ‘in possession of a tea-can, the property of another constable, obliterating the owner’s number and substituting his own name and number, telling a deliberate falsehood in connection therewith and considered unfit for the police force.’
|1893||Blood Test discovered by BORDET.
Police Disabilities Removal Act.
Police Authorities Protection Act.
PC George COOK (Wt No 73717) a serving officer, was convicted for murder and hanged.
|1894||The BERTILLON anthropometric system adopted for 6 years as result of a Home Office Committee which also considered fingerprints.
Feb: Greenwich Bomb Outrage. Anarchist (Bourdin) blew himself up.
Jun 30: Tower Bridge opened by the Prince of Wales.
|1895||To join the Metropolitan police, the following qualifications were necessary:
- be over 21 and under 27 years of age
- stand clear 5ft 9ins without shoes or socks
- be able to read well, write legibly and to have a fair knowledge of spelling
- be generally intelligent
- be free of any bodily complaint
The bodily complaints for which candidates were rejected included flat foot, stiffness of the joints, narrow chest and deformity of the face.
Uniform: Armlet loops added to sleeves above the cuff.
Steam launches introduced for Thames Police.
Metropolitan Police (Receiver) Act. Post of Deputy Receiver for the Metropolitan Police created.
Galton’s fingerprint system tentatively introduced.
Thames Division Police Station at Blackwall opened.
Apr 3: Trial of Oscar WILDE at the Central Criminal Court.
Dec 16: Adolf BECK wrongly first conviction of a series of frauds on identification and handwriting evidence (See 1904).
|1896||Amalgamation of Home Office Habitual Criminals Registry and Convict Supervision Office at New Scotland Yard.
The Public Carriage Office and the Lost Property Office amalgamated under the designation ‘Public Carriage Branch’.
Apr: Kentish Town Police Station opened.
Jul: Kenley Police Station opened.
Sep: St Mary Cray Police Station opened.
Nov: Locomotives on the Highway Act.
Speed limit raised to 14 m.p.h. from 4 m.p.h. (in 2 towns).
Man with red flag walking in front of vehicle dispensed with.
Lamp and bell or horn to be used as a warning instrument.
Dec: Sir Edmund HENDERSON, former Commissioner, died.
Goffs Oak Police Station opened
|1897||The Metropolitan Police Officers were granted a boot allowance instead of being supplied with boots. Police boots at this time were loathed, only Sir Edward Bradford, the Commissioner, believing them suitable.
Uniform: New style tunics - Blue serge, single-breasted had five white Victoria Crown buttons down front (until 1934). Two outside pockets with three pointed flaps, one small white Victoria Crown on each. (1864 tunic retained for night and winter wear).
Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
Metropolitan Police (Borrowing Powers) Act.
Police (Property) Act.
Edward HENRY studied fingerprints in Bengal.
May: Pinner Police Station opened.
Blackwall Tunnel opened.
Jul 16: Appointment of two matrons at Bow Street Police Station to attend to female prisoners.
Nov 5: First few electric cabs licensed.
First Electric Buses.
|1898||Oct: After a series of assaults and the murder of PC James BALDWIN (fatally stabbed when attempting to arrest a drunken man for causing a disturbance in a street at Hoxton) there were calls for the Metropolitan Police to be armed with revolvers.
Waterloo and City Railway opened (‘The Drain’).
|1899||Electric trams and motor buses first seen.
5,000 horse-drawn buses and trams in London.
Taximeters first appeared on horse cabs.
Metropolitan Police Act.
Start of Boer War.
High rate of suicides among officers. This was blamed by certain commentators on harsh discipline and insensitive handling of the men.
As the century drew to a close it was worthy of noting that the Metropolitan Police on formation in 1829 had a force of about 3,000 men and by 1899 had 16,000. The population of London had grown from 1.5 million to 7 million.
Feb 25: First Driver to lose life in Road Traffic Accident - Mr E. R SEWELL (MP Journal, April 1994).
Mar: Marylebone Main Line Railway Terminus opened.
Oct: First petrol driven Daimler bus runs between Kennington Gate and Victoria.
Boer War Commences. London Omnibuses sent to the front.