Timeline before 1829

Map pre 1829

The jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police force in 1829

Metropolitan Police Historical Timeline

Events from before 1829

Date Event
1712Last conviction for witchcraft was passed. The last executions for witchcraft were - in England 1680s and in Scotland in 1729.
Helen Duncan, the last person convicted of Witchcraft.
1748Henry FIELDING was appointed the magistrate at Bow Street.
1751The Gin Act was passed.
Henry FIELDING’s half-brother, John FIELDING became his assistant at Bow Street.
1752The Covent Garden Journal was produced by Henry FIELDING, who starts to employ special officers at Bow Street in 1753.
1754Sir Henry FIELDING died.
He was succeeded at Bow Street by John FIELDING, blind from the age of nineteen and known as ‘The Blind Beak’.
1755John FIELDING’s brings in the ‘Plan to Prevent Robberies’ Act making constables for the whole of City of Westminster and not just parish offices.
Saunders WELCH appointed as the assistant to John FIELDING at Bow Street.
1758John FIELDING’s ‘Account of the Origin and Effects of a Police set on foot’ is published.
1760John FIELDING is knighted.
1763The Bow Street Horse Patrol is created by Sir John FIELDING.
1765Journeymen - Weavers riots in Spitalfields.
1766Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England is published.
1767Feb 24th: Patrick Redmond was revived after his hanging.
1768Coal-heavers marched to the Palace Yard.
John FIELDING persuaded leaders to meet the employers at Bow Street.
1770First Parliamentary Commission on Police.
The lease on John FIELDING’s house in Bow Street expired and was renewed for a further 10 years.
1772Parliamentary enquiry into burglaries in London.
1773Committee on Nightly Watch in the Metropolis are set up.
Grants for Thief-Takers and the Horse Patrol are amalgamated.
"The Weekly Pursuit" is published.
1774Act for better regulation of Nightly Watch is passed.
1780The Gordon Riots take place. Bow Street, Newgate prison and many other premises, particularly homes of Catholics, are badly damaged.
Sir John FIELDING died.
1782Sir Sampson WRIGHT is appointed magistrate at Bow Street, and organises patrols.
1783Processions to Tyburn are discontinued.
Use of a "drop" is introduced to improve the hanging method.
1784Litchfield Street Police Office closed on the death of Saunders WELCH.
1785London and Westminster Police Bill is introduced.
Three Commissioners and 225 paid men (9 Superintendents).
1786'Public Hue and Cry' (later the 'Police Gazette') is started by Sampson WRIGHT. It replaced "The Weekly Pursuit"
Police force established in Dublin.
1787Botany Bay is made a convict settlement.
1788Sir Robert PEEL is born.
1792Middlesex and Surrey Justices Act is established along with 7 London Police Courts, each with 3 magistrates and 6 constables (at 12 shillings per week).
The offices are at Hatton Garden, Worship Street, Whitechapel, Shadwell, Southwark, Queen Street and Great Marlborough Street.
Stipendiary Magistrates are created.
1793Committee on Nightly Watch in the Metropolis is started.
1794John Toms is convicted on the evidence of wadding from a flintlock pistol matching a torn ballad sheet in his possession.
1796Dr Patrick COLQUHOUN's 'Treatise on Police of the Metropolis' is published.
1798Establishment of a Marine Police for the Thames by Dr Patrick COLQUHOUN.
1800Robert PEEL is Knighted, a title that is later to be inherited by his son, Sir Robert PEEL
1804It is believed that in this year there were 2,044 parish constables in the Metropolis, including the City of London, and it was divided into six classes:
1) Unpaid parish constable elected annually in accordance with ancient custom.
2) Substitute constables (stipendiary ex-army officers) appointed by the justices.
3) Special Constables appointed for specific duty.
4) Salaried constables of the nine magisterial offices of the Metropolis.
5) Thames Police surveyor and subordinate constables.
6) Bow Street Constables and Patrols.
1805Horse Patrol re-established and extended to patrol main roads by Sir Richard Ford (died 1906) .
1809New Covent Garden Theatre opened. Rioting over price increases.
1811Dec: Ratcliffe Highway murders in Stepney.
1812Capital Punishment was abolished for soldiers begging without permission of their Commanding Officer or a Magistrate.
Select Committee on Police was established.
Robert Peel becomes Chief Secretary for Ireland until 1818.
May 11th: Prime Minister, Mr Spencer PERCIVAL, murdered by John BELLINGHAM.
1813REED resigned from Bow Street. Succeeded by Sir Nathaniel CONANT.
1814Peace Preservation Act (Irish Police).
1815Battle of Waterloo.
Boy of 12 hanged for stealing a handkerchief.
1816Parliamentary Committee on Police.
Pillory abolished for all offences except perjury.
George VAUGHAN, thief-taker, executed.
1817VIDOCQ formed Brigade de Surete in Paris.
The last person, Jeremiah BRANDRETH from Derby, was hanged, drawn and quartered.
Flogging in public was abolished.
1818Trial by Battle claimed by Abraham THORNTON.
1820Sir Nathaniel CONANT, the Chief Magistrate retired. He is succeeded by Sir Robert BAKER.
Cato Street Conspiracy.
Disturbances after return of Queen Caroline to country.
1821Patrols are re-organised by Lord SIDMOUTH. Foot Patrols in Central London and dismounted foot patrols in the outer area.
Riots in the passing of Queen Caroline’s funeral procession through the City. The disorder, in which two men apparently shot by Life Guards, leads to an identification parade of soldiers in their uniforms.
Sir Richard BIRNIE appointed Chief Magistrate.
1822Sir Robert PEEL became Home Secretary.
1823Professor Purkenje in Silesia first suggests a fingerprint classification system.
1824The Vagrancy Act was passed.
1826Pay of Bow Street Runners increased 6 pence per night for every 7 years’ service.
1827Last coiner drawn to scaffold on sledge (Edward LOWE).
Stocks abolished and treadwheel introduced.
1828Parliamentary Committee on Police.
Population of London 1,349,000.
“The Police Gazette” published, replaced the “Hue and Cry”.