The Railway Police of Eastbourne

I joined the British Transport Police as a Cadet in 1973 a few days after my 16th birthday. Although I was from Eastbourne I was posted to Brighton but I would regularly visit the Eastbourne office which was manned by an old officer, PC Jack Carter.   Jack was a friendly chap who seemed to be…

Rioting that led to the death of a policeman.

100 years ago the Canadian soldiers stationed across England and Wales were not happy.  The armistice of November 1918 effectively ended the War and thousands of men returned from the battlefields of Flanders to Britain awaiting repatriation to Canada. This was a slow process. Most of the troopships that had been used to bring the…

The First Sussex Railway Police

On 25th January 1837 a public meeting was held in Brighton to discuss building a railway between London and the South Coast.  Several schemes were discussed but the consensus was to use the scheme proposed by Mr John Urpeth Rastrick (1780-1856) for a railway line from Elephant and Castle, London to Church Street, Brighton (much…

Burial at a Cross-roads

I have just been reading about some of the Eastbourne Parish Registers and noted that several people who had committed suicide were buried at St Mary’s Parish Church.  An entry in 1624 records the burial in the churchyard of John Crunden ‘who drowned himself’ and another in 1650 relates to 21-year-old John Herriot who ‘hanged…

A Colourful Sussex Lawyer

St Helen’s Church in Hangleton, to the north-west of Brighton, has a remarkable grave. It is covered in brightly coloured stones set into the grave-slab in the form of a mosaic cross. The grave is that of an Irishman, Edward Kenealy. He was a lawyer who was as colourful as his grave. Edward Vaughan Hyde…

The butcher who tried to kill a Lamb

The Mayor of Rye in 1743 was James Lamb.   As the Mayor of the ancient Cinque Port he was also responsible for law and order in the town and acted as the Chief Magistrate.    A particular problem for him was a local butcher, John Breads, who could regularly be found drinking at the Flushing Inn.  On one…

The Bow Street Runners and the Sussex Shipwreck

The origins of our Police are interesting.  Although most people have heard of the Bow Street Runners, they were not like the police of today and surprisingly they operated not only in London, but across the country, often in Sussex. The Middlesex Justices Act 1792 saw the creation of seven offices in the capital, each…

A Respected Sussex Policeman

A few weeks ago, Dr June Goodfield, the President of the Alfriston & Cuckmere Valley Historical Society had an unexpected visitor with an interesting item.  John Enever called in with his great-grandfathers watch.  His ancestor was a policeman who was so respected by the good people of Alfriston that they presented him with the watch…

Look out for a man with Spatterdashes

I am always interested in early reports of crime and disorder especially in the early 19th century when the Police were still in their infancy.  Sussex had no uniformed force to deter and arrest criminals.  There were parish constables of course, but they were used by the parish vestry (a form of early local government)…

Why is Charlie-Joe upside down?

The web-site of the La Trobe University in Australia reports that “Charles La Trobe is much better known in England than he is in Australia”  This I doubt, even though he is buried in the delightful riverside churchyard at Litlington, East Sussex. Charles Joseph La Trobe was born in London on 20th March 1801 and…

Did a 10yr old cause a train crash?

The Railway between Brighton and Lewes was opened on 8th June 1846.  The London Brighton & South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) took over the new railway just a few weeks later. Railways were dangerous places, indeed the opening of one of the first railways – The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was marred by the death of…

60 years in the Police!

Today it is not unusual for Police Officers to transfer into the British Transport Police from other forces and it is not unknown for some officers to spend a few years in the BTP having retired from another force.   After Walter Hebborn retired from the Metropolitan Police, he joined the Railway Police in Sussex…