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Old Police Station in Bohemia Road, Hastings

Old Police Station

Here is an image that shows the location of the old police station in Bohemia Road, Hastings on the junction with Salisbury Road. St Peter’s Church can be seen in the distance. The building displays no sign of its old purpose now. The original picture was taken between 1905 and 1913. I couldn’t find any information about the old police station, other than it was one of several that dotted the town.

Whilst searching for information I came across an interesting link via the forums on 1066 Online. This was a link to the National Archives and reports from Hastings Borough Council between 1820 and 1992. Short descriptions of filed documents that provide an intriguing insight into  policing in Hastings, particularly in the early days of law enforcement. There are some routine reports such as:

25 May 1835: List of constables appointed at the Hundred Court for the parishes of St Clement Hastings, All Saints Hastings, St Mary-in-the-Castle Hastings, Holy Trinity Hastings, St Leonard, St Leonards and St Mary Magdalen, St Leonards.

18 May 1836: Printed notice for tenders for the supply of twelve complete sets of clothes and accoutrements for the police and also a new suit of clothes for the town crier.

14 Aug 1838: Draft notice of discharge of Sergeant [Stephen] Mann and PC J[ohn] Russell for neglect of duty – they came on night duty drunk having been drinking in a public house all day.

10 Aug 1841: Letter from John Phillips, clerk to the Hastings Improvement Commissioners to the Hastings Watch Committee stating that ‘complaints have been made to them of nuisances committed by persons easing themselves and exposing their persons under the Fort and among the rocks in front of it, at all periods of the day, and of the fish dealers and others cleaning their fish, and throwing the offal and refuse of fish on the beach, above the distance from the stone’s foot pointed out by the Act’ and requests that orders be given to the police to prevent such nuisances.

20 Apr 1848: Letter from PC G[eorge] Adams, Hastings to the Watch Committee asking permission, while he is off duty, to empty a cesspool for Anthony Harvey because he finds ‘it a difficult matter to maintain my family of seven children on my weekly pay’

[?26] Dec 1852: Report by Inspector [John Campbell to the Hastings Watch Committee] concerning the escape of a prisoner from the Watch House: George Edwards otherwise Dick Turpin was apprehended with two others and charged with stealing potatoes in Guestling, he was taken to the Watch House on 25 December, searched and locked in an upper cell, Edwards was supplied with food between 9 and 10pm and was last seen going to bed, 11-12pm, he escaped via the window by breaking the sill and removing two bars and tying his rug to a bar, this was spotted by George Swaine, fisherman at about 2.20am who did not raise the alarm, this was not raised until 5am .

And some entertaining ones:

24 Jan 1837: Letter from [Mrs] Eliza Rainer, 24 Marina, St Leonards to J[ohn] G[oldsworthy] Shorter, town clerk thanking him for his letter and is not in the least surprised at its contents as her man-servant, Edward Sexton, is a conceited idle disobedient fellow and, if it were not that she, her daughter and the women servants are all ill with influenza, she would dismiss him, she lives at Chailey and she has only been in St Leonards a few weeks and she cannot risk sending him away without checking her plate.

25 Apr 1845: Letter from J[ohn] G[oldsworthy] Shorter, Hastings to Hibbert and Company, [Pall Mall East, London] returning PC [Elias] Mortimer’s hat which is too small and made according to the first measurement and not the amended one, both Sergeant [Samuel] Ginner’s trousers are too small in the seat and down the leg and he cannot stoop in them nor can he button his coat by four inches, measurements sent were correct, he must have a new coat as there is not enough cloth in the seams to let out.

17 Aug 1855: Evidence of Mrs Jenkins, a cook at the ‘Hastings Arms’ as to the misconduct of PC [William] Fryman: on 6 Aug between 7-8pm Fryman came into the ‘Hastings Arms’ with a woman, when Jenkins went into room she ‘saw Fryman’s person exposed and also the woman was lying on the table on her back, her clothes were up – the woman was drunk’ 

4 Jul 1859: Letter from Sergeant R[ichard] Wood, 61 George Street, Hastings to Superintendent [William Montague] Glenister on 29 Jun he was on duty with PC [Henry] Wood, at 12.15am they heard a party of men coming down by the Catholic Villas and along the Warrior Square wall ‘hallooing and shouting’, when asked to be a little quieter Pope said ‘oh ass hole to you’, when warned about his language he said ‘I am as good a man as you are’, I took hold of his collar and [Isaac] Farley said ‘stop a minute you are too fast’ and attempted to take hold of Pope’s collar, I pushed him away, let go of Pope and persuaded them to go home quietly, then Farley and Alfred Tapp came up to him and encouraged Pope to say ‘oh I daresay that you are fine man dressed up in that fine clothes, oh you do take a carrot, I don’t care more for you than that bloody lamp post, that man is worth two of you’, he then took Pope into custody.

The full list of reports can be read here.

The image of the old police station above is a part of my ‘Ghosts of the Past’ series. The two images I’ve used to create the composite are below. The original photograph of Hastings old police station was found on the West Marina to Hastings Pier Facebook page.

Old police station

Old police station

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