Category Archives: police

1879 : A Question of Sobriety

From the Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 03 May 1879 via the British Newspaper Archive


— At the Croydon Petty Sessions on Saturday, Mr. Parkes Hope, landlord of the Bath Tavern Mitcham, was summoned for serving intoxicated persons with liquor on his premises on the 16th April; and Alfred Stevens, James Stevens, and Joseph Munt were summoned for being found drunk on the premises. Mr. Dennis appeared for the defendants.

— P.-c. 382 W stated that on the 14th April he was on duty in Church-road, Mitcham, when he saw James Stevens drunk and incapable. He also saw Alfred Stevens and Joseph Munt, who were drunk, but not incapable. The two latter were supporting James Stevens between them. Witness saw them enter the Star beerhouse, Church-road, and heard them call for beer. Mr. Chapman, the landlord, however, refused to serve them. They then proceeded to Rock-terrace, and he saw them enter the Bath Tavern. Alfred Stevens called for a pot of beer, and was served by the landlord. Witness saw Alfred Stevens and Munt drink from the pot. A disturbance arose between them, and Alfred Stevens and Munt dragged James Stevens from the bar, and after great difficulty succeeded in getting him home. Witness told the landlord that he should have to report the case, when Mr. Hope replied that he had drawn the beer himself, but did not know that the parties were drunk when they came in.

— William Chapman, landlord of the Star beerhouse, gave evidence as to the elder defendant, James Stevens, coming into his house alone on the evening in question. He was very drunk, and witness refused to serve him, and tried to get him out of the house. While he was doing Alfred Stevens and Munt came into the house, and assisted him in getting the old man out of the house. —Neither Alfred Stevens nor Munt were intoxicated.

— Mr. Dennis said his answer to the case was that on the day in question the younger Stevens drove his master to Thames Ditton, and on his return to Mitcham learnt that his father, who was upwards of 70 years of age, was in the Star beerhouse, drunk. He went there and got his father out, and was assisted by Munt in getting him home. On their way, having to pass the Bath Tavern, they went in, and having placed the old man on a seat, they called for a pot of beer, which the two drank between them, but the old man did not have a drop.

— Mr. Hope, landlord of the Bath Tavern, Alfred Stevens, and several others were called as witnesses, and their evidence confirming the above statement, James Stevens was fined 10s. and 7s. costs. The other summonses were dismissed.


William Richardson, cobbler

He mended shoes at Church Road, opposite the parish church, for over 50 years. He made the boots for the local people and Mitcham cricketers; his brother Tom, was a famous Dr. W. G. Grace-era cricketer.

He died in 1949, aged 83.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 26th May, 1961

1879 : 14 days in jail for stealing a hayfork


James Nutlay, labourer, of the Causeway, Mitcham, was charged at the Croydon Police-court on Monday with stealing a hayfork, the property of Mr. Woodman, of Mitcham.

— Wm. Burrell, a labourer of Rock Terrace, Mitcham, deposed that on going to work on Saturday morning about 6.30, he missed the hayfork, and being unable to find it, he was about to go to Mr. Woodman to get another, when he saw the prisoner, with whom he had worked a short time ago. Witness went to him and accused him of taking the fork. Prisoner said had taken it to get some food and drink.

The prisoner was ordered to be sent gaol for 14 days.

Source: Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette – Saturday 04 October 1879 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

1921 suicide in Langdale Avenue explained

9th June 1921 from Pall Mall Gazette


The dead body well-dressed man, with a revolver by his side, was discovered early to-day in the footway of Langdale-avenue, Mitcham. The revolver was a large six-chambered one, with four full cartridges and two spent ones. The dead man has since been recognised as a former resident of Albert-road, Mitcham. Revolver shots were heard late last night, but no notice was taken of them the time.

Source: Pall Mall Gazette – Thursday 09 June 1921 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

This death was then explained at the inquest, when the suicide note of the dead man was read out:


Suicide’s Precaution “To Save Mystery.”

“My Brain Is Gone.”

A long letter addressed to the police was read at the inquest on the man named Hunt who was found shot the street Mitcham. In this he said –

To save any mystery, I am Percy John Hunt, late of Lynn Road, Balham.

If you make inquiries at Langdale Avenue, Mitcham, or Lynn Road, Balham, you may find out the whereabouts of my wife.

She deserted me last year after thirty years of married life, and is now touring, I believe, with the eldest daughter on the music-hall stage. Since my wife left me I have felt fit for nothing. She seemed to obsess the whole of being, and, try as I would, I could not shake it off. Only by drinking in the day time have I been able to carry on. My nights have been hell. I am doing this now to save something else, as wife may tell you.

Mrs Hunt said she certainly believed that his idea was “to do me as well as himself.”

She last saw her husband on January 19, but had written often since. A recent letter to their daughter asked for money, and she sent £4.

In reply to the Coroner (Mr Nightingale), Mrs. Hunt said her husband must have reached the end of his resources. He had sold up the home and lived on the proceeds. He had been drinking terribly. She had had a fearful life the last few years.

She was living in Lynn Road, Balham, and her husband’s address was Elmhurst Mansions, Clapham.

They lived formerly in Albert Road. Mitcham, within view of the spot where the body was found.

From a farewell letter addressed to the wife the Coroner quoted the following sentences :— It has taken something bring me to this — a strong, healthy man of 50. My brain has gone. l am no good.

A verdict of “Suicide while of unsound mind” was returned.

Source: Dundee Evening Telegraph – Monday 13 June 1921 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

1852 : Mr Ashby, miller

Mentioned in a case about the theft of sacks.


— At the Police Court on Saturday, James Bennett, marine store-dealer, Garrett-lane, Tooting, apprehended by police-serjeant R. Whittle, V division, was charged with having in his possession three sacks, the property of Mr. B. L. Charrington miller, of Carshalton, Messrs. Hall and Davidson, and Mr. Ashby, miller, of Mitcham. The parties belonging to the Sack Protection Society.

Mr. Turpin, the officer to the society, attended to prosecute. The sacks were identified, and defendant was fined 10s. for each, and expenses, and in default of payment was committed by T. Painter, Esq. for one month.

Source: The South Eastern Gazette, 26th October, 1852

1924 Fracas at the Bucks Head


Arising out of fracas at The Buck’s Head, Mitcham, on the previous day, Ernest Charles Straney, thirty-four, of Lollard-Street Kennington; Edward Wiggins, twenty-six, of Brixton; and George Wiggins, twenty-five, of Lyndhurst-road, Chadwell Heath, were charged before the Croydon County Bench with having been disorderly and assaulting Major Poole, M.C., licensee of the house, Mr. S. G. Leney, manager, Police-sergeant Constable, and Police-constable Siviour. Blows with fists, kicking, and biting were alleged.

Mr. Stanley Smith, prosecuting, said that six men arrived in a taxi, and appeared be such a rough lot that the licensee asked a constable to stand by. Straney left the saloon bar and went into the dining-room, and began strumming the piano. As soon as he was asked to return to the bar, where the men had ordered drinks and smokes, the row started. Major Poole was injured on his right arm, which would have to be X-rayed.

Major Poole, in his evidence, said one of the men boasted of being a pugilist. Leney was struck violently on the face while carrying a pile of plates.

Police-constable Siviour and two other police witnesses said they drew their truncheons and used them, owing to the violence of the prisoners. Whilst struggling on the ground Siviour said he felt himself being overpowered and struck George Wiggins on the back of the head, which for a time made him unconscious. At the police station, where they were taken in a lorry, George Wiggins threatened to kill the witness, and added, “We are some of the Sabini Boys.”

Police Inspector Perkins, in asking for a remand, said that the men no doubt had come to Mitcham for a purpose, and the matter might turn out to be much more serious than appeared at the moment.

The Bench granted the application, and allowed bail to the prisoners in their own recognisances, with two sureties each of £20.

Source: Illustrated Police News – Thursday 22 May 1924 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

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Mitcham Police Station

The current police station was opened on Saturday 18th June 1966. The previous building it replaced opened in 1855.

It was announced in 1964, that the building was to be demolished, eighty years after it was built.


Work on Mitcham’s new police station has started. For this week a demolition squad moved in to knock down the old station, which dates from 1884.

The squad were expected in October but they didn’t arrive and it looked as though local police would have to put up with their present building for some time to come.

A temporary police station was erected but no signs of the old one coming down were to be seen.

The present station, which overlooks the Cricket Green, will be replaced by a modern building, probably with several storeys.

Work is expected to take 18 months.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 5th June, 1964, page 1.

Mayor opens new police station

Mitcham’s new £98,000 police station was officially opened on Saturday by the Mayor of Merton, Sir Cyril Black. And over 3,000 members of the public toured the station and visited a special exhibition in the car park throughout the day.

“The open day was very successful, far better than we anticipated,” commented Inspector S.W. Brunger, who organised the day with Supt. H.W. Gibson.

He added: “Open days are usually held for particular occasions like an opening. But because the public showed a great deal of interest it is quite possible they will be held more often.”

The opening ceremony was held on the top floor in the canteen. Members from all walks of life were present and Mr Robert Carr, M.P., arrived later.

Sir Cyril Black said he hoped the police would have no work to do in their new station, but if they did it would have a satisfactory completion.

He emphasised the need for the public to see what goes on in a police station and to understand the policeman’s work.

He said: “The police are anxious that their work is fully understood by the public. We must realise the task in which the police are engaged.”

He added: “The public have got to be educated in their duty to co-operate with the police. The task of policemen would be easier if full co-operation from the public was always forthcoming.”

Commander G.C.F. Duncan said the ambition of the police was to show the people of Mitcham what they are paying for and what goes on in the station. He said they wanted to knock down the idea that the police were working behind closed doors. The police had nothing to hide from the public.

“This is the newest police building in South London,” he said, “and it took many years to achieve it, but it has got to last a long time and we hope the public will think the money was well spent.”

Plans for the new station were first under way in 1962 and building started in 1964. It stands on the site of the old station which was built in 1884.

Before the public started to arrive the guests were taken on a tour of the station. They saw the various offices, detention rooms and the cells.

Then in the car park at the rear they saw an exhibition that included a mobile police unit, police dogs and horses, police sports car and a car that was involved in a fatal accident.

The most important exhibition was a special van and equipment used when accidents have occurred and to warn other motorists of the accident and dangers ahead.

Then from lunchtime to well into the evening the public were shown round.

One little girl was so pleased with her visit that she presented the sergeant on duty at the front reception desk with a flower.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 24th June 1966, page 1.

Aerial view showing front of building.

Aerial view showing front of building.

Aerial view showing rear of building. The road on the right is Mitcham Park.

Aerial view showing rear of building. The road on the right is Mitcham Park.