P.C. Beck and Family at Upwey

Grandad Beck, his wife and two children moved to Upwey, between Weymouth and Dorchester in 1903. The new house at 6 Prospect Place, a terrace of cottages was just off the main road between Dorchester and Weymouth.  The unadopted dead-end lane, with the cottages on the southern side, has recently been described as ‘one of the last few quaint terraced cottage streets left in Weymouth’.

Two uniformed policemen
P.C. No. 22 Beck (standing at back) at Portland Police Station C. 1907 by kind permission of Ian Swatridge

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More of Grandad Beck’s Photographs

Today I am going to share some family photographs taken at different houses.  The locations and the dates are not given but from the ages of Lionel and May they are likely to have been taken between 1907 and 1909.  This would make Lionel between 8 and 10 years, May between 6 and 8 years.

A Favourite Garden

The first photograph was a favourite, as it appears in several albums. This doesn’t look any of the places we know Grandad Beck lived. Both the Dorchester and Upwey houses are mid-terrace and prior to Upwey, they lived in the police station at Lyme Regis.

View of front porch and garden
A beautifully composed picture showing Lionel, Eli, Fanny, Rebecca and May

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P. C. Beck at Upwey 1903-1908

Policemen are often called as witnesses in court cases, this is useful for me, to trace Grandad Beck’s movements around the county.  While researching today’s post I found Grandad Beck was a witness for a case involving Upwey in July 1903.  Which means that the family moved from Lyme Regis sometime previously or possibly at the end of 1902.  I had thought they moved the following year in 1904 and this post mention the later date.  The further back I go the less information I can find, the newspaper reports are shorter and a Constable appears less often then Superintendents.

From 1903 to 1908 I have written about four cases, the first three Granddad Beck as P.C. Beck is mentioned and the last one because it was unusual.  Upwey was an interesting posting, in 1903 this was under the Portland Division which, until the New Portland Police station was built, held the divisional courts in Weymouth.  Weymouth had its own Borough Police force, this must have been a challenge for Grandad Beck.  Traffic and people moved between the two which required the two forces to work together on some cases.  In addition the railway went though Upwey, this would have been the first time Grandad Beck had a beat on a railway line.  These cases give us a good idea of the range of incidents that had to be dealt with by the police.  Portland had a large naval base and visiting sailors caused the problems in the first case.

I have chosen 2 photographs from the albums that are likely to have been taken around this time.  Unfortunately we have no clue as to where they were taken.

People in a horse drawn trap
May and Lionel going on a picnic with Mum, Dad (taking the photo) Granny and Grandad (Eli, driving and Fanny or Francis Beck)

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Playing in the sand and climbing the rock at Bowleaze Cove

At the beginning of a New Year, many of us think about booking our holidays, I am sure the Grandad Beck was no different.  Up until 1909 the only time he had off was 5 days annual holiday.  One year the family went to Bowleaze  Cove near Weymouth.  I know this because Lionel and May very kindly built a sandcastle.  Little did they know how useful this would be over 100 years later.  Thank you Granny!

2 Children on beach with chalet behind
May and Lionel playing sandcastles at Bowleaze Cove C. 1908

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First Police Detective in Dorset

“Grandad was the first plain-clothes policeman in Dorset” my father informed me.  Grandad Beck obtained the rank of Sergeant in 1908, 6 months before being made Detective Sergeant.

A descended to the training sergeant at the time, gave me this account of Grandad Beck’s promotion.  “Because my Great Grandfather was the Training Sergeant he was aware of what was required and with the increase in crime, he and the top Senior ranks decided they needed a senior PC to help deal with the serious crime of the day. They looked at all the senior PC’S and quickly worked out that “Percy” would be ideal. He was promoted to Sergeant straight away to make his job easier for all, even though it would have had a small financial impact on the Force, as now there was an extra Sergeant.” Ian Swatridge.

As Dorsetshire’s first and the only Detective between 1908 and June 1915, Grandad Beck was based at Headquarters in Dorchester. He travelled around the county at the request of divisional superintendents to assist in more complex or longer investigations.

Picture of Bargate Southampton
Postcard to Lionel

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