Fire! Get Out Your Buckets

Policemen were often involved in fighting local fires. From the family collection, the photograph below is of a fire at Burstock Grange, near Broadwindsor taken in 1921.  A terrible fire destroyed the thatched roof on the farm house.  Due to this fire, today only about a third of the farm house remains thatched.  I haven’t had time to research more but I thank the Facebook group ‘Memories of Bridport’ for helping me identify the location of the photograph and  Andrew Frampton who confirmed his family have farmed there since 1912.

Farm house with part of the roof destroyed by fire
Photograph taken by Robert Potts of Bridport. The policeman with a peaked hat is likely to be Grandad Beck

Fires at the Village of Loders

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Bridport Carnival “A Red Letter Day”

Bridport Carnivals in the 1920’s were major events in the town year. In June 1921 the day started early and ended late.  Celebration and fun for all the family, while raising funds for the local hospital.  Times were tough especially for the sick and needy, medial treatment had to be paid for or you needed to rely on charity. The country was going through a time of depression and unemployment following the first world war, so a day of fun was welcomed by the people of Bridport and the surrounding area.

Crowds seated and standing in front of a big house
Bridport News “For the mere man the boxing naturally drew a large number of spectators.” Grandad Beck top left of photo

Bridport carnival was celebrated in 1921 on Alexandra Day  Saturday 11 June.  Over £300 was raised for Bridport hospital from the varied activities on the day.  The day started with the traditional flower sellers, selling flowers door-to-door and to the people waiting to watch  the carnival processions at 2pm.

Blue skies and warm sunshine played an important part in the success of Alexandra Day… Flags fluttered in the breeze of an ideal June day- the shrill laughter of the youngsters echoes and re-echoed in the streets, while the enthusiasm of grown-ups was non the less remarkable.

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Tramp Chased by Police Constable on Bicycle

Below is one of the cases bought before Bridport Magistrates court in January 1924 in which PC Grey rode his bicycle for 10 miles, on a winters evening, to catch a thief.  This post shows how attitudes to tramps was to change over the next few years.  It is also interesting to note that the magistrates were to continue to warn the shopkeepers against leaving unattended goods outside their shops.

First a photograph from Grandad Beck’s collection, I think this was taken at Beaminster Police Station in the early 1920s.  I am unsure if the Police are issuing new or second hand uniforms to their men.  During this time police budgets were being cut so it is likely that these are second hand uniforms.  Thanks to Ian (who is researching policemen in Dorset) we think the man in the bowler hat, with his back to the camera, is Chief Constable Dennis Granville. Standing next to him on the right is Grandad Beck.

Policemen chosing new uniform
Issuing ‘new’ uniform c1920 Beaminster, Dorset

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Licensing and Larceny in Bridport Borough

On Tuesday 7th February 1928 Bridport town hall was crowded, the Bridport News reported the largest attendance at a police court know in the town for many  years.  This was largely due to the fact that a case of larceny … was to be heard.

Superintendent’s Annual Report on Licensing

First the annual Licensing Session for Bridport Borough was heard by the magistrates, Mayor A. R. Travers, Aldermen E. S. Reynolds, W. G. F. Cornick, and G. A. Mabb.  According to Supt. Beck’s annual report there were 32 fully-licenses houses, 11 beer houses (including 2 off license premises), one wine and spirit licence. This was a reduction of one licenses house as the Dolphin Inn had closed at the end of the previous year. Continue reading “Licensing and Larceny in Bridport Borough”

Traffic regulated by automatic signals is “marvellous”

I wrote about the installation of traffic signals in May 1935, at the Town Hall Bridport in a previous post, Bridport Gets Road Traffic Signal Lights at Dangerous Corner. In 1934, Bridport Borough council discussed the need for these lights and also wanted a set at another dangerous corner, close by, at Barrack Street – this is the road going North from the town centre, which is no longer a through road. Traffic lights were eventually installed at Barrack Street and remain in use until the bypass was opened.

When researching this post I was surprised at the number of bicycles in the town. Perhaps I should have realised that in the early part of the 20th Century, bicycles were relatively cheap and faster than walking. There was no mention of horses or horse drawn vehicles, this is most likely because they were not included in the count or possibly because there were none in Bridport that day. Continue reading “Traffic regulated by automatic signals is “marvellous””

Bridport Celebrates King George V Silver Jubilee

King George V Silver Jubilee on Monday 6th May 1935 was celebrated with great joy by the people of Bridport. Each town and village held their own celebration and the Bridport News recorded the event. They decorated, marched, danced and gave thanks for the Kings 25 year reign, in many different ways. Reading the reports I can’t imagine anyone not being effected by the excitement of the day.

King George V Silver Jubilee. Procession East Street, Bridport. 6th May 1935
King George V Silver Jubilee. Procession East Street, Bridport. 6th May 1935

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Bridport Gets Road Traffic Signal Lights at Dangerous Corner

“All this appalling dangerous driving on the roads”, was Grandad Beck’s view of the standard of driving in 1935. One dangerous place was the junction of South, West and East street at the town hall Bridport. For those that don’t know the town, coming from South Street, there is very little visibility to see the traffic coming from the West. Also traffic turning into South Street from East Street had to take the sharp corner wide to get around, as you can see from the first photograph. I can remember the traffic lights not working, turning right into East Street from South Street was scary and difficult to know if there would be any other vehicles coming towards me. Bridport Borough Council had been asking for “road traffic signal lights”, at the junction for a while. Bridport’s automatic traffic signals were officially opened at 12 noon on Saturday,  4th May 1935,  by the Mayor (Councillor W. S. B. Northover) who set the system in operation by turning a key in the “station” under the Town Hall colonade.  The Mayor was accompanied by his Deputy (Councillor S. J. Gale) and Councillor F. S. Cornick (Chairman of the Town Council Highways Committee).  After this there were numerous drivers coming up before the Borough Police court and in the first few months Grandad Beck was prosecuting.

The traffic lights at the Town Hall Bridport after 1935 exact date unknown
The traffic lights at the Town Hall Bridport after 1935 exact date unknown

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Farewell to Bridport’s Police Chief

At midnight on Saturday 20th July 1935 Supt. Beck retired, after 40 years in the Dorset Constabulary, 16 of those years in the Bridport Division. Supt. Beck, who was approaching his 60th Birthday, was the longest serving member of the Constabulary at that time.

During the last few weeks of July, thanks were give to Supt. Beck at both the Bridport Borough and Division Courts, a reception was held in the borough gardens Bridport hosted by the Mayor and a photo was taken with all the police officers in the Division. The Bridport News and Western Gazette both reported on the speeches of thanks at the Courts and the reception given by the Mayor.

In later years Auntie Jo (Grandad Beck’s second wife) remembered this time with affection and pride in her husband’s achievements. As a child I can remember Auntie Jo showing me the items he was presented with, laid out on a table. After Grandad Beck’s retirement, they moved to Longfleet, Poole, where they were to spend the rest of their days together.

All the policemen of the Bridport Division, (this includes Bridport, Beaminster, Lyme Regis and surrounding villages) gathered in the Borough garden to have the picture taken to mark Supt. Beck’s retirement. 19 PC’s, 3 Sergeants, Supt. Beck and Mrs Beck.

Click on photo for more information.Supt. Beck's retirement with all police officers in Bridport Division 1935

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