Joining the police: First Beat at Stourpaine, Dorset

As I would expect the further back I go the harder it is to find information. Nonetheless, it is surprising what can be found, a useful article from 1878 tells us something about Grandad Beck’s childhood.  We can only guess at why he became a policemen but we do know that this was a good move and that the job was to suit him.  Having written about him as a Superintendent, it is harder to imagine the raw 19-year-old starting his training as a Constable at Dorchester Police Station.

Childhood and education

Grandad Beck was born and spent his childhood in the village of Buckland Newton, Dorset.  He would have been educated with his siblings in the local village school.  The Elementary Education Act 1880 set compulsory attendance from 5 to 10 years. Children between 11 and 13 were allowed to be employed providing they had a certificate to show they had reached the educational standard.  Buckland Newton’s school was built in 1857 and had an average attendance of 107 pupils in 1881. The school mistress was Mrs Mary Ann Smith. (Kelly’s Directory 1889). In 1878 Grandad Beck’s father (Eli) won two prizes, awarded by the Labourers Improvement Society for regularly sending his children to school and Sunday school.   Eli and Frances Beck had three children in 1878 Charles aged 7 years, Olive aged 4 years and Grandad Beck (Arthur Percy) aged 3 years. Therefore this would have referred to Charles’ school attendance.

Newspaper article
Labourers Improvement Society: Western Gazette 6 Sept 1878

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