As it is too hot for me to garden and Wimbledon is on, so I thought I would show you some photographs, with a tennis theme. I do not take after my Grandmother (May Beck), I can’t hit a ball and I dislike tennis! By looking at the photographs both May and Grandad Beck played tennis and it has been difficult to choose which photographs to show you. These are all showing a mystery couple, well at least to me.
The first photograph must be special as it was in a frame, it shows Rebecca and Grandad Beck on the left and May Beck on the right, but who are the other two? I am hoping someone in the family will recognise them. As this was framed we can assume they were close to the Becks. Most likely one of them is a member of Rebecca or Grandad Beck’s family. It is likely these were taken between the end of WW1 and May’s marriage in 1925.
During the early 1920’s the question of national police pay and conditions was considered which lead to a recommendation that policemen should work fewer hours and have more holiday, but the cost of providing enough policemen became an issue. As the financial crisis in the country worsened the Home Secretary instructed the forces to make cuts in the police budget dispute the earlier recommendation. The Dorset Police Standing Committee and Chief Constable discussed the question of how to satisfy both demands, eventually it was the Police Constables and Sergeants that provided the solution.
In this post Photographs of Beaminster Police station 1920 to 1925 I wrote that Grandad Beck may have had two horses to get his trap up the steep hills. From the Western Gazette, January 1920 in a report of the Standing Committee meeting I found conformation of this. The Chief Constable repeatedly asked the committee to provide the Superintendents with cars, but they thought this unnecessary and extravagant. We must remember that in the early 1920s the country was recovering from the First World War and the financial situation was difficult. Prices were fluctuating, up then down. Farmers were having a hard time, especially in Dorset which had one of the highest county rates in the country.
Superintendents needed to travel around their Divisions not only to supervise the local men but also to attend the local courts and other events. Grandad Beck attended courts at Beaminster, Bridport and Lyme Regis. I would assume that appearance of the Superintendent, clean and tidy uniform, was desirable at these occasions. This may have been one reason the Chief Constable was not in favour of motor-cycles, the roads would have been very dusty in the 1920s.
Dorset Constabulary were having to cope with changing priorities and keep within their budget. In 1920 Weymouth had its own police force which merged with Dorset Police Constabulary in the interest of greater economy. We also learn that a Police Constable looked after the Superintendents horse or in Grandad Beck’s case horses. It seems that it was the shortage of PC’s, that eventually lead to the horses being fazed out. I will write more about this next week.
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.
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.
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.
I wanted to share this photograph with you taken in 1923. Posing for this photograph is the most senior policeman in Dorset Constabulary at the time. Grandad Beck had a copy of this photograph in his collection but this is a scan of a framed photograph my cousin was given, that had been on the wall in one of the police offices for many years. Hence the fading at the sides.
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.
This week I thought I would share some of the photographs that were taken at Beaminster Police Station during the 1920s. These are not dated but would have been taken during the time Grandad Beck, his wife Rebecca and daughter May lived there, from November 1919 to August 1925. In August 1925 Grandad Beck, and his wife moved to Bridport, I wrote about this here. The Station was not only a working Police Station, containing the visitors office, Court room, Police cells etc., but a home to the Superintendent and his family. It also contained separate accommodation for a Police Constable and his family. A Sergeant was also based in Beaminster and had separate accommodation in the town. In 1925 Sergeant and Mrs Symes lived in North Street, Beaminster while PC and Mrs Diment lived in a ‘cottage’ at the back of the Police Station. Grandad Beck and his family had their accommodation on the first and second floor, overlooking the main road through Beaminster.
Last week I wrote about the wedding of Grandad Beck’s daughter in the month of May 1925. (Laura) May Beck had lived in several police stations with her parents, she was born in Lyme Regis where her father was a constable, the family then moved to Upwey, followed by Dorchester and Blandford before coming to Beaminster. She must have known many of the police officers in Dorset and the local officers gave her with a guard of honour at her wedding.
The Bridport News reports that the weather was stormy and in this photograph it looks chilly and wet. Two of the guests have umbrellas up as they assembled for this photograph outside Beaminster church. Most of the guest are wearing coats and hats, from the photograph it doesn’t look like a summer wedding.
On a stormy day, at 2 O’clock on Thursday 7th May 1925 my Grandparents married in Beaminster parish church. My Grandmother, Laura May, was the only daughter of Grandad Beck and his wife Rebecca. Because she died when my father was a small lad, there are few memories of her. We have a few clues to their wedding day, family photographs, a Bridport News article and a hand written note book of invitations sent. From these sources I have written this post.
The wedding took place at Beaminster Parish Church, described as capacious and stately, and was filled with relatives and friends. The ceremony was impressively conducted by the Vicar (Canon G. C. Hutchings, M.A.) assisted by the Rev. Mr Kershaw, of Powerstock. The paper also tells us the hymns sung were, “Lead us heavenly Father lead us,” and “O perfect love all human thoughts transcending.”