There is no need for Police Houses to have Telephones

I wrote about the Standing Committee as they debated the police budget during a recession. Dorset Police Pay and Promotion during the Great Depression.  In this post I looked several other issue that had been reported in the Western Gazette during the first half of the 1930s.

The Home Office wanted the police to have telephones in all police houses, to facilitate communication within the force and with the public. But the Dorset Standing Committee didn’t agree, partly on cost and partly because they considered it unnecessary in a rural area. This was discussed many times over the years.

The Dorset force was more compliant when the Home Office instigated motor patrols around the country to, among other duties, rigorously monitor the speed of motor vehicles. Dorset started with motorbikes before buying cars. Superintendents provided their own motorcars and were given an allowance for the use their cars for police duties. From the list given in 1933 Grandad Beck was the only one who didn’t own a car.

Improvements to both Bridport and Beaminster police stations were considered necessary. A new police station was considered for Beaminster which caused Beaminster people to be concerned that they would no longer have a local Justice court. After much discussion it was decided to keep the station in Prout Hill – now the youth centre.

Justices Hall Beaminster c1930 Decorated for Christmas? I think there is a tree at the back.
Justices Court, Beaminster c.1920-30 Decorated for Christmas? I think there is a tree at the back.

Continue reading “There is no need for Police Houses to have Telephones”

Poison, farm animals & hay ricks – all work for a policeman

Bridport Division of Dorset Police Constabulary is a rural area. The selection of cases that came before the areas magistrates that I have chosen in this post reflect this. Controlling farm pests with poisons has always been dangerous, in the spring of 1932 Mr Hussey of Netherbury was charged with killing his neighbours sheep dog. Not far away at Marshwood, Tom Bishop’s dogs killed some of his neighbours sheep in September. In June the following year, a boy was sent to Industrial School for setting a hay rick alight. The last case happened in December of 1931 in the town, as it involved cattle and it amused me, I have included it here.

Poisoned Eggs in Trees

Continue reading “Poison, farm animals & hay ricks – all work for a policeman”

What Speed is that Motor Vehicle Doing?

One case in the Bridport News stood out for me because it gave me more information about my Great, Grandfather.

In October 1933 Grandad Beck was himself involved in a car accident as a passenger in a taxi. While giving evidence Grandad Beck said He had travelled thousands of miles with Foot (the taxi driver). Thousands, that sounds a lot, was he exaggerating or the Bridport News. I started to consider whether Grandad Beck had a car and drove. From newspaper reports of the Police Standing Committee I knew that some of the Dorset Superintendents received allowances for the use of their own cars on police business. Supt. Beck was not mentioned, therefore I can assume that he didn’t have a car. When I asked my father he said, “Grandad didn’t drive and always used a taxi”. When Grandad Beck visited Wytherston (our farm near Powerstock) he always came with the same taxi driver. Continue reading “What Speed is that Motor Vehicle Doing?”

Intoxicated Liquor Licences 1934: Controversy over Summer Half-Hour

Licences for intoxicated liquor, then as now, was an emotive subject and was a subject for local courts. Every February the local businesses selling intoxicated liquor renewed their licences. Grandad Beck as Superintendent of the Bridport Division of Dorset Police Constabulary gave the annual report to the licencing committee for his area. Supt. Beck started each session by giving a report into the previous year, which was reported by the Bridport News.

In 1934 as in previous years Mr Roper on behalf of the Licenced Victuallers’ Association wanted Bridport Borough to grant an extension by half-hour during summer evening. Bridport Borough didn’t agree that they had to right to do this. Bridport Borough and Dorchester magistrates argued that they needed a change in the law but other areas including Beaminster, Lyme Regis and Weymouth granted the half hour extension. The hours are set by national government with local areas allowing extensions in their area for an individual or group of premises. There seems to be a confusion about what extensions to opening hours the local courts could allow. Continue reading “Intoxicated Liquor Licences 1934: Controversy over Summer Half-Hour”

Why write about Grandad Beck?

Why write about Supt. Beck, well it all started many years ago.  I was in my early twenties working in the Monmouth Bar at the Bull Hotel.  An elderly gentleman used to come in for half-a-pint, while waiting for his wife.  We got chatting and when he learnt about my family he came out with a surprising statement. “I remember your Grandmother, lovely lady”.  My Grandmother died when my father was a small boy.  Then he said something even more surprising, “I used to see your Great Grandfather Supt. Beck driving his horse and trap between Beaminster and Bridport”. What? Who? I told him that I had an Auntie Jo Beck but never heard of Supt. Beck.  He explained to me that Auntie Jo was in fact Supt. Beck’s second wife.  “She was the families servant, after the death of your Great Grandmother, Supt. Beck married her, she was the same age as his daughter – it was the talk of the town!”

The next time Supt. Beck came to my attention was when I saw the picture taken by Dorset Constabulary for his retirement, but the idea of researching his life only came after a recent Powerstock House family reunion.  My father showed us some family photos.  One showed Supt. Beck at Beaminster Police station with a early car. As my father is the last of the grandchildren I decided now was a good time to find out more.  This blog is a record of my journey. Continue reading “Why write about Grandad Beck?”