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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Christmas Bells to wish you a Happy Christmas

By piano, boy with violin and girl seated
May and Lionel Beck Celebrating Christmas

I thought I would let Lionel and May wish you a Happy Christmas, can you hear Lionel on the violin accompanied by May on the piano coming to you through the years?  This photograph must have been taken over 100 years ago, around 1910.  The room is the same one as in the photograph here and is at Overton Villas in Dorchester.  Christmas Bells is a one of Ezra Read’s ‘Descriptive Fantasias’ which was popular with music teachers at the time. Continue reading “Christmas Bells to wish you a Happy Christmas”

“Dad, Dad the war is over”

Grandad Beck told my father the story of how May overheard a conversation while she was working at the telephone exchange in Blandford Forum.  May promptly telephoned her father to tell him that the war was over.  The call is likely to have been between an Officer in London and the RAF station at Blandford.  Grandad Beck went on to tell my father that he gave her a good telling off.  May was in a position of trust and must not repeat anything she should overhear.

Girl with white cat in snow
Photo of May taken at Blandford Police Station most likely during WW1

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Moving Police Stations – from Blandford to Beaminster

On November 21st 1919 Grandad Beck took over his duties as Police Superintendent of the Bridport Division from Superintendent Saint who retired the day before.  Prior to this Grandad Beck had been in charge of the Blandford Division, this was a promotion  as the Bridport Division was larger than Blandford’s. The Bridport Division consisted of 2 Borough town, Bridport and Lyme Regis and the Market Town of Beaminster.  The Division police station was built at Beaminster around 1862.  The choice of location was most likely because, as a borough, Bridport had their own police force.  Grandad Beck’s new division consisted of 3 Sergeants (one each at Bridport, Lyme Regis and Beaminster) and  22 constables, 11 of these based in the rural villages.  Blandford was smaller with 1 Sergeant and 10 constables, 5 in nearby villages.  It is unlikely that either of these divisions had their full number of constables, see last weeks post.

3 Ladies, 2 seated with tennis rackets
Rebecca and May with Grandad Beck’s sister Beat (Beatrice)

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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.

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