Before getting onto the pre-arranged topic of discussion of the night several matters were examined. Extending from Leicester City’s success in the football league to the April meeting to how fantastic it was to have a Victorian serial killer present on the night and Tony Power’s fantastic intro. In addition was conversation about The Hairy Bikers visiting the East End and merits of Fullers and Gales beer?
Before things became too assorted Tony chose to don his newly acquired MC hat and declared the discussion point of the evening, ‘ What Do We Know About The Police Of The Time At Street Level’ open and it was launched on its way.
At this point I have to reveal that I had the idea of making the interims a bit more focused and employ a dedicated theme at the end of last year and this was only the second gathering of this nature. Following the success of March I was on tenterhooks that May’s would be as good. It was and more. At several times during the ensuing two to three hours I sat back and smiled as the debate became occasionally very noisy and animated. This was just what I had wanted. This was proper stuff. Mrs Merton and her heated debates would be thrilled.
Commencing with what credentials a Victorian Bobby, often nicknamed Raw Lobsters from the tunic colour, had to have. Aged over 21 but not older than 29. Not below five foot nine inches in height and not more than two children. The force liked to take on Agricultural workers and especially ex-Army soldiers. Due to obvious constraints the RAF were not considered.
We then moved onto how a policeman involved in unsuccessful prosecutions could be made to pay the costs and if they couldn’t pick up the bill may have possibly been sent to Debtors Prison. If that seems totally ridiculous think about it. For some reason Monroe and Warren seemed to raise the bar and dialogue became very energetic with some almost shouting to get their points over.
Now I could carry on but it would take too many pages so I’ll wrap up by saying that talk progressed to cover Rachel Nickell, Peter Sutcliffe, Hillsborough and the West Yorkshire Police. Obviously drifting off topic somewhat but these debates frequently do and who cares, it was wonderful. I was a little concerned when we got to ‘Abraham Lincoln was a vampire killer’ and ‘how to kill your partner’. You would have to have been there to understand how those points came up but I’ll take an oath on the Follyfoot annual of 1971 that they did*. I’m so looking forward to the next interim.
Present on the night representing H division of 1888 were Tony Power, John Bennet, Jackie Murphy, Alan Hunt, Mellissa Ford with her husband Paul, John Pope de Locksley, Bill Beadle, Mark Galloway, Ed Stow, Sue Lechmere and myself, your humble reporter.
*You’re now thing, whatever happened to Dora?