Payroll appears at auction
The original police pay
list for the Maidstone Station from 1839
A rare insight into early policing at Maidstone has
surfaced at a Shropshire auction house.
A document listing all the members of
the first police contingent in Maidstone, was submitted for sale
through Mullock’s auctioneers in Old Shippon.
It was the pay list for the force in
1839 and showed there was one superintendent, one inspector and 11
Auctioneer Richard Westwood-Brookes
said: "The Maidstone Police Force was formed following the
Municipal Corporations Act of 1835. It is therefore highly likely
that the names listed comprise the very first police force in the
"Up until this time, there was not a
formal Police Force. Law and order was enforced by a mixture of
locally employed sheriff’s men, who were actually known as
constables, and parish officials such as the beadles and parish
"Of course if matters got really out
of hand, the called on the local militia."
Mr Westwood-Brookes said: "Social life
was dangerous. Criminals had more than a fighting chance of getting
away with their crimes, and detection was primitive to say the
"It was against this background that
Sir Robert Peel founded the Police Force, but its development took
many years to implement. Maidstone was one of the first major towns
to have its own force, following the 1835 Act."
"The fact that this document dates
from only a few years after the foundation of the Force, suggests
that the various men who have signed it were in fact the very first
policemen in the town."
The payroll for the week April 21 to
April 27, 1839, reveals that the superintendent was paid £1,15s a
week (£1.75p). The Inspector received £1,5s (£1.25p) and the
Constables 18s (90p).
Two of the Constables couldn’t write. They had to make a mark in
place of a signature.
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