[Account book. by (POLICE). CLARKE, A.E.W, Police Constable no 136.

[Account book. by (POLICE). CLARKE, A.E.W, Police Constable no 136. < >
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  • Another image of [Account book. by (POLICE). CLARKE, A.E.W, Police Constable no 136.
  • Another image of [Account book. by (POLICE). CLARKE, A.E.W, Police Constable no 136.

~ [Account book. Northamptonshire, England]. 1900-1931.

Manuscript, small 4to ruled notebook (222 × 178 mm), pp. [90] plus numerous blanks. Original cloth backed boards. Rubbed, a few leaves working loose but generally sound and secure.

The personal account book of an English provincial bobby posted in Northamptonshire (variously at Northampton, Kettering, Oundle, Paulerspury, Daventry, East Haddon and Naseby) recording every arrest he made in the course of a 32-year career.

After early stints in Northampton and Kettering, Clarke’s experience was based in smaller villages and his notebook is a valuable and grimly fascinating account of English rural life at the opening of the twentieth century. The crimes here records include drunkenness, obscenity, vagrancy, poaching, gambling, begging, petty theft, domestic abuse, animal cruelty, unlicensed use of firearms, bicycle and motoring offences and playing football on the highway. Clarke was an assiduous recorder, itemising every arrest and its outcome, then, at the end of the year making a final reckoning. So, for the year 1911 he sums up, in red ink: ‘24 proceeded against. 15 fined £10,18.0. 5 sent to prison 16 months 21 days. 1 dismissed. 2 warned of reward. I bound over for 12 months’. The hundreds of arrests made over the course of his career is totalled in pencil at the end: ‘32 years service, Cases 523, Fines £359.15.5. Sent to Prison 53 years 6 months 0 weeks 5 days. Pay £5272. 5 [shillings]. 7 1/2 [pence].

One interesting development charted here is, of course, the rise of motor transport and its attendant offences. In the early years Clarke apprehends very few motorists (but rather more cyclists), while towards 1930 the vast majority of his successes (and revenue) involve reckless and speeding drivers from all over England. A few excerpts give a flavour:

‘October 30th [1900] Danile Bailey John Abrahams Edward Smith & Jim Mallard charged with stealing Fruit valued 5/- the property of Jethro Johnson Fine and Costs 7/6 each.’

‘Dec 16th [1900] Frederick Albert Coe, scholar, age 13 Abbey St Daventry Charged with stealing a Dutch Cheese Valued 2/6 the property of Messrs Bayley Brothers & was ordered to receive 6 strokes with Birch’.

‘March 3d [1901] Richard Clarke Cycle Maker Coventry charged with being a wandering Lunatic at Daventry committed to Berrywood Asylum’.

‘19 August [1909] Fred[eric]k Juggings... Commercial Traveller charged with Indecently assaulting Mollie Simpson age 5 yrs at Weston Favell. Fine £2.10.0 costs 6/-’

‘June 17 [1914] Lady Mabel Gore Langton Cosgrove Hall charged with keeping 5 male servants with 3 licences. Cautioned.’

‘Jan 27 [1917] William Lee, Cold Ashby, charge with supplying to [sic] wounded soldiers with whisky. Fined £10.’

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