Hampshire Police 19th Century Timeline

Dates of significant local, national & world events


1805 Admiral Lord Nelson is Killed in Action at the Battle of Trafalgar.
1814 British troops set fire to the White House in Washington, in the War of 1812. Building repainted white to cover the scorch marks!
1815 Victory at the Battle of Waterloo brings peace to Europe. Bands of demobbed soldiers roam the countryside surviving by begging. A group of ex-soldiers camp in the Forest of Bere, in an area now known as, ‘Waterlooville’.

1829 Metropolitan Police Act – Robert Peel, Home Secretary forms Metropolitan Police who later (in 1860s) police naval dockyards in areas like Portsmouth.
1829 Invention – Stephenson’s ‘The Rocket’ steam train wins trials.


1830 Violent ‘Swing’ riots by farm workers in southern England seeking higher wages and the end to mechanisation – 9 executed, hundreds transported or imprisoned
1830 Selborne and Headley Workhouse riots. William IV succeeds George IV as King
1830 Employment law limits 12 -18 year olds to maximum of 12 hours work a day, 9 to 13 yr. olds to 9 hours
1832 – 1889 Winchester City Police formed and year of the Great Reform Act doubling the number of people eligible to vote
1834 Abolition of Slavery and The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 – An Act for the Amendment and better Administration of the Laws relating to the Poor in England and Wales is one of the most significant pieces of social legislation in British history. Read about the Workhouse
1835 Municipal Corporations Act – Boroughs to appoint Watch Committees
1836 Southampton, Portsmouth, Basingstoke, Andover & Lymington Borough Police forces formed
1836 Royal Commission to consider rural constabulary and Woolston ‘Floating Bridge’ starts
1837 – 1889 Newport Borough Police
1837 Electric telegraph invented and Pitman shorthand
1838 Coronation of Queen Victoria
1838-42 First Afghan War – massacre of British soldiers
1839 Fox Talbot invents photography
1839 Hampshire County Constabulary formed with Bournemouth & Isle of Wight under Chief Constable Captain George Robbins. There were 106 officers, comprising of 1 Chief Constable, 14 superintendents and 91 constables. This was a ratio of one officer to every 1,200 inhabitants or 4,000 acres. Pay was 18/- per week at a time when labourers were paid 8 – 9 shillings. Events leading up to the setting up of Hampshire Constabulary
1839 County Police Act


1840 New chain driven floating bridge links Gosport to Old Portsmouth (closed in 1959) and penny post introduced
1840 Electric light invented however it was many years before its use became widespread. Even in the 1880s Sherlock Holmes was still investigating murders by candlelight.
1842 Miners Act stops women, girls and children under 10 working down mines
1842 The second Chief Constable of Hampshire is Captain William Charles Harris.
1845 Alton Police Station built with family accommodation for Superintendent and Sergeants. The only transport is the Superintendent’s horse and there were no telephones then.
1846 Andover Borough Police merge with Hampshire County Constabulary. Increase in establishment to 165 officers. Repeal of the Corn Laws promised cheaper food for all and an end to protectionism.
1847 First Police Headquarters built at West Hill, Romsey Road, Winchester.


1851 Population of England stands at 16.9 million – half live in rural areas.
1856 The new Chief Constable of Hampshire is Captain John Henry Forrest.
1852 Lymington Borough force joins Hampshire.
1857 New Police Stations at Fordingbridge and Lyndhurst.
1858 New Police Stations opened at Droxford and Petersfield


1865 Romsey Borough Police merge with Hampshire. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first licensed female doctor.
1867 Alton, murder of Fanny Adams
1867 Last public hanging at Winchester
1869 Ryde Borough Police until 1922. Last public hangings take place in Britain.
1869 Habitual Criminals Act. However persistent criminals start to give false names to thwart the Act. The search is on for a reliable identification system. This would result in fingerprinting becoming compulsory for all convicted persons in 1902.


Recruiting Poster of 1873 
wastage was high then due to drink problems etc.


1870 Portsmouth born author, Charles Dickens, dies
1872 Portsmouth: Albert Road Police Station Southsea opens. County constabulary manpower increased by 72 officers.
1874 CID established in Hampshire force and Remington introduce first practical typewriter
1876 Telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell
1878 British invade Afghanistan to counteract Russian influence
1879 British occupy Kabul in Afghanistan after Envoy killed


1880 Second Afghan War ends after British force lifts siege of Kandahar
1882 Prevention of Crime Act suspends trial by jury. Irish extremist start campaign of terrorism
1887 Police officers allowed to vote in Parliamentary elections
1888 Local Government Act sets up county councils and Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of London’s East End.
1889 Basingstoke Borough Police merge with new, ‘Hampshire County Constabulary’


1890 Police Pensions Act – now pension after 25 years a right, previously it had been discretionary
1891 The new Chief Constable of Hampshire is Captain Peregrine Henry Thomas Fellowes
1890 Separate Isle of Wight County Constabulary formed with Newport Borough Police until 1922
1892 Portsmouth & Southampton now ‘County Borough Police’ forces.
1893 Chief Constable of Hampshire, Peregrine Fellowes, dies after being injured trying to stop a runaway horse
1893 Portsmouth: PC 66 Robert George Poore joins the Borough Police
1894 Pockets books with pencil attached introduced
1894 The new Chief Constable of Hampshire is Major St. Andrew Bruce Warde
1898 Court procedure has been changed. Previously an accused could not give evidence in their defence and so could not be cross-examined in court.

George Kemish

George Kemish, born Great Bridge, Romsey
14 January 1855, married Emily Lomer 5 November 1877 at St Marys, Southampton. Joined Hampshire Constabulary at Winchester 4 December 1880. Examination book No. 446.

Promoted to Sergeant 9 September 1895.
Retired (ill health) 3 August 1902.
Died Bentworth, Hants. 2 September 1910.

Hampshire Record Office

Some of the dates above come from the book:
“A History of the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary 1839 – 1966”
compiled by Ian A. Watt 1967
Culverlands Press Ltd.

George Kemish

Now the 20th century