Nostalgia: Novium display reveals Chichester police stories

Kerill Winters, exhbitions officer at the Novium, showing PC Jimmy Upton, a city team officer, a picture of Chichester City Police taken in the 1880s and other items which could have been used by them
Kerill Winters, exhbitions officer at the Novium, showing PC Jimmy Upton, a city team officer, a picture of Chichester City Police taken in the 1880s and other items which could have been used by them

A GLIMPSE of the past is on show at the Novium – thanks to a new exhibition.

A Window on the History of Chichester looks at how the city and district developed over the past 
2,000 years.

As shown in last week’s Observer, one of the many items on show is a picture of the Chichester City Police Force, taken on April 1, 1889.

The eight men pictured are 
(from back left to front right): 
PC Joseph Phillips, PC William Goff, PC G Willard, PC Frederick Wilkins, PC Frederick H Ewens, Sgt George Keates, Supt Arthur Alfred Pratt and PC Emery Caiger.

Their stories and careers are just a few of the records made by Malcolm Barrett, a former detective constable, who was based in Chichester until he retired in 1983.

For many years, he ran a police museum in Chichester, and still has vast amounts of memorabilia at his home in Tangmere.

From his records he is able to reveal the stories of the men pictured.

PC Phillips was born in Tangmere in 1856. He joined Chichester City Police in 1874 and soon became a first-class constable.

However, his career took an unfortunate turn because of his addiction to alcohol.

He was reported drunk in January, 1880, and again in October, 1881.

In the latter instance his pay was reduced for two months.

In April and November of 1884 he was drunk again, when his pay was reduced as he was demoted from first-class to second-class constable.

On December 7, 1887, until January 1, 1888, he was suspended for a further transgression.

His wife died in October of 1888 and his two children were sent to live with his wife’s sister in Sidlesham.

In 1889, the Chichester City Police was amalgamated into the West Sussex Constabulary and he resigned.

He went back to Tangmere where he worked as a labourer.

PC Goff was born in Chichester in 1836. He joined the Chichester City Police in 1867 and lived in 
Park Terrace.

He had five children with his wife Isabella. He joined the West Sussex Constabulary in the amalgamation and served at Chichester until his retirement in 1893, when he also went to live in Tangmere.

Little is known of PC Willard, who joined the Chichester City Police in 1882. After the amalgamation he was absorbed into the county constabulary and was stationed in South Street, but resigned in 1906.

PC Wilkins was born in Nutbourne in 1861 and joined the Chichester City Police in 1887. He was one of the officers taken on by the West Sussex Constabulary in 1889.

He was posted to Shipley, near Billingshurst, in 1890 as the village constable, living in a house known as Raskells Cottage, which is likely to have been the village’s police house.

Also joining the city police force in 1887 was PC Ewens, who was born in Harting in 1864, where he had his first job as a trainee blacksmith.

Upon the amalgamation of the police forces he was transferred to the West Sussex Constabulary and stationed at the county’s police station in Southgate, Chichester.

In 1891, he resigned and returned to his earlier career, working and living as a blacksmith in St Pancras with his wife and family.

Sgt Keates was born in South Bersted in 1843 and was the father of eight children with his wife Jane, who was born in West Wittering.

He joined Chichester City Police in 1865 and in 1881 was still a police constable living in St Pancras.

He was later promoted to sergeant and retired in 1889, after 24 years’ service.

The family moved to Orchard Lane, where he became a market gardener.

Head constable and superintendent Pratt was born in Exton, Hampshire, in 1834.

He initially joined the Hampshire Constabulary and transferred to West Sussex on January 18, 1858, where he was promoted to sergeant.

On November 18, 1867, he was appointed head constable of Chichester City Police on the recommendation of the chief constable of West Sussex – a Captain Mongomerie.

He and his wife Sophia lived with their three children at the police station in East Street and his wife was responsible for keeping the station clean, as well as providing meals for any prisoners in the cells.

He retired when the amalgamation occurred, but he continued in one of his duties as the market superintendent.

He lived at 55, East Street, Chichester, until his death in December, 1906.

Finally, PC Caiger was born in Aldingbourne in 1845 and later married his Selsey-born wife Harriett in 1849 – they had five children.

In 1871, he joined the Chichester City Police and transferred to West Sussex in 1889.

Shortly after his transfer he was promoted to sergeant and posted to the police station in Southgate, where he lived until his retirement in 1900.

His retirement years were spent at 13 North Pallant, Chichester.

The records of these men was collected by Mr Barrett, who himself joined the West Sussex Constabulary in Chichester in 1950 and remained with the police until his retirement.

He has published some of the records, entitled West Sussex Constabulary: 110 Years Of History.

The book, which was published in 2011, goes from the creation of the constabulary in 1857 through to the amalgamations, which replaced it with Sussex Police from 1968.

During his time with the force, he formed the museum from a number of sources and it contained many items from throughout the force’s history..

Mr Barrett contacted the Observer after seeing the story published in last week’s edition.

Kerill Winters, exhibitions officer at the Novium, said: “I think the photograph is fascinating and it was something of a serendipitous find for us. Once I saw it I knew I had to get it into the exhibition and I’m really pleased that it fits so well in our new display.”

The Novium’s new exhibition looks at how the city and district developed over the past 2,000 years.