A book that has been seven years in the making, with five years of painstaking research into Margate Borough Police, has now been published.
The 942 page book is the work of Margate resident and former Kent Police officer Nigel Cruttenden.
Nigel served in the force for more than 40 years, 30 as a warranted police officer, and many as a major crime scene supervisor or manager.
His book Watch and Ward – a history of Margate Borough Police 1858 to 1943, names every single constable who served on the force during that time along with numerous cases from murder to juvenile pick-pockets.
Margate Borough Police was amalgamated into the Kent Police 80 years ago, on April 1, 1943.
The book, which is Nigel’s first, also includes details of the Watch Committee, Margate Town Council, Kent County Constabulary, HM Inspectors of Constabulary, and the Home Office as well as the names of those killed whilst in service and those given the boot for reasons including dishonesty and drunkenness.
Nigel said: “I wanted to make sure every policeman who served in that force was remembered. I travelled around to try and find the information although the main problem was there was not a lot written down as much of it was destroyed in 1943.”
However, some paperwork was found through the county council, library and a private collection.
Nigel said: “I have always been interested in Margate history, I’d spent most of my service in Margate and knew a couple of people who had been in that force and wondered who knew about those people. I looked into it and found names but wanted the stories behind them and it just grew from there.
“It is more a social history of Margate than just the history of the police. Margate problems have not really changed, there is still the alcohol, domestic violence and assaults.”
The hard-back book has 52 chapters, around 100 illustrations and 50 pages of indices for names and locations.
Nigel said: “It is reference book which I hope will help people who are researching their family and/or local history to look in different directions and give them ideas where to look.”
“There are 50 pages of indices and 900 different family names, the majority of which are Margatonians.
“For the most part, it is clear from the deeds and stories of the policemen recounted in this book that, whether judged by today’s standards or those of the time, they were acting not for themselves, but for Margate.
“The book is balanced so the failures of the policemen have not been forgotten and are included.
“There were no warranted women officers until after the war. Women did play an important part in the Margate Police and their work is covered. Strangely, Ramsgate did have one policewoman during the same time.
“Mrs Wools (chemist’s wife) and Mrs Bobby (of Bobby’s Department Stores) did try and get a woman officer in the early 20th Century but the Watch Committee went to the council and said there were no suitable toilets for women in the police station (at that time situated in what is now the Margate Museum).”
Nigel was helped with editing and publication by Ozaru Books MD and St Nicholas-at-Wade resident Ben Jones.
Watch and Ward – a history of Margate Borough Police 1858 to 1943 is published by Ozaru Books. It is available on order from online or from bookstores world-wide, using the ISBN 978-1-915174-03-1. For more details see https://ozaru.net/ozarubooks/margatepolice.html.