Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Time Zone: 1831 - 1836


May 17 - Night-watchmen (‘Charlies’) disbanded.


Tothill Fields Prison rebuilt.

London Hackney Carriage Act.

Further riots. A crowd attacked Apsley House, home of the Duke of Wellington, and break all windows. The police eventually restored order.

Italian Boy murder committed, linked to illegal provision of bodies for medical students.

Reform Bill riots at Bristol.

First edition of ‘Confidential Informations’.

Oct 15 - Special Constables Act. Two or more JPs empowered to appoint specials upon information on oath that disturbance exists or is feared.


Richard MAYNE, the Commissioner, tried to clarify the roles of the Magistrates and the Commissioners as the Bow Street Runners continued their existence.

Attempted assassination of King William IV.

Sir Richard BIRNIE, Chief Magistrate, died.

Capital punishment for forgery abolished (Last execution in 1829).

First stage Carriage Act.

Last two men gibbeted (William JOBLING and James COOK).

Dissection of murderers' bodies made optional (abolished 1861).

Parliamentary Commission set up to enquire into rioting.

Apr - Cholera outbreak in London.


Parliamentary Committee on Police as Spies. Popay Case. (Police Officer William POPAY (Wt No 6778) accused of ‘spying’ - working in plain clothes).

Parliament agreed to part of police cost being borne by the Exchequer.

Station Officers deprived of power to dismiss drunks.

The Lighting and Watching Act - parishes empowered to elect inspectors and appoint watchmen.

Jan - The London Fire Engine Establishment formed.

May 13 - Coldbath Fields Riots (Grays Inn Road)) A major crowd disturbance was dealt with by the Metropolitan Police with controversial use of force. PC Robert CULLEY, 95 ‘C’ Division (Wt No 1044), stabbed to death at this event and the jury returned a verdict of Justifiable Homicide.


The Select Committee designated with the task of enquiring into the state of the Police of the Metropolis reported that ‘the Metropolitan Police Force, as respects its influence in repressing crime and the security it has given persons and property, is one of the most valuable modern institutions’.

Bow Street officers still investigating cases, Henry Goddard being called to investigate a fore in Oare, Wiltshire. Mr Richardson's murder in Surrey investigated by both Metropolitan Police and Bow Street.

Hansom Patent Safety Cab introduced.

Poor Law Act created united workhouses.

During hot summer - Cholera and Typhus outbreak killed 5 police officers.

Alfred Swaine Taylor appointed Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at Guy's Hospital.

Hanging in chains abolished.

Central Criminal Court Act.

Destruction of both Houses of Parliament by fire.


Uniform: Sergeants issued with a new Armlet containing two narrow blue and three wide white stripes worn on the right arm.

Highway Act - Introduced Rule of the Road (Section 78 - that carriages and animals shall be driven on the left or near side of the road) and Furious Driving.

Bow Street's Henry Goddard solves firearms case in Southampton by comparing ammunition made from the same mould.

Reform Act.

Gas installations at Police Stations.

Municipal Corporations Act - Established Borough Police Forces.

Metropolitan Police Officers sent to provinces to deal with riots against Poor Law.

The Municipal Corporations Act required every Borough to appoint a watch committee with a duty of maintaining a police force.

Oct - A fire broke out at the Millbank Penitentiary and 400 Metropolitan Police officers and a detachment of Guards were called to restore order. This prompted the press to call for the police to be put in command at all large fires.


The Bow Street Horse Patrol placed under authority of Commissioners of Police.

James Greenacre convicted of the murder of Hannah Brown.

Royal Commission on Police (1836 - 38).

Counsel for prisoner accused of felony first permitted to address jury on behalf of prisoner.

Feb - London’s first railway open between Spa Rd, Bermondsey and Deptford.

Oct - Bow St Horse Patrol attached to the Metropolitan Police.

Dec - London and Greenwich Railway extended to London Bridge.


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