Tag Archives: metropolitan police

Metropolitan Police Constable Thomas Gasson: a timeline

27 Apr

I mentioned yesterday (and on several occasions before that) that my 3x great-grandfather Thomas Gasson spent a short time a constable in the Metropolitan Police.

What I haven’t done until now is put together a timeline for this particular period of his life, bring together the evidence that I have for his time in the Metropolitan Police.

His exact dates of service are not known, so every little bit of evidence helps build up a picture, and may hopefully lead to further records.

28th July 1858 (Slaugham, Sussex)

  • Alfred Gasson son of Thomas and Harriet Gasson is baptised in St Mary’s Church, Slaugham. This is the last record of the family that I have in Sussex before Thomas joins the Metropolitan Police. Thomas is recorded as a labourer.

Q3 1860 (Edmonton Registration District, Middlesex)

  • The birth of their son Edward Gasson was registered in Edmonton Registration District, Middlesex. This places the family in Middlesex, but without checking the actual birth certificate I can’t tell whether Thomas was serving with the Metropolitan Police at the time.

7th April 1861 (Winchmore Hill, Edmonton, Middlesex)

  • Thomas, Harriet and their four children are shown in the 1861 census in Winchmore Hill in the parish of Edmonton, Middlesex. Thomas is recorded as a “Metropolitan Police Constable”.

16th May 1861 (N Division, Middlesex)

  • The Metropolitan Police Orders for the 16th May 1861 record that P.C. 265, Gasson was dismissed for being drunk on duty. This doesn’t provide enough information to confirm that P.C. 265 was my Thomas Gasson. I am also not sure what made up the boundaries of N Division, but I don’t think this matches Winchmore Hill.

Q1 1863 (Cuckfield Registration District, Sussex)

  • The birth of their daughter Harriett Gasson was registered in Cuckfield Registration District, Sussex (later census returns give her place of birth as Bolney or Warninglid, Sussex). This places the family back in Sussex, although it is not conclusive that Thomas had lost his job and they had permanently moved back home.

The only real evidence of Thomas’ service is the 1861 census, but it looks like he probably joined between July 1858 and Q3 1860, and he left between April 1861 and Q1 1863, probably in May 1861. With a bit more work I might be able to narrow these date ranges down a bit, especially with the purchase of a couple of birth certificates and a couple of baptism records.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Why Edward Gasson is also interesting

26 Apr

A couple of days ago I wrote about Jane Linfield who after the death of her first husband David Burtenshaw married my 3x great-uncle Edward Gasson.

Edward himself is already of interest to me because his birth in 1860 is one of the few clues to his father’s brief time serving in the Metropolitan Police.

His father Thomas Gasson (my 3x great-grandfather) served with the Metropolitan Police for a few years around 1860. I still don’t know the exact dates, but the family were up in Middlesex in the 1861 census and possibly were there for a couple of years either side of that date.

Apart from the 1861 census and the birth of Edward the only other possible bit of evidence I have is an entry in the Metropolitan Police Order Book for 1861 (TNA MEPO 7/22) which records that P.C. 265 Gasson was dismissed for being drunk on duty. I can’t say for certain that this is my Thomas Gasson, but the date would fit.

I am naturally interested in finding out more about Thomas, because someone serving in the Metropolitan Police makes a welcome change from the typical agricultural occupations of my ancestors.

I had hoped to be able to learn something more from Edward’s baptism record and perhaps one day I might, if I can ever find it. As more and more records are indexed and put online there is a chance that it might turn up eventually.

I have long known that Edward’s birth certificate could be a key piece of evidence, hopefully this would give me an address for Thomas and his wife Harriett. I am not quite sure where I might be able to go after that, but in this business every little piece of information helps.

It is for this reason that there has been an entry on my to-do list for several years, reminding me that I need to order a copy of Edward’s birth certificate. I think it might be about time I got my credit card out and ordered that certificate.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Metropolitan Police orders for the 1861 census

15 Aug

One of the advantages of searching a document page by page rather than going to a particular page, is that you find all manner of things you weren’t looking for but are still interesting nevertheless.

One such example was in the Metropolitan Police Orders for 1861 (MEPO 7/22) that I was searching at The National Archives last weekend. I was looking for a mention of my 3x great grandfather Thomas GASSON, but I came across this entry on Saturday the 6th April 1861.

CENSUS OF 1861.-The Superintendents are to instruct the Police of their respective Divisions to correctly state the particulars required in the Schedule left at their places of residence, and that the names of those on duty during the night of Sunday, the 7th April, are also to be inserted in the same manner as if they had slept at their homes.

The Schedules sent to Divisions from the Commissioner’s Office this day are to be duly filled up by the Superintendents, as far as in their power, respecting all persons confined at the Police Stations on the night of Sunday, 7th, and they are to be returned to the Enumerators of the Districts in which the Stations are situated when called for on 8th. The total numbers of Male and Female Prisoners confined in each Division, and returned in the Schedules, are to be sent to the Commissioner’s Office on 11th.

The Police are to give the necessary assistance, if required by the Enumerators, to suppress any disturbance which may occur while they are visiting each house to collect the Schedules.

With regard to the first part, Thomas GASSON was recorded at home in the 1861 census, so I guess I will never know if he was actually on duty that night or not. I have not come across any schedules for Police Stations in my searches of the 1861 census (or others) but I might have a quick look, I would love to see if there are any prisoners listed in the Police Stations. If you know of any please let me know in the comments.

LONDON: Disappointment at the London Metropolitan Archives

14 Jun
London Metropolitan Archives

London Metropolitan Archives

I probably wasn’t at the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) for much more than three-quarters of an hour, and came away empty handed.

It wasn’t my first visit to the LMA, but it had probably been four or five years since my one and only previous visit. I knew they had refurbished the place since my previous visit, so everything had moved around, although it wasn’t hard to find out where things were.

I am not sure about the new look of the LMA, it is bright (very white) and spacious, but it felt very sterile and it certainly didn’t feel like it was a place that contained over 900 years of London history.

I checked some microfilm, but the baptism for Edward GASSON was not where I was expecting to find it. Of course there could be many reasons for this, but ultimately I was only trying to get this information to avoid ordering a birth certificate, so it looks like I shall have to go ahead and order that certificate if I want to find out where his parents were living in Middlesex, whilst his father was briefly serving in the Metropolitan Police.

Somewhat disappointed I left the LMA, and made my way the short distance up Farringdon Road to Mount Pleasant Sorting Office, around the back of this massive building is the British Postal Museum and Archives, where I was hoping to have more luck.

Madness Monday: George Thomas GASSON wasn’t just a lunatic

8 Jun

So far pretty much all I have written about George Thomas GASSON concerns his time at the asylum and his mental illness. I wouldn’t want you to think that George Thomas GASSON was just a lunatic, he was a normal son, brother, husband and father for a large part of his life. So to put my previous posts in some perspective here is a summary of what I also know about George Thomas.

George Thomas GASSON was born in Slaugham, Sussex on the 13th November 1853 and was baptised in the parish church on the 29th January 1854. His birth was registered under the surname GASTON, on the 25th December 1853 by his grandmother Mary MITCHELL, which presumably accounts for the incorrect spelling of his surname (I say incorrect because this is the only time I have seen him referred to as GASTON not GASSON).

He was the eldest child of Thomas GASSON (1830-1914) and Harriet MITCHELL (c1835-1904) who were married in the parish church at Slaugham, Sussex on the 17th September 1853. They went on to have twelve children in total, eight boys and four girls.

Around 1859-60 Thomas, Harriet and their three children at the time (George Thomas, Margaret and Alfred) moved to Edmonton, Middlesex whilst Thomas was briefly in the Metropolitan Police. The family are there for the 1861 census and had another child there (Edward, registered Q3 1860). Before long the family were back in Sussex (probably Slaugham), as their next child, a daughter named Harriett was registered in Cuckfield District in Q1 1863.

It is not clear when George Thomas left the family home, he was certainly with his parents during the 1871 census, when the family was in Slaugham, and sometime around 1874-75 the family moved to Bolney, Sussex. It was in Bolney that George Thomas married Mary Ann WALDER at the parish church on the 30th December 1876.

George Thomas and Mary Ann’s first child, George, was born in 1877 (baptised on the 29th April 1877) about the same time as George Thomas’ youngest brother Michael. George Thomas and Mary Ann had fourteen children in total, including in 1893 my great grandmother May GASSON. The youngest was Harold, born in 1898. During this time they were living in Bolney, in the 1881 census at Bee Houses and in 1891 at Chatesgrove.

I have been unable to trace any record of George Thomas’ schooling, if there was any. His working life was spent as a labourer, although there is no evidence that shows where and for whom, presumably he was an agricultural labourer working on one of the farms in the parish.

A couple of their children had died before George Thomas was admitted to the asylum, Edward in 1894 (aged 15) and Albert Henry also in 1894 (aged just 3 months). One son was killed during the First World War, William James (in 1915). The youngest Harold served in the navy during the First World War, but I have been unable to discover where and with whom the others served.

After George Thomas was admitted to the asylum the family seems to have drifted eastwards, firstly to Cuckfield (Cuthedges in 1901) and then to Hurstpierpoint (Gorewood Green in 1911). It was in Hurstpierpoint that Mary Ann died in 1935 aged 78, although she was buried back in Bolney churchyard.

As far as I can tell the majority of their children married, with a couple of exceptions (my great grandmother being one of them) and many went on to have large families (at last count I had positively identified 34 grandchildren).

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