In all seriousness, I don't know if anyone has done any research into PC John Neil's career?
I have done a bit of digging since coming across this Old Bailey report (I must emphasise I am an amateur). But I have found the following. He doesn't appear on the police medal rolls 1879-1911 so we must assume that he joined pre 1879. We know that in 1888 he was 36 years old. We know he was an Irishman. There is only one John Neil on the 1881 census as being a police officer and in London (coincidentally his date of birth puts him at the correct age so we must assume it's the right chap). Born in 1851 and aged 30 in 1881 and living in Kennsington which I believe is F Division. J Division didn't come into existence until 1886. So it is possible he was posted from F to J Division when it was formed, judging by his low collar number, he must have been one of the first officers posted there and have had considerable service at that point? I'm basing this theory on other officers posted to J Division with less service who were given higher collar numbers. He doesn't appear on the 1891 census as a police officer in London so I assume he'd retired by then? If he is the same bobby from the Old Bailey case he's a reserve officer by 1889, again I assume older officers would have filled that post? So he's winding down his service by 1889. Bobbies usually did 25 years service, so that gives us a start date of after 1865, but if he was born in 1851, he'd have had to have been at least 20 so 1871 seems more likely? But this would been that he served after 1891 so unsure why he doesn't appear on the census for that year? There is a John Neil who rejoins J Division in 1902 for the Coronation with a new warrant number of 2053, lots of retired bobbies re joined for the 1902 and 1911 Coronations. Also of interest from the Old Bailey case is his statement "On 10th September, at 7 a. m., I was returning off duty" The incident having taken place on the Old Bethnal Green Road (Bethanl Green station was on Bethnal Green Road), so he was either returning home off duty or making his way into work. Was he the night shift going home or the day shift coming into work. Either way he doesn't appear to have been living in the station (not sure where the station house was or even if they had one, so assume he was married) and thus must have lived up that (Northern) part of Bethnal Green.
Just did a wiki search (should have done this first really), anyway it confirms the following.....
Neil joined the Met in 1875 warrant number 59168. It also confirms he was married. Interestingly wiki has only documents the 1891 census, where as I was unable to find him on that? Only on the 1881 one. It also states that he spent his entire service in J Division. Which can't be correct if he was in Kensington in 1881? We must also consider that J Division didn't come into existence until 1886. It does confirm that he is the reserve officer from the Old Bailey case of 1889 and that he retired in 1897 after receiving an injury on duty.
Metropolitan Police patrols took to the streets on 29 September 1829, despite resistance from certain elements of the community who saw them to be a threat to civil liberties. The initial force consisted of two Commissioners, eight Superintendents, 20 Inspectors, 88 Sergeants and 895 Constables. Patrolling the streets within a seven-mile (11 km) radius of Charing Cross, in order to prevent crime and pursue offenders. Between 1829 and 1830, 17 local divisions each with its own police station were established, each lettered A to V, allocating each London borough with a designated letter. These divisions were: A (Westminster); B (Chelsea); C (Mayfair and Soho); D (Marylebone); E (Holborn); F (Kensington); G (Kings Cross); H (Stepney); K (West Ham); L (Lambeth); M (Southwark); N (Islington); P (Peckham); R (Greenwich); S (Hampstead); T (Hammersmith) and V (Wandsworth). In 1865 three more divisions were created, W (Clapham); X (Willesden) and Y (Tottenham); J Division (Bethnal Green) was added in 1886.
Which means that he couldn't have spent his entire career in J Division, but he might have spent his entire career in Bethnal Green? If so then whose the John Neil in Kensington in 1881 and why doesn't he appear on any of the census's for Bethnal Green (1881 and 1891).
Last edited by The Station Cat : 10-10-2017 at 06:13 AM.
Thanks Robert, Blythe Street, is just off the Old Bethnal Green Road. So my theory that he lived in the northern part of the area was correct. Would be interesting to know whether given the time of day, whether he was coming off nights or going to start a day shift?