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Abberline and Pirnie - the walking stick

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  • Abberline and Pirnie - the walking stick

    I am trying to find any details about Hugh Pirnie mentioned on the engraved walking presented to Abberline. The stick, which was at Branshill Staff College (I don't know its present whereabouts), was annotated with the following information:
    "The stick was found amongst the possessions of Ex-Chief Inspector Hugh Pirnie (Dorset and Bournemouth) by his son, Commander Ian Pirnie, R.M., and presented by him to the College.
    Chief Inspector Pirnie served on the Directing Staff from March 1950 to December 1953."

    I am trying to find out any info about Hugh Pirnie, what connection he had with Abberline and how he may have come into possession of the stick.
    Any help gratefully received,

  • #2
    Some Info From The Old Boards

    Hello Chris,
    I'm afraid I cannot offer any help with tracking Hugh Pirnie, but Google
    threw up this link to the old Casebook boards which discussed where the stick was last seen.
    There is also reference to a Criminologist article about the walkingstick by Nick Warren in 1995.
    You have obviously consulted Underwood's book, or Sugden's.
    Here is the Google link: .



    • #3
      More Googlies...

      And further to that Chris,
      Additional Googling brought me the knowledge that there still seems to be some Pirnie link with Dorset.
      Back in 2004 it seems a certain Peter Pirnie received 547 votes when he stood in the European election as candidate for Poole in Dorset.
      He stood for the BNP (Nationalists) party. From which incidentally, local members of the police force were barred from belonging.
      A 42 year old police constable named Gail Doreen Pirnie collapsed and died of a heart attack in October, 1994, at Stoke Newington.
      The police car in which she was a rear seat passenger was crashed into from behind.
      This provides indication of an on-going Pirnie family involvement with the police in England.
      But, what interests me about your question Chris, and which surely would require a separate thread - or even a Dissertation : how much souveniring of police and Home Office JTR material went on? By whom?
      And also a discussion of the major JTR memorabilia collections. I am sure yourself or Stewart P Evans could ably discourse on that theme?


      • #4
        Hi John
        Many thanks for your replies and the info
        I'll let you know anything I find out
        Thanks again


        • #5
          I did find this announcement of Ian Pirnie's engagement. This gives a family address in Bournemouth, which would perhaps explain the Abberline connection, and corrects Ian's designation to R.N. (Royal Navy) not R.M.

          The Times
          25 August 1958

          Forthcoming Marriages

          Lieutenant I.H. Pirnie, R.N., and Miss S.P. Duckworth.
          The engagement is announced between Ian Hugh, only son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Pirnie, of 12 Porchester Road, Bournemouth, and Sally Patricia, elder daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alan Duckworth, of Hill House, Rochdale.
          Last edited by Chris Scott; 03-16-2008, 04:10 AM.


          • #6
            It looks as though Ian Pirnie stayed in the Navy and reached the top!
            In a news story from 1999, regarding the problems at Ashworth Hall, a top security hospital summarised as follows:

            Sprawled over a 250-acre site on the northern outskirts of Liverpool, Ashworth is one of Britain's three top security psychiatric hospitals. The others are Broadmoor and Rampton.
            Behind Ashworth's grim, featureless walls are housed 425 patients, most of them convicted criminals. Of these, about 120 are considered incurable - most, in layman's terms, are psychopaths.

            In this news story this passage was included:

            But this was the only one of his recommendations rejected by the Health Secretary, Frank Dobson.
            Mr Dobson has called for one more effort to run Ashworth efficiently, and he has asked retired Royal Navy admiral Ian Pirnie to devise an action plan.

            Why a retired Admiral would be asked to advise on running a top security hospital is not made clear
            This passage from Hansard also makes mention of this:
            "The Fallon report makes 58 detailed recommendations. Some cover the operational procedures at Ashworth. I am giving the hospital authority four months to develop an action plan to implement the necessary changes within the hospital and I am appointing Ian Pirnie to chair the authority during this process. Mr. Pirnie presently chairs the Morcambe Bay Health Authority. I expect that he will bring to this task the leadership and management skills that he demonstrated as an admiral in the Royal Navy."
            Last edited by Chris Scott; 03-16-2008, 04:04 AM.


            • #7
              This resume is from Burke's Peerage:

              IAN HUGH PIRNIE , CB (1992), DL (Cumbria 2000) [R-Adml Ian Pirnie CB DL, Cumbria and Lancashire Strategic Health Authority, Preston Business Centre, Watling Street Rd, Fulwood, Preston PR2 8DY]; born 17 June 1935; educated Christ's Hosp Horsham


              • #8
                Bramshill Police College is actually a vast Jacobean Mansion, a few miles from where I was brought up. It's also reputedly one of the most haunted buildings in the country and one of the sources of the 'Mistletoe Bough' story. I had no idea the stick was missing.

                Tour guides do it loudly in front of a crowd.


                • #9
                  Hi Philip
                  Thanks for the message
                  When I wrote
                  I don't know its present whereabouts
                  I didnt mean to imply that it was missing, only that I was not sure if it was still at the College


                  • #10
                    Hi Philip
                    I see what you mean!
                    Found this aerial photo of bramshill - an impressive building
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      I believe there are still Pirnies in Dorset, including Poole.

                      It makes a change to see a navy man running a lunatic asylum instead of a lunatic running the navy.


                      • #12
                        The only Hugh Pirnie for whom I can find a birth record was born in Gateshead, Co Durham, in the last quarter of 1907. If this is the man who was the father of Ian Pirnie, who donated the stick to Bramshill, he would have been 28 years of age at the time of Ian's birth in 1935, which is clearly feasible but not probative.
                        Also it would be feasible for this man to be on the Directing Staff for Bramshill from 1950, at which time he would have been 43 years of age.
                        However, Hugh Pirnie would have been considerably younger than Abberline. If this is the right man, then at the time of Abberline's death in 1929 he would have been only 22 years of age or thereabouts. Of course it is not impossible that the elderly Abberline might have gifted the stick to a much younger man, but it does raise the possibility that there may have been an intervening owner from whom Pirnie obtained the object in due course.
                        As the 1901 census was only 6 years before his birth I was hoping that I would find Hugh's family in Durham, but there was no family of the name Pirnie listed in that county in 1901. The nearest geographically was an Alexander Pirnie and his family living in Northumberland. In 1901 he was aged 44, Scottish born, and listed as an iron and steel worker. His wife Mary was aged 39 and born in Newcastle, Durham. At the time of the census they had 9 children ranging in age from 20 to 3 years of age. The family lived in Wallsend.


                        • #13
                          Bramshill is also the place where George Abbott (James I's Archbishop of Canterbury and a son of Guildford, where I live) became the only Archbishop of Canterbury to actually kill someone when he misfired a crossbow and shot dead a gamekeeper in the grounds in 1621.

                          Tour guides do it loudly in front of a crowd.


                          • #14
                            Keith Skinner traved a Pirnie descendant, whose corrections to our thinking will appear in the New A-Z - if we can ever recover from the bankruptcy of teh original publisher!
                            Martin F


                            • #15
                              I have found some details re. Pirnie, when a young Constable awarded the Kings Police Medal.