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What is this uniform?

This is the place for your genealogy-related photos.
Norfolk Nan
Posts: 241
Joined: 16 Jun 2020, 11:54
Location: A Londoner lost in Norfolk

Re: What is this uniform?

Post by Norfolk Nan »

Well, I’ve looked at the newspapers and found lots of useful and interesting articles about my chap who retired as a Detective Inspector in Oxford just before WW1. It seems he had a good career and was involved in several important cases including the Oscar Wilde case. I have the census info etc. What I don’t know is if he is the man in the two photos.

I can’t be sure of the date of either picture, I can’t use the collar number to identify him and the photos were taken in London, not Oxford where he lived and worked. It’s not a certainty he’s the man in the photos so I’ll keep plugging away hoping I can make the link.

Thank you for all the suggestions, it all helps. :D

VALLMO9
Posts: 456
Joined: 13 Jun 2020, 21:28

Re: What is this uniform?

Post by VALLMO9 »

What is the photography studio's address on the back of the Wilson & Sons photo? Is it Harrow Road, Paddington Green, London?

If the address is Paddington Green, then it puts the man in the correct area for his collar number "37.D" (D Division - Paddington/Marylebone). In fact, Paddington Police Station was located on Harrow Road, Marylebone. It opened there in 1866.

So that means the mystery man in the photo probably isn't your Oxford police chap.
Having said that, there were MP personnel who transferred to the Oxford force during the late 19th century. So the man in the photo could've been a London MP colleague of your Oxford chap.

I'm also wondering if it's the same man in both photos. There is a similarity with facial features, mustaches, and ears. The man in the first photo is wearing the MP inspectors' common uniform.

FYI: From 1864 to 1897, the MP tunic had 8 white buttons down the front, with the plain stand collar featuring numbers and letters. The tunics in your photos appear to have at least 7 buttons down the front. This leads me to date both photos as pre-1897.

So I'm curious now: how was your chap involved with Oscar Wilde's case? Was it during the 1895 trials at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey)?
Or was it during Wilde's imprisonment at Reading Gaol?

Norfolk Nan
Posts: 241
Joined: 16 Jun 2020, 11:54
Location: A Londoner lost in Norfolk

Re: What is this uniform?

Post by Norfolk Nan »

Hi Mo

That is the right address for the photographer. The collar number is F, not D, which I think is Hammersmith, still close to Paddington and Kensington although I know areas changed over the years and as we aren’t certain of the date we can’t be sure of anything.

No idea how my Oxford chap featured in the OW case, it was mentioned in his obituary printed in several places, so that’s one to follow up.

So I have a known family member who has an extensive career in Oxford and two photos of one unknown man, taken at different times in London. They may be the same man but how to find out? I’m confident the photos are the same man but who is he? The collar number is no help in tracing the man’s record but gives us a place to look.

Did officers have to buy their own uniforms like they do/did in the army? If so, he may have headed to London and had photos taken at the same time, if it’s the same man. He was recorded as a detective Inspector, could the flat hat uniform be an inspectors dress uniform meant for ceremonial occasions? There’s lots of braiding but no identification insignia. So many questions… :D

Norfolk Nan
Posts: 241
Joined: 16 Jun 2020, 11:54
Location: A Londoner lost in Norfolk

Re: What is this uniform?

Post by Norfolk Nan »

As a follow up - I've heard from the Met Police Archives who confirmed the flat cap (Kepi) photo is of an Inspector's uniform used between mid-1870-1906, so Mo was spot on. :D That ties in nicely with my Oxford man's career but doesn't prove he's the man in the photos. However, my question here is answered so thank you all.

Mick Loney
Posts: 201
Joined: 15 Jun 2020, 07:27

Re: What is this uniform?

Post by Mick Loney »

Being a picky, but how come the ‘sergeant’ has 4 stripes on his uniform, where 3 is the norm?

Norfolk Nan
Posts: 241
Joined: 16 Jun 2020, 11:54
Location: A Londoner lost in Norfolk

Re: What is this uniform?

Post by Norfolk Nan »

It’s how you look at it, Mick. 3 dark bars or 4 light stripes? Anyway, the stripes in the photo are, according to another specialist website, the sign of a station sergeant.

VALLMO9
Posts: 456
Joined: 13 Jun 2020, 21:28

Re: What is this uniform?

Post by VALLMO9 »

Norfolk Nan wrote:
17 Aug 2021, 07:45
The collar number is F, not D, which I think is Hammersmith, still close to Paddington and Kensington...
Oops, I meant "F" Division. From what I know, the original "F" (Covent Garden) was abolished in the late 1860s.
However, a new "F" Division (Paddington) was created in 1886. So that matches nicely with the Wilson & Sons photo in Paddington Green. All things considered, I think that photo dates from 1886 to 1896 (prior to the tunic change in 1897).

Also, if it's the same man in both photos, the first photo (inspector in 'common' uniform) would date sometime after the second photo. Because Inspectors ranked higher than serjeants.

Personally, I don't think the man (serjeant with collar number) is your Oxford chap. Mainly because I can't see an Oxford copper travelling to London for a photo -- wearing a Paddington MP's uniform. Doesn't make any sense at all. (I'm pretty sure that MPs were supplied with their uniforms and boots. At times they were given a small allowance to buy boots, as the boots supplied to them didn't fit well).

Where did both photos come from? Were they part of the Oxford copper's effects? Or are you presuming they're his, due to the police connection?
I only ask, as the Paddington MP chap could be someone in your London family tree, who warrants further research. Anyone with Paddington connections in your tree circa late 19th century?

You could always have a look for any coppers in the 1891 census living in the Paddington and Marylebone area. See if any surnames jump out at you. Not knowing his identity, I'd use separate search terms: "police" then "serjeant" then "constable" then "inspector" (in any order you choose). FMP is good for that sort of occupational search.
Last edited by VALLMO9 on 17 Aug 2021, 18:26, edited 1 time in total.

Norfolk Nan
Posts: 241
Joined: 16 Jun 2020, 11:54
Location: A Londoner lost in Norfolk

Re: What is this uniform?

Post by Norfolk Nan »

Thanks Mo.

I’ve checked and no, all uniforms were supplied so that theory is shot. I’m also thinking the photos aren’t my Oxford man too. They were in a hoard of family photos from my deceased in-laws, all identifiable except these two. The family are all Oxford based, entrenched in the area and everyone accounted for, so his identity is a mystery. But I’ll trawl the census, not a lot to lose and who knows, it might provide the key to the mystery. :D Thank you.

VALLMO9
Posts: 456
Joined: 13 Jun 2020, 21:28

Re: What is this uniform?

Post by VALLMO9 »

Norfolk Nan wrote:
17 Aug 2021, 18:22
They were in a hoard of family photos from my deceased in-laws, all identifiable except these two.
Well, then...he's probably a Paddington ancestor of your in-laws. That makes more sense, as opposed to trying to "force" an Oxford connection. :D
You never know -- the photos chap could be a London copper of note -- particularly if he turns up in newspaper reports. Good luck with your search. Hope the 1891 census suggests some likely "suspects" (no pun intended).

Norfolk Nan
Posts: 241
Joined: 16 Jun 2020, 11:54
Location: A Londoner lost in Norfolk

Re: What is this uniform?

Post by Norfolk Nan »

Hi, I have an update...

With help from subscribers here and other sources I've been able to put a name to the photos and, also, found a photo for the other police officer in the family tree. Two men with almost identical careers that overlapped by a few short years, both 2xgreat uncles but on different sides of the family. It's a very satisfying outcome and now we have one less mystery to chew over :D

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