Wednesday 12 July 2017

London's Met Police pensions registers worth checking for Irish-born officers

A couple of month's ago, Ancestry added a debut collection of Metropolitan Police registers detailing the force's pension provision between 1852 and 1932.
Click to view details of Kilkenny-born
Sergeant Thomas Carroll's service
I didn't blog about the launch because I assumed, given its dates, that it wouldn't have much to offer Irish genealogists. But I was drawn into it this last weekend when looking at my husband's family history, and in the process found that of the nearly 70,000 men recorded, about 800 are Irish-born. There will, I'm sure, be a good many more who were second generation Irish living in London.

For those lucky enough to find an ancestor in these registers, some useful detail awaits. The records include personal information about the officer and you may find a place of birth, marital status, names and addresses of parents and next of kin, service details; from 1923, details of the police officer's spouse – date of birth and place of marriage – are also included.

Here are a couple of examples:

William Reilly was born 24 June 1843 at Finner (sic), Drumcree, County Westmeath, the son of John and Elizabeth Reilly. He joined the Metropolitan Police as a Constable at Scotland Yard aged 22, on 14 August 1865 and worked in three Divisions (Kings Cross, Greenwich and Southwark) during his 23 years of service. He was a tall man, standing just over 6ft 3inches tall, with a ruddy complexion and blue eyes. His brown hair was turning grey by the time he retired, aged 44, in May 1888. He was married to Maria and they lived at 12 Jamaica Road, Bermondsey, and he was entitled to an annual pension of £32.15s.3d.

Thomas Reilly was born on 1 April 1855 at Paulstown, County Kilkenny. Twenty-three years later he joined the Metropolitan Police as a Constable at Scotland Yard on 26 August 1878. He was posted to Portsmouth in 1892 having been promoted to Sergeant, and spent 18 months as a Station Sergeant before, at his request, returning to Section Sergeant in Highgate Division. When he retired from the force on 30 August 1903 on a pension of £67.18s 9d, he was 48 years old, had grey eyes and grey hair and was 5ft 10inches tall. He had been injured while in service; whether this injury relates to the noted burn scar on his left cheek is not clarified. He was married and lived at 76 Grove Road, Holloway. He selected his son, Bernard Thomas Carroll as his next of kin, rather than his un-named wife.

The original records are held by The National Archives, Kew, London.