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Police Sergeant in Middlesborough and later Chief Constable of Leicester, Chesterfield, and Birmingham where amongst other things, he was involved in a Jack the Ripper hoax and the Ledsam Street dynamite conspiracy.



Joseph Farndale
27 April 1842 to 8 August 1901

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Joseph Farndale probably from his time with the Leicester Police Force (kindly provided by the West Midlands Police Museum).





I would like to thank Samantha Malkin who put me right on a number of points regarding Joseph and his nephew Joseph (FAR00463) who was also a Chief Constable.


I would also like to thank the West Midlands Police Museum for the information that they have provided and you will find more information about the Birmingham Police on their website.





Joseph Farndale was born at Newholm, Whitby District, on 27 April 1842 (GRO Vol 24 page 514, Whitby PR & IGI). Joseph Farndale was the son of John Farndale a labourer of Ewecote, Newholm, Whitby and Margaret Farndale formerly Dowson, (FAR00262). He was baptised on 4 May 1842. 




In the Census of 1851 for Eskdaleside, John Farndale, head; ages 32; agricultural labourer; born Newholm in 1818 lived with his wife Margaret Farndale, aged 31; born Newholm in 1820 and their children, Thomas Farndale, 11; scholar, born Newholm in 1839 (FAR00344); and Joseph Farndale, 8.



By 1861, Joseph Farndale was employed as a drainer in the country south of Whitby.


In the Census of 1861 for Bottons Buildings, Eskdaleside, John Farndale, head; 43; waggoner; lived with his wife Margaret Farndale, 41; and their son Joseph Farndale, 19; who was a drainer. Also in the 1861 Census was an entry for Joseph Farndale was now boarding with the Paget family, a drainer, unmarried, aged 21, at Hawsker cum Stainsacre, Whitby. Although the ages differ, it looks like Joseph was in different places when the census called for statistics at the two different locations. Eskdaleside is about 3km southwest of Whitby and Hawkser is close by, nearer to the coast, about 2km south of Whitby.


A story was later told that when Joseph was working as a farmhand, he was driving the plough one weary day when his employer came up, and farmer like, complained of his work. Young Farndale had a vigorous and independent spirit and was pining for a more active and satisfying field of labour, and throwing down what he had in his hand he said he would go off and be a policeman.


Middlesbrough Police, 1862 to 1869




By 1862, Joseph Farndale was a police constable with the Middlesbrough Police Force.


In the Stockton Herald, South Durham and Cleveland Advertiser, on 18 July 1862: Middlesbrough Police News, Monday July 14th before J Richardson, E Gilkes, and H Thompson Esqrs: Disorderlies. George Robinson was charged with using foul and disgraceful language to PC Farndale on Saturday night last, and also allowing his ferocious dog to go at large unmuzzled. Fined 20s or 28 days imprisonment.


In the Stockton Herald, South Durham and Cleveland Advertiser, on 29 August 1862: Middlesbrough Police News: Disorderlies. William Reilly was charged by PC Farndale with being drunk and riotous on Saturday evening, in Durham Street. Fined 10s, including costs, or 14 days to Northallerton.


The Yorkshire Archives have a lot of records of Joseph’s activity as a Police Constable, rising to inspector, in Middlesbrough between 1862 and 1869.


Recognizance made by Edward Joseph Saggerson of the borough of Middlesbrough superintendent of police for his appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to prefer a bill of indictment against George Doughty late of the borough of Middlesbrough shoemaker for stealing an overcoat, the property of Joseph Jobling - Recognizance made by Joseph Jobling tailor, Peter Hanlan puddler, Joseph Farndale police constable, and George Hopper, sergeant of police, for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against George Doughty. Date 16 Dec 1862 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1863 1/7/19, Catalogued)

Recognizance dated 16 December 1862 made by Edward Joseph Saggerson of the borough of Middlesbrough superintendent of police for his appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to prefer a bill of indictment against William Lancaster late of the borough of Middlesbrough for getting meat and drink by false pretences from Hannah Allen wife of Andrew Allan of the borough of Middlesbrough provision dealer - Recognizance dated 16 December 1862 made by John Rush contractor and Joseph Farndale police constable, both of the borough of Middlesbrough for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against William Lancaster - Recognizance dated 18 December 1862 made by Andrew Allen of the borough of Middlesbrough provision dealer for the appearance of Hannah Allan his wife at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against William Lancaster, dated 16-18 Dec 1862 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1863 1/7/20, Catalogued).

Depositions of Bridget Riley wife of William Riley beer house keeper, the said William Riley, Joseph Farndale police constable, and Joseph Ryan labourer, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, witnesses in the case against Margaret Rush of the borough of Middlesbrough singlewoman - Statement of Margaret Rush, the accused - With separate cover sheet – Dated 6 Nov 1862 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1863 1/8/3 Catalogued).

Depositions of Joseph Jobling tailor, Peter Haulan iron puddler, Joseph Farndale police constable, and George Hopper police sergeant, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, witnesses in the case against George Doughty of the borough of Middlesbrough shoemaker - Statement of George Doughty, the accused - With separate cover sheet – Dated 16 Dec 1862 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1863 1/8/19 Catalogued).

Depositions of Hannah Allen wife of Andrew Allen provision dealer, John Rush contractor, and Joseph Farndale police constable, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, witnesses in the case against William Lancaster of the borough of Middlesbrough - Statement of William Lancaster, the accused - With separate cover sheet – Dated 16 Dec 1862 (Yorkshire Archives Document reference QSB 1863 1/8/20, Catalogued).

Summary conviction of Patrick Feenan of the borough of Middlesbrough labourer for being drunk and riotous in Durham Street; on the complaint of Joseph Farndale of the borough of Middlesbrough police constable - Offence committed at the borough of Middlesbrough on 3 July 1862 - Case heard at the borough of Middlesbrough – Dated 7 Jul 1862 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1863 1/10/14/39, Catalogued).

Summary conviction of Patrick Corner of the borough of Middlesbrough labourer for being drunk and riotous in South Street; on the complaint of Joseph Farndale of the borough of Middlesbrough police constable - Offence committed at the borough of Middlesbrough on 12 July 1862 - Case heard at the borough of Middlesbrough – Dated 14 Jul 1862 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1863 1/10/14/50, Catalogued).

Summary conviction of Patrick Corner of the borough of Middlesbrough labourer for assaulting Joseph Farndale one of the constables for the borough of Middlesbrough in the execution of his duty; on the complaint of the said Joseph Farndale - Offence committed at the borough of Middlesbrough on 12 July 1862 - Case heard at the borough of Middlesbrough – Dated 14 Jul 1862 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1863 1/10/14/51, Catalogued).

Summary conviction of Mary Forbes of the borough of Middlesbrough for being drunk and riotous in Stockton Street; on the complaint of Joseph Farndale of the borough of Middlesbrough police constable - Offence committed at the borough of Middlesbrough on 26 July 1862 - Case heard at the borough of Middlesbrough – Dated 28 Jul 1862 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1863 1/10/14/63, Catalogued).

Summary conviction of Patrick Garner of the borough of Middlesbrough labourer for being drunk and riotous in Durham Street; on the complaint of Joseph Farndale of the borough of Middlesbrough police constable - Offence committed at the borough of Middlesbrough on 10 August 1862 - Case heard at the borough of Middlesbrough – Dated 23 Aug 1862 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1863 1/10/14/96, Catalogued).

Summary conviction of William Riley of the borough of Middlesbrough labourer for being drunk and riotous in East Street; on the complaint of Joseph Farndale of the borough of Middlesbrough police constable - Offence committed at the borough of Middlesbrough on 23 August 1862 - Case heard at the borough of Middlesbrough – Dated 25 Aug 1862 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1863 1/10/14/102, Catalogued).

Summary conviction of George Robinson of the borough of Middlesbrough shopkeeper for using abusive and insulting words and behaviour to Joseph Farndale of the borough of Middlesbrough police constable with intent to provoke a breach of the peace - Offence committed at the borough of Middlesbrough on 7 July 1862 - Case heard at the borough of Middlesbrough – Dated 14 Jul 1862 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1863 2/10/13/7, Catalogued).

Summary conviction of Francis Goodrick of the borough of Middlesbrough brewer for assaulting Joseph Farndale one of the constables for the borough of Middlesbrough in the execution of his duty - Offence committed at the borough of Middlesbrough on 30 October 1862 - Case heard at the borough of Middlesbrough – dated 30 Oct 1862 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1863 2/10/13/58, Catalogued).



The Stockton Herald, South Durham and Cleveland Advertiser, on 24 April 1863 reported: Middlesbrough Police News.  STEALING BOOTS – Edward M’Quinnal, of Stockton, was charged by John Conner with stealing a pair of boots from his stall in the market on Saturday night last. Prosecutor stated that at 10 o’clock he saw them safe, and shortly afterwards saw prisoner about his stall, and while he was engaged with his back to him, prisoner had gone away, and he (Conner), missed a pair of boots. He followed after prisoner, and in about twenty yards overtook him and asked if he had got a pair of boots from the stall, at the same time taking him by the collar, and saying he would give him in charge of the police. Prisoner said what boots, and dropped them to the ground. He called on PC Fandall [sic] to take him on the charge. Their value were 7s 6d. Committed to Northallerton for one month of hard labour.


The Stockton Herald, South Durham and Cleveland Advertiser, on 24 July 1863 reported: Middlesbrough Police News. DISORDERLIES – Stephen Weatley was charged by PC Farndale with being drunk and committing a nuisance at Stockton Street on Sunday night. Fined 10s including expenses, or in default, seven days’ imprisonment at Northallerton.


The York Herald, on 3 October 1863 reported Police Court, Middlesbrough on Tees: John Dooley, shoemaker, was charged with having been drunk and riotous in Dacre Street, on 26th inst. Fined 10s. Isabella Dooley, wife of the previous defendant, was charged with having been drunk, and with having assaulted policeman Farndale in the execution of his duty at the time and place above mentioned. Fine £1, but in default of payment was committed to the House of Correction for 28 days.


The York Herald, on 7 November 1863 reported: Police Court, Middlesbrough on Tees: Jane Hamilton Sparke, aged nine years, was charged by Policeman Farndale, with having been picking pockets in the Market place, on the 31st ult. The officer, who was on duty in plain clothes, caught the juvenile thief in the act of picking a woman’s pocket, and immediately took her into custody. In consequence of the tenderness of years, the magistrates committed the prisoner to the York Industrial School for five years.


The Stockton Herald, South Durham and Cleveland Advertiser, on 24 July 1863 reported: Middlesbrough Police News, Monday December 7th. DISORDERLIES – Edward Gartlin was charged by PC Farndale with being drunk and fighting in Newcastle Row on Saturday night last. Disharged on payment of 5s 6d costs.


The Stockton Herald, South Durham and Cleveland Advertiser, on 8 December 1863 reported: Middlesbrough Police News, Monday, April 4th. DISORDERLIES – Thomas Connolly was charged by PC Farndale with being drunk and riotous in Stockton Street on the 28th. Ordered to pay 5s 6d costs.


Recognizance made by Edward Joseph Saggerson of the borough of Middlesbrough superintendent of police for his appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to prefer a bill of indictment against John Ferguson late of the borough of Middlesbrough for stealing eight yards of flannel from the person of William Shaw - Recognizance made by William Shaw of Tees Tilery in the parish of Normanby platelayer, David Brown moulder and Joseph Farndale police constable, both of the borough of Middlesbrough, for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against John Ferguson – Dated 26 Dec 1863 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1864 1/7/22, Catalogued).

Depositions of William Shaw of Tees Tilery in the parish of Normanby platelayer, David Brown moulder and Joseph Farndale police constable, both of the borough of Middlesbrough, witnesses in the case against John Ferguson Statement of John Ferguson, the accused With separate cover sheet Dated 26 Dec 1863 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1864 1/8/22, Catalogued).

Summary conviction of Isabella Dooley of the borough of Middlesbrough for assaulting Joseph Farndale of the borough of Middlesbrough one of the constables for the borough in the execution of his duty - Offence committed at the borough of Middlesbrough on 25 September 1863 - Case heard at the borough of Middlesbrough – Dated 26 Sep 1863 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1864 3/10/11/66, Catalogued).



The Stockton Herald, South Durham and Cleveland Advertiser, on 4 April 1864 reported: Middlesbrough Police News, Monday December 7th. AGGRAVATED OFFENCE – John Melone, a youth twenty years of age, was charged with being drunk and riotous in Danby Place, and with assaulting William Spence, PC Farndale and Inspector Bowes. It appeared he had misbehaved himself in a house, when a cry was raised for a policeman and William pence going into the house turned him out. He struck, kicked and drew his knife, and while the police officers were taking him to the lock up he was very violent. For being drunk and riotous he was fined 10s or go to prison 14 days; for assaulting Spence he was fined 20s and in default one moth’s imprisonment; and for the assault on the policeman 10s for each offence, or 14 days.


By July 1864, Joseph Farndale had been promoted to Police Sergeant.


The York Herald, on 15 July 1864 reported: MIDDLESBROUGH POLICE NEWS, Monday July 11th Before E Gilkes (Mayor), J Richardson and HWF Bolckow Esqrs. Felony – Elizabeth Mulligan was charged with having stolen two pounds and a half of mutton from the stall of Geo. Milner in the Butcher’s Market on Saturday night last. Complainant said he was a butcher, and had a stall in the market, and on Saturday night, whilst he was serving some customers, defendant came up. He had his back to the defendant, and after she had left the stall he missed the mutton. Complainant immediately followed, and found it under her shawl. He valued it as 1s 8d. Sergt Farndale said he saw the prisoner on Saturday night, when she said she had taken a glass of drink, or else would not have taken the meat. She had only 8 1/2d in her possession. Committed for 21 days hard labour at Northallerton.


The York Herald, on 16 July 1864 reported: MIDDLESBROUGH. STEALING MUTTON – At the borough court, on Monday, Elizabeth Mullighan, married woman, was charged by George Milner, butcher, with stealing 2 ½ lbs of mutton, value 1s 8d, from his stall in the market, on the night of the 9th inst. Prisoner went up to the stall, and after handling some meat, was seen to put the piece of mutton under her arm. She was charged with the theft, when she ran away, but Sergeant Farndale, who was close by, succeeded in capturing her. In defence, prisoner pleaded that she would not have stolen the mutton if she had not been in drink. Committed to Northallerton for twenty one days’ hard labour.


Recognizance dated 22 February 1864 made by Edward Joseph Saggerson of the borough of Middlesbrough superintendent of police for his appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to prefer a bill of indictment against Thomas Eeles for stealing a bottle of rum, a bottle of whisky, and two packages of tobacco, the property of Warley Pickering his master; and against Thomas Stevenson and James Smith for receiving the goods knowing them to have been stolen -Recognizance dated 22 February 1864 made by Warley Pickering grocer and provision dealer, William Mellanby grocer's apprentice, Charles Bowes inspector of police, and Joseph Farndale police constable, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against Thomas Eeles, Thomas Stevenson and James Smith - Recognizance dated 22 April 1864 made by Thomas Eeles miller and George Weastell miller, both of Stockton on Tees in county Durham, for the appearance of Thomas Eeles the younger at the next Quarter Sessions to answer the charge against him Dated Feb-Apr 1864 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1864 3/7/1, Catalogued).

Depositions of Warley Pickering grocer and provision dealer, William Mellanby grocer's apprentice, Charles Bowes inspector of police, and Joseph Farndale police constable, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, witnesses in the case against Thomas Eeles, Thomas Stevenson and James Smith - Statement of Thomas Eeles, one of the accused - Statement of Thomas Stephenson, one of the accused - Statement of James Smith, one of the accused - With separate cover sheet – Dated 22 Feb 1864 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1864 3/8/1, Catalogued).

Summary conviction of James Massey of the borough of Middlesbrough labourer for assaulting Joseph Farndale one of the constables for the borough of Middlesbrough in the execution of his duty - Offence committed at the borough of Middlesbrough on 21 February 1864 - Case heard at the borough of Middlesbrough – Dated 22 Feb 1864 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1864 3/10/11/204, Catalogued).



The Stockton Herald, South Durham and Cleveland Advertiser, 1865 reported: Middlesbrough Police News, Monday December 7th HAWKING WITHOUT LICENCE – James Todd was charged by Sergeant Farndale with hawking pots without a licence at Port Darlington on Monday last. Committed fourteen days hard labour.


Joseph Farndale of full age, Police Sergeant of Middlesbrough, son of John Farndale, farmer married Jane Newton of full age, a spinster of Middlesbrough daughter of John Newton a coachman at the Parish Church Middlesbrough, on 6 November 1865. Joseph was 23 when he married.



By November 1867 Joseph Farndale was a police inspector.


Joseph Farndale acted on a couple of occasions in the role of ‘timekeeper’:


Recognizance made by Edward Joseph Saggerson of the borough of Middlesbrough superintendent of police for his appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to prefer a bill of indictment against David Lewis late of the borough of Middlesbrough for obtaining soup, beef and pork value 7s 8d from Mary Lloyd by false pretences, and for obtaining beer and pies value £1 4s from Mary Jane Knott by false pretences - Recognizance made by Mary Lloyd eating house keeper, Matthew Barker police sergeant, Mary Jane Knott wife of Robert Knott beer house keeper Joseph Farndale timekeeper, and Robert Thorpe police inspector, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against David Lewis late of the borough of Middlesbrough puddler – Dated 24 Jan 1867 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1867 2/7/8, Catalogued).

Depositions of Mary Lloyd eating house keeper, Matthew Barker police constable, Mary Jane Knott wife of Robert Knott beer house keeper, Joseph Farndale timekeeper, and Robert Thorpe police inspector, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, witnesses in the case against David Lewis of the borough of Middlesbrough puddler - Statement of David Lewis, the accused - With separate cover sheet – Dated 24 January 1867 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1867 2/8/8, Catalogued).

He was then regularly giving evidence as an Inspector:

Recognizance made by Edward Joseph Saggerson of the borough of Middlesbrough superintendent of police for his appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to prefer a bill of indictment against Elizabeth Henderson late of the borough of Middlesbrough for fraudulently converting to her own use a flock bed, a mattress, a pair of sheets, and a quilt belonging to William Bryant, of which she was bailee - Recognizance made by William Bryant lodging house keeper, Mary Elizabeth Worthy pawnbroker's assistant, John Connell shoemaker, Thomas Temple police sergeant, and Joseph Farndale police inspector, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against Elizabeth Henderson – Dated 12 August 1867 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1867 4/7/13, Catalogued).

Depositions of William Bryant lodging house keeper, Mary Elizabeth Worthy pawnbroker's assistant, John Connell shoemaker, Thomas Temple police sergeant, and Joseph Farndale police inspector, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, witnesses in the case against Elizabeth Henderson of the borough of Middlesbrough married woman - Statement of Elizabeth Henderson, the accused - With separate cover sheet – Dated 12 August 1867 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1867 4/8/13, Catalogued).

Recognizance made by Edward Joseph Saggerson of the borough of Middlesbrough superintendent of police for his appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to prefer a bill of indictment against John Kelly of the borough of Middlesbrough for obtaining four pairs of boots and a pair of slippers from Edwin Thomas Foster Huskinson by false pretences - Recognizance made by Edwin Thomas Foster Huskinson shoe dealer, Mary Taylor wife of Thomas Taylor beer house keeper, John Connell shoemaker, Mary Haston wife of Henry Haston beer house keeper, and Joseph Farndale police inspector, all of Middlesbrough, for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against John Kelly of the borough of Middlesbrough hatter – Dated 28 October 1867 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1868 1/7/2, Catalogued).

Depositions of Edwin Thomas Foster Huskinson shoe dealer, Mary Taylor wife of Thomas Taylor beer house keeper, John Connell shoemaker, Mary Haston wife of Henry Haston beer house keeper, and Joseph Farndale police inspector, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, witnesses in the case against John Kelly of the borough of Middlesbrough hatter Statement of John Kelly, the accused With separate cover sheet Dated 12 October 1867 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1868 1/8/2, Catalogued).

The York Herald, on 2 November 1867 reported: Middlesbrough. SUDDEN DEATH OF A CHILD – On Tuesday last an inquest was heard before T C Sowerby Esq, deputy coroner, on view of the body of Michael Brannan, a child seven weeks old. Ann Murray said she lived next door to Mrs Brannan, and about half past seven on Monday morning she was called in to see the child, which was lying in a cradle quiet, dead, but warm. Dr Dickenson deposed that he made a post mortem examination of the body of the deceased and from the internal appearance he was convinced that it had been suffocated. The coroner stated that about a year ago he held an inquest on the body of another of Brannan’s children who had died in a similar manner, and he had ordered a post mortem examination to see if there had been foul play. There was no evidence to show that there had. Inspector Farndale had made inquiries round about the neighbourhood relative to the death of the deceased. Verdict: “Died from suffocation, though by what means there is not sufficient evidence to show.”




The Northern Weekly Gazette, on 13 March 1868 reported on MIDNIGHT DOINGS AT MIDDLESBROUGH … Inspector Farndale: On Sunday, 23rd February, Thomas Wild came to me about seven in the morning. He said he had been assaulted the night previous. I asked him what time; he said he could not say exactly. I asked him if he knew any of them. He said he didn’t, nor could he give any description. He was going to see Carter, who, he believed was sober, and he would know who did it.


The Northern Weekly Gazette, 22 May 1868 reported on ANOTHER BEERHOUSE OFFENCE – William Shaw, beerhouse-keeper, was charged by Superintendent Saggerson with permitting several persons to play at dice for money in his house, in Wilson Street, on the 16th inst, Inspector Farndale and John Pickerill proved this charge. Fined 9s. and ANOTHER BEERHOUSE OFFENCE – Joseph Quigley was charged by Superintendent Saggerson with permitting violent, disorderly and quarrelsome conduct upon his premises on the 16th inst. Inspector Farndale proved this case, and defendant was fined 15s.


By September 1868, Joseph was interviewing for a Police Superintendent (Chief Constable) role, with Durham police, and getting himself short listed.


The York Herald, on 5 September 1868 reported: Durham. THE SUPERINTENDANT OF DURHAM POLICE FORCE. Last night week, the adjourned meeting of the City of Durham Watch Committee was held in the Mayor’s Chamber, Guildhall (the Mayor Presiding), to consider the testimonials of ten candidates for the office of superintendent of police selected at last meeting. Shortly after the business commenced, a deputation, consisting of Mr Joseph Taylor, publican, and Mr Dawson, painter, was introduced to present a memorial, numerously signed by the inhabitants, praying that the committee would allow Superintendent Beard to withdraw his resignation. The memorial received, and the committee proceeded to select five candidates from the ten already retained. The following is a list of those retained: Inspector Farndale, Middlesbrough; Supt Jas Jarvis, Aylesbury; Inspector John Shields, City of York; Sergeant Woodward, Durham County Constabulary; and Inspector Wilson, Salford. The meeting then adjourned until Thursday. The Shields Daily Gazette on 4 September 1868 reported that “Each candidate was afforded a personal interview with the Watch Committee, and after some consideration they were called in and informed that the choice of the committee had fallen on Inspector Wilson, of Salford.”


The Northern Weekly Gazette, on 11 September 1868 reported DRINK – Martin Folery, labourer, was charged by Inspector Farndale with being drunk and riotous at Feversham Street


Recognizance made by Edward Joseph Saggerson of the borough of Middlesbrough superintendent of police for his appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to prefer a bill of indictment against Leonard Mudd of the borough of Middlesbrough joiner for inflicting grievous bodily harm on John Carter of the borough of Middlesbrough bricklayer - Recognizance made by John Carter bricklayer and Thomas Wild bricklayer, both of the borough of Middlesbrough, Henry Page of North Ormesby fitter, Robert Skelton police inspector, William Godfrey innkeeper, John Hedley surgeon, Robert Wright plater, Andrew Sample police sergeant, John Robinson police constable, and Joseph Farndale police inspector, all of Middlesbrough, for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against Leonard Mudd - Recognizance made by Leonard Mudd joiner, Joseph Gowing builder, and William Wake butcher, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, for the appearance of Mudd at the next Quarter Sessions to answer a charge against him – Dated 9 March 1868 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1868 2/7/13, Catalogued).

Depositions of John Carter bricklayer and Thomas Wild bricklayer, both of the borough of Middlesbrough, Henry Page of North Ormesby fitter, and Robert Skelton police inspector, William Godfrey innkeeper, John Hedley surgeon, Robert Wright plater, Andrew Sample police sergeant, John Robinson police constable, and Joseph Farndale police inspector, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, witnesses for the prosecution and the defence in the case against Leonard Mudd of the borough of Middlesbrough joiner Statement of Leonard Mudd, the accused With separate cover sheet Dated 9 Mar 1868 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1868 2/8/12, Catalogued).

Recognizance made by Edward Joseph Saggerson of the borough of Middlesbrough superintendent of police for his appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to prefer a bill of indictment against Emma Brunton of the borough of Middlesbrough for stealing a piece of mutton value 1s 4d, the property of John Dodds of the borough of Middlesbrough butcher - Recognizance made by John Dodds butcher, George Waller butcher, and Joseph Farndale police inspector, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against Emma Brunton of the borough of Middlesbrough married woman – Dated 12 Oct 1868 (Yorkshire Archives Document reference QSB 1868 4/7/31 Catalogued).

Recognizance made by Edward Joseph Saggerson of the borough of Middlesbrough superintendent of police for his appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to prefer a bill of indictment against Jane Appleton of the borough of Middlesbrough for stealing two gold rings value £1 5s, the property of Matthew George Collingwood of the borough of Middlesbrough silversmith Recognizance made by Matthew George Collingwood silversmith and Joseph Farndale police inspector, both of the borough of Middlesbrough, for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against Jane Appleton of the borough of Middlesbrough married woman Dated 17 Oct 1868 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1868 4/7/35 Catalogued).

Depositions of John Dodds butcher, George Waller butcher, and Joseph Farndale police inspector, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, witnesses in the case against Emma Brunton of the borough of Middlesbrough married woman - Request for Emma Brunton to give her consent to be tried summarily - Statement of Emma Brunton, the accused - With separate cover sheet – Dated 12 Oct 1868 (Yorkshire Archioves, Document reference        QSB 1868 4/8/32 Catalogued).

Evidence in the case against Jane Appleton of Middlesbrough Description Depositions of Matthew George Collingwood silversmith and Joseph Farndale police inspector, both of Middlesbrough, witnesses in the case against Jane Appleton of the borough of Middlesbrough married woman Statement of Jane Appleton, the accused With separate cover sheet Dated 17 Oct 1868 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1868 4/8/36 Catalogued).

Summary conviction of Peter Browningham of the borough of Middlesbrough puddler for assaulting Joseph Farndale one of the constables for the borough of Middlesbrough in the execution of his duty Offence committed at the borough of Middlesbrough on 9 August 1868 Case heard at the borough of Middlesbrough Dates 10 Aug 1868 (Yorkshire Archives Document reference QSB 1868 4/10/13/143 Catalogued).

Joseph and Jane Farndale had their only child, John William Farndale (FAR00472), born on 13 November 1868 in Middlesbrough and baptised ast St John, Middlesbrough on 1 December 1868 .




Recognizance made by Edward Joseph Saggerson of the borough of Middlesbrough superintendent of police for his appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to prefer a bill of indictment against George Williams of the borough of Middlesbrough for obtaining 5s by false pretences from George Hearse of the borough of Middlesbrough beer house keeper - Recognizance made by George Hearse beer house keeper and Joseph Farndale police inspector, both of the borough of Middlesbrough, for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against George Williams of the borough of Middlesbrough groom Dated 11 Jan 1869 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1869 2/7/3, Catalogued)


Recognizance made by Edward Joseph Saggerson of the borough of Middlesbrough superintendent of police for his appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to prefer a bill of indictment against George Williams of the borough of Middlesbrough for obtaining 6d by false pretences from Edward Cooper of the borough of Middlesbrough bill poster Recognizance made by Edward Cooper bill poster and Joseph Farndale police inspector, both of the borough of Middlesbrough, for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against George Williams of the borough of Middlesbrough groom Dated 11 Jan 1869 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1869 2/7/4, Catalogued).

Recognizance made by Edward Joseph Saggerson of the borough of Middlesbrough superintendent of police for his appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to prefer a bill of indictment against Mary Thompson of the borough of Middlesbrough for fraudulently converting to her own use three woollen shirts belonging to John Mayn and Samuel Rowley Forrester of the borough of Middlesbrough drapers Recognizance made by John Mayn draper, William Harrison pawnbroker's assistant, and Joseph Farndale police inspector, all of Middlesbrough, for their appearance at the next Quarter Sessions to give evidence in the case against Mary Thompson Dated 25 Jan 1869 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1869 2/7/8, Catalogued).

Depositions of George Hearse beer house keeper, Joseph Farndale police inspector, and Edward Joseph Saggerson chief superintendent of police, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, witnesses in the case against George Williams of the borough of Middlesbrough groom Statement of George Williams, the accused With separate cover sheet Dated 11 Jan 1869 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1869 2/8/3, Catalogued).

Depositions of Edward Cooper bill poster, Joseph Farndale police inspector, and Edward Joseph Saggerson chief superintendent of police, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, witnesses in the case against George Williams of the borough of Middlesbrough groom Statement of George Williams, the accused With separate cover sheet dated 11 Jan 1869 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1869 2/8/4, Catalogued).

Depositions of John Mayn draper, William Harrison pawnbroker's assistant, and Joseph Farndale police inspector, all of the borough of Middlesbrough, witnesses in the case against Mary Thompson of the borough of Middlesbrough widow Statement of Mary Thompson widow, the accused With separate cover sheet dated 25 Jan 1869 (Yorkshire Archives, Document reference QSB 1869 2/8/8, Catalogued).

Chief Constable of Chesterfield Police, 1869 to 1871


In 1869, Joseph Farndale became a Chief Superintendent, with a move to the Chesterfield Borough Force:


The Derbyshire Times, 29 May 1869: reported: On Tuesday the members of the Corporation met for the purpose of choosing a Superintendent for the Borough Police in place of Mr Stevens, who had retired. There were fifteen members of the Corporation present, but the press being excluded, we are unable to give their names. Five persons had been selected from the list of applicants, and the Council first proceeded to vote for four out of the five when the votes stood as follows:


13 – Farndale, Middlesbro’

13 – Shields, York

8 – Jones, Salford

7 – Else, Chesterfield

0 – Leonard


The two lowest were struck out, and the Council voted for two out of three s follows:


Farndale – 11

Shields – 10

Jones – 2


The contest then lay between Farndale and Shields, and the final vote stood as follows:


Farndale – 8

Shields – 7


Mr Farndale, of Middlesbro’, was then declared elected and the meeting broke up.


The Guardian, on Thursday 27 May 1869 reported: Mr Farndale, late an inspector in the Middlesbury (sic, recte Middlesbrough) police, has been appointed superintendent of the Chesterfield Force.


In doing so, he became the Chief Constable, again succeeding Mr Stephens. The York Herald, on 29 May 1869 reported: THE POLICE INSPECTOR – Mr Farndale, inspector of the Middlesbro’ police force, has been appointed chief constable of Chesterfield, as successor to Mr Stephens, now superintendent of Rochdale force. The Richmond & Ripon Chronicle, on 29 May 1869: On Tuesday last Mr Farndale inspector of the Middlesborough police force was appointed chief constable of Chesterfield. Inspector Detective Shiels of the York Police Force was a candidate for the vacancy, but lost the appointment by only one vote. The Derbyshire Courier, on 5 June 1869: THE NEW SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE. Mr Farndale, formerly inspector of the Middlesbro’ police, arrived in Chesterfield on Monday last, and commenced his new duties as superintendent of police for this borough. We earnestly wish him success in his new office. The following appeared in a Middlesbro’ paper: On Tuesday last Inspector Farndale of the Middlesbro’ Police force, was appointed Chief Superintendent of Police for the borough of Chesterfield, Between seven and eight years ago, Mr Farndale, when scarcely twenty years of age, entered the Middlesbro’ force as a constable. Under Chief Superintendent Saggerson he has been gradually promoted through various stages to the position of Inspector – the duties of which he has satisfactorily discharged for some time,. By his gentlemanly manners and thorough efficiency as an officer, Mr Farndale has gained the respect of all classes at Middlesbro’; and we have no doubt he will fill the responsible office to which he has been elected with credit to himself and advantage to the community along whom he is placed. It speaks well for our police force that Mr Farndale has been selected out of a number of applicants; and that on two previous occasions of a similar nature he stood second in regard to votes.


A History of the Chesterfield Police from an article in the Derbyshire Courier, on 28 February 1914:


Reminisces of the Chesterfield Borough Police Force


from information bearing on the time preserved in a book in the possession of the present Chief Constable. In this record the first pay book of the organised force - it is proved that although the Act only came into force on January 1st 1836 the Town Council had formed a force equal to the needs of the town six days later. The date, therefore, shows that the borough force is the oldest in the county, if not in the kingdom.


The first chief constable was a Mr Samuel Hollingworth, and when appointed he had to act also as borough accountant, rate collector, sanitary inspector, market tolls collector, and also crimes investigator for the whole county of Derby. Eighty years ago the population was under 6,000, with about 1,300 houses, against 8,000 houses and 38,000 inhabitants in 1914. The strength of the present forces 51.


Mr Hollingworth's remuneration as chief constable was £30 per annum. His inspector was Mr C Cotterill, and the first constables were...


The first mention of the fire brigade is in the books in 1839, when Mr Galley, the engineer, was paid 5s for ‘playing the engines’’....


In 1852 the local police superannuation fund was established and in the first quarter's pay months totaled £3 15s 2d.


The list of chief constables of the borough is as follows: Mr Samuel Hollingworth (1836-1846); Mr. James R Radford (1846-1864); Mr Samuel Stevens (1864-1869; Mr Joseph Farndale (1869-1871); Mr Thomas Horne (1871-1876); Mr. John P Else (1876 – 1882); Mr Edward Emery (1882 to 1900); and Mr Robert Kilpatrick (1900).


David Mitchell contacted me in December 2023 as follows: Thomas Horne was an Inspector with Middlesbrough Constabulary where he worked with Joseph Farndale. In 1869 Thomas Horne briefly moved to Cardiff as the Deputy Superintendent of Police before moving to Chesterfield Constabulary and becoming the Head Constable, replacing Joseph Farndale when he moved to become Head Constable at Leicester Constabulary. It is likely Joseph told Thomas about the role as they knew each other from their time at Middlesborough (and quite possibly even recommended him). Thomas Horne remained at Chesterfield until his resignation in 1876.


The Derbyshire Times, 26 June 1869 reported: PRESENTATION TO SUPERINTENDENT FARNDALE.  We have much pleasure in noting that Mr Farndale, the recently appointed chief Superintendent of the Chesterfield borough force, has been presented by the Middlesborough Police Force and a few friends, with a handsome gold watch bearing the following inscription: “Presented to Inspector Farndale by the Middlesborough Police Force and a few friends, as a mark of respect, on leaving to take command of the Chesterfield constabulary – June 9, 1869”.


Joseph quickly got down to business and The Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 13 July 1869 reported: ANOTHER ROBBERY – Margaret Daley, a prostitute, was charged with stealing from the person of one George Dove 35s on the 11th inst at Chesterfield. Superintendent Farndale asked for remand in this case also until today (Tuesday), which was granted.


The Derbyshire Times, on 14 July 1869 reported: Before the rising of the Court, Supt Farndale of the Borough Police addressing the Bench said he was sorry he was not in attendance when the two little girls were tried for stealing a pocket handkerchief, but from the remarks which had fallen from the Bench, it was necessary that he should make some explanation. On Tuesday night Mr Robinson, surgeon, sent for an officer and handed the two little girls into custody, for picking the woman Yeoman’s pocket. He said he was in his surgery and saw them work around the woman and one got the handkerchief and handed it to the other girl, who worked it round her foot and afterwards concealed it. When they had got some distance they stopped to examine it and they then went away. He (Mr Farndale) went to see Mr Robinson about the matter, and he said from the way in which the little girls took the handkerchief he had no doubt they were expert pickpockets. As there had been several complaints of parties having handkerchiefs stolen, and only on Saturday last a woman had her handkerchief which had a sovereign in it, taken, he thought he might have dropped upon the guilty parties; but had he been aware that the woman was in the habit of playing with the children he should have taken a different course in the case. The Derbyshire Courier, on 17 July 1869 reported … Superintendent Farndale explained to the bench with reference to the little girls charged with picking a pocket of a handkerchief, that it was in consequence of Dr Robison informing him that he had seen the girls working around the prosecutrix in the manner of professional pickpockets


There are a large number of similar articles in 1869 not all repeated here.


The Derbyshire Times, on 7 August 1869 recorded the Chief Constable’s Annual Report:


Head Constable Office, 2nd Aug 1869




GENTLEMEN. I have to report that during the quarter ending 31st July, 87 persons were taken into custody by the police, and 12 summoned; of those, 5 were committed for trial, 79 summarily convicted, and 15 discharged.


The police force was inspected by Captain Egee, her Majesty’s inspector of Constabularies for the Northern District, on the 23rd ult. He suggested some alterations in the books, that an officer should always be in charge of the police office, and strongly recommended that a lock up should be built.


In consequence of so many robberies taking place in brothels, I felt it my duty to lay informations against several of the occupiers, and on the 13th of July last Thomas Sims and Elizabeth Nichols, Cross Keys Passage, and Ann Dickin, Wheeldon lane were committed to take their tral at the next quarter Sessions. Since then the number of offences and disorderly houses have greatly diminished.


In conclusion I beg to state that since my appointment the members of the force have been attentive and active in the discharge of their various duties.


I have the honour to be, Gentlemen

Your most obedient servant

JOSEPH FARNDALE, Head constable


On 3 August 1869, the Sanitary Inspectors’ Report was read as follows:




GENTLEMEN. I beg respectfully to inform you that during the past quarter I have inspected forty six nuisances as entered in the presentment and report books, most of which have been removed as soon as possible after official notices have been given, but there are a few cases not yet remedied and to enforce which I shall take legal proceedings.


Since the last quarterly meeting the Sanitary Committee have held six meetings (the ordinary and three special) they have selected a very eligible and convenient site for the erection of slaughter houses, which was confirmed by the Council at a special meeting held on the 5th ult. Since then the plans have been approved, contracts entered into, and the work is progressing satisfactorily, ad will be completed in a few months, when slaughtering in the shambles and probably some other places will be discontinued.


I have the honour to be, Gentlemen

Your most obedient servant

JOSEPH FARNDALE, Sanitary Inspector


In the Derbyshire Chronicle on 1 and 4 September 1869, there were a lot of articles relating to the “Black List” and to beer houses including:


John Andrew, Old Fountain In, applied for a renewal of his licence but was objected to by Chief Superintendent Farndale, on the ground that his spirit licence was stopped two years ago – Licence refused.


Thomas Gilliatt, Wheat Sheaf, Packer’s Row, Chief Superintendent Farndale said this applicant had been summoned for refusing the billet soldiers in August 1867. Granted.


John Silcock, Princes Concert Room, Wheeldon Lane was opposed by Chief Superintendent Farndale on the ground that he harboured improper characters. Evidence was given that the applicant harboured prostitutes and thieves. Refused.


John Spowage, Cross Keys, Knifesmith gate, was opposed by Chief Superintendent Farndale, on the ground that he had been convicted in 1868, and also that he harboured improper characters. Refused.


By July 1869, he was reported in the public offices of Billet Master, Inspector of Nuisances, Inspector and Registrar of Lodging Houses and Superintendent of Borough Police (Derbyshire Courier, 3 July 1869)


By August 1869, he had been given the office of Inspector and Registrar of Lodging Houses (Derbyshire Courier, 7 August 1869).


By 6 November 1869, Joseph Farndale had the civic titles in Chesterfield of Billet Master and Inspector of Nuisances (article in the Derbyshire Courier, 6 November 1869).


The Sheffield Independent on 25 September 1869 reported: NORTON FARMERS CLUB AND EAST DERBYSHIRE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY. … The ground was well kept by a detachment of the borough police, under the charge of Mr Superintendent Farndale, and the arrangements of the exhibition reflected the considerable credit upon the committee of management and the stewards. …


The Derbyshire Times, on 20 October 1869 reported: THE CHESTERFIELD POLCE FORCE. On Friday evening last, the Chesterfield Watch Committee, acting under the recommendation of Supt Farndale, raised the wages of each police officer 1s per week, so that third class constables begin at 19s, and the others proportionately. They also decided to give 1d per day extra for three years, and 2d per day extra for six years’ service, and as nearly the whole of the force have six years service in, they will receive the desired advantage. A merit class was also established so that for meritorious conduct an officer will be entitled to 1s per week extra.


The Derbyshire Times, on 20 November 1869 reported: ROBBERY FROM THE PERSON. James Lory, Alfred Fod, ad Henry Briddon, three notorious characters, were charged with assaulting and stealing from the person of one Peter Parks, of Wingerworth, one leather purse and £1 7s 6d in Wheeldon lane on the 14th inst. Head constable Farndale said since the prisoners were apprehended he had discovered that the offence was committed in the county, and he must therefore ask the Mayor to discharge them. The prisoners were then discharged, and re apprehended by the county police.


The Salisbury and Winchester Journal, on 11 December 1869 reported: SAVAGE ASSAULT – About two o’clock on Tuesday morning, as Police constable Fryer, of the Chesterfield Borough Police, was going his rounds in St Mary’s gate he heard loud cries for assistance … Superintendent Farndale briefly narrated the facts of the case as given above and asked for a remand until Monday next which was granted.


Joseph Farndale continued to fulfil his additional responsibilities as Sanitary Inspector:


The Derbyshire Courier, on 18 December 1869 advertised:




THE NEW SLAUGHTER HOUSES will be ready for use on and after January 1st 1870, and will be let at an annual rental of £7 each, rates and water included. Application to be made to:

Mr J Farndale, Sanitary Inspector




After the 31st December next ensuing, the Slaughtering of Animals will not be PERMITTED  to take place in the Shambles, situated in the borough of Chesterfield.


By the Order of the Sanitary Committee

Mr J Farndale, Sanitary Inspector.



The Derbyshire Times, on Christmas Day, 25 December 1869 recorded an extract of the evidence in the trial of William Connor, a labourer of Chesterfield who had been charged with cutting and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm in Church Walk, Chesterfield:


Prisoner: If you tell the truth about that knife (he was taking to another witness, John Smth), I gave your wife a gill of beer for it.


Superintendent Farndale: Then you don’t deny it was your knife?


Prisoner: No Sir.


Mr Bluett, surgeon: At about one o’clock o Sunday morning the prosecutor was brought into my surgery by Superintendent Farndale. He was bleeding from a wound in the left side. …


So the head of police was engaged in cross examination in court hearings.




The Derbyshire Courier, on 8 January 1870 reported: EXPOSING DISEASED MEAT FOR SALE. William Staple, a farmer of Aldwick, was charged with exposing 48 lbs of beef unfit for food of man in the market on 18 December 1869. Head Constable Farndale said he bought the meat in question before the Mayor, and he ordered it to be destroyed. The defendant admitted that the beef was his.


The Derbyshire Times, on 22 January 1870 recorded that when two teenagers (13 and 12) were charged with stealing 5s from an old man, Superintendent Farndale gave evidence When the children were given into custody they said he had given them the money and wanted to take liberties with them. He did not lock them up but ordered them to come here this morning and make their statement.


The Sheffield Daily Telegraph, on 3 February 1870 recorded that Superintendent Farndale was elected Inspector of Weights and Measures, at a salary of £25 per year, the appointment being until 9th November next.


In the same paper: The Sanitary Inspector. This report was read, and the Inspector tendered his resignation … Councillor Bdot was very sorry at the intimation. The matter was in good hands … Ald Black said the resignation was determined because of the increasing duties devolving on Superintendent Farndale under the separate commission … Councillor Oliver called attention to the inefficient arrangements in the new slaughter houses. The wheels and locks were not sufficiently good. Councillor JW Rooth said that before he came into the Council the contract was let, and the pattern of wheels taken from his. If they wanted them on a newer principle they must alter them. With his wheels he could draw a bullock up 500 tons (loud laughter).


The Sheffield Independent, on 3 February 1870 confirmed: INSPECTOR OF WEIGHTS AND MEASURES. The Town Clerk said that now the Lord Chancellor had appointed gentlemen to sit on the commission of the peace, it was necessary for them to appoint an inspector of weights and measures, and it had been stated that it would be more than satisfactory to give the officer a salary rather than a fee out of each prosecution. After a desultory discussion, Supt Farndale was appointed a t a salary of £25 a year.


The Sheffield Independent, on 5 February 1870 recorded that under the Factory Act, Mr. Superintendent Joseph Farndale was appointed inspector for the borough, in accordance with the provisions of the Factory Act.


The Derbyshire Courier, on 5 February 1870 set out the Chief Constable’s Annual Report:



Chief Superintendent’s Office

31st January 1870




GENTLEMEN, I beg to report that during the past quarter there has been a slight decrease in indictable offences as compared with the previous quarter of the previous year; but more than double the number of cases have been dealt with summarily.


The conduct of the officers and constables with two exceptions has been good, one having been discharged and the other reduced from second to third class constable.


I am, Gentlemen

Your most obedient servant



At the same meeting, Joseph Farndale was confirmed in his appointment as the Government Inspector under the Factories Act.


The Derbyshire Times, on 12 February 1870, in an extract from a published letter from a ratepayer to the town council: They appoint Superintendent Farndale inspector of weights and measures at a salary of about £25 a year (about 1s a week), and, strange to say, in fixing his salary, nobody seems to have asked what time would be occupied by these duties, but simply what the fees would produce. I do not know what salary is attached to this office of sanitary Inspector which the Superintendent gives up, but I doubt not the weights and measures at £25 a year is a much better thing. Please find out and tell us what the late Inspector got.


The Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, on 26 February 1870 and repeated 2 March 1870: Borough of Chesterfield, Police Clothing. The WATCH COMMITTEE will receive tenders for 22 coats, 35 pairs of trousers, 26 pairs of boots and 13 helmets to be supplied not later than 1st May next. All Tenders are to be submitted before Saturday 5th March next. Joseph Farndale, Chief Constable. 


The Sheffield Independent, on 30 August 1870 reported:


A Nuisance to the Town. John Crampton, medical botanist, was charged, that after public notice had been given directing dogs to be confined on suspicion of canine madness, he did suffer his dog to be at large during the time specified. He was also charged with being drunk and riotous on Friday last. Mr Farndale said the man was a thorough nuisance to the town. Complaints were made about his conduct two or three times a week, and he had been frequently before the magistrates. The first charge was dismissed, and for the second offence he was ordered to enter into his own recognisances of £5 to keep the peace for six months and pay the costs.


Adjourned Brewster Sessions. Mr Superintendent Farndale opposed a beer licence being renewed to the Burlington arms, Burlington Street, because a great portion of the house had been converted into a shoe shop. He did not wish the licence to be withdrawn, but that the bench should order the whole house to be used as a beerhouse. The licence was granted on the above condition.


John Wholl applied for renewal of the licence of the Ten Bells, Spencer street. Mr Farndale opposed on the ground that Wholl had obtained the licence, but it was managed by a man named Andrews, who had been convicted of a breach of licence, and the bench refused to give him a certificate.


 A large number of other articles during 1870 and 1871, not included here, show Superintendent Farndale giving evidence etc in court cases.


The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, on Tuesday 5 Jul 1870 reported on a beer house offence: Sarah Ann Nash, of the Tanners’ Arms beerhouse, Chesterfield, was charged with selling beer during prohibited hours, on Sunday the 26th ult. Sergeant Windle proved the case. Superintendent Farndale said the house was very badly conducted, and great complaints were made about Sunday selling. Defendant pleaded guilty and she was fined £1 and costs 8s 6d and cautioned as to how she conducted the house in the future.


The Derbyshire Times, on 8 October 1870 advertised FIVE SHILLINGS REWARD. LOST on Friday evening, between St Helen’s I and Stonegravels Bar, a brown paper parcel containing two small account books and mechanical drawings. The articles are perfectly useful to anyone but the owner. Apply to Supt FARNDALE Police Office, Chesterfield.


The Derbyshire Times, on 10 December 1870 recorded: THE MEAT INSPECTOR. After a long discussion relative to the resignation of Mr Burton one of the Meat Inspectors, it was finally resolved that Supt Farndale officiate for the next three months.


The Derbyshire Courier, 4 February 1871 recorded the Annual Report of the Chief Constable and the Sanitary Inspector’s Report:


The Head Constable’s Report.


Head Constables Office, 30th Jan, 1871.


To the Mayor and gentlemen of the Town Council of the Borough of Chesterfield.


Gentlemen, I beg to state that since your last meeting the conduct of the officers and constables, with one exception, has been good. On Friday the 13th inst, I suspended PC George Blanksby for improper conduct, and on the 27th inst he was brought before the Watch Committee and dismissed. During the past month, several offences of a serious nature have been committed. On Friday, the 20th instant, John Hayes, of Brampton, was robbed whilst in a state of drunkenness, of £45. This was not reported to the police until the following Tuesday, which gave them but little chance of recovering the money. They, however, succeeded in apprehending a man and woman who were not only seen in company and drinking with the prosecutor about the time of the robbery, but were seen to bring him out of the public house, drag him down Whealdon Lane, rifle his pockets, and run away. Hayes, however, swore they were not the parties who had robbed him, and the magistrates dismissed the case. On the 21st instant several cases of pocket picking were reported for which a woman has been apprehended and committed for trial. On the night of the 23rd instant the premises of Mr Wilcockson, pawnbroker, were broken into and 24 watches, 70 wedding rings, and 25s in silver stolen there from. Every inquiry has been made, but up to the present time none of the property has been recovered.


I have the honour to be, gentlemen,

your obediant servant, Joseph Farndale.


Mr Wood proposed and Mr Marsden seconded a motion that the report be received which was carried unanimously.



The Sanitary Inspector’s Report.


Sanitary Inspector’s office, 31st January 1871.


To the Mayor and gentleman of the Town Council of the Borough of Chesterfield.


Gentlemen, I have to report that during the past quarter I have inspected 44 nuisances as entered into the presentment and report books, arising chiefly from offensive privies, pig cotes, defective drains and accumulations of manure, night soil and other offensive matter; That those nuisances with few exceptions have been remedied within the time allowed for their removal, and that those reported not remedied have been only recently inspected and complained of, and the notices served upon the owners of the property have not yet expired.


On the third inst licences were renewed to the public slaughter houses, on condition that the tenants allowed the corporation to have their manure. With one exception they have done so. This one will either have his licence withdrawn or will have notice to quit. On the same day licences were renewed to 16 private slaughterhouses.


I am, gentleman,

Your obedient servant

Joseph Farndale.


The adoption of the report was moved by Mr Douglas, seconded by Mr Marsden, and carried unanimously.




The 1871 Census for Chesterfield showed Joseph Farndale, Chief Constable of Police, 28 living with Jane Farndale, his wife, 29, John W Farndale, their son, 2 and Sarah Vaughan, a general servant.


The Sheffield Independent, on 22 April 1871 reported: CHESTERFIELD. Bad Meat. John Arthur, New Square, was charged by Mr Superintendent Farndale, Sanitary Inspector, with being in possession of 24 lbs of pork, unfit for food


The Derbyshire Times, on 6 May 1871 set out the Chief Constable’s Report:


Chief Constable's Report.


Head Constables office, 1st May, 1871.


To the Mayor and gentlemen of the Corporation of the Borough of Chesterfield.


Gentlemen, I beg to state that since your last meeting the conduct of the officers and constables has been good, and that the town has been free from offences of a serious nature.


On the 22nd ult, the force was inspected by Captain Elgee, Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabularies for the Northern District. He complained that the money in the superannuation fund had not been taken from the bank, and put it out at interest, as recommended by him last year, also that police offices and cells had not been provided, the existing accommodation being totally inadequate for the requirements of the borough. The plans prepared by Mr Rawlinson were laid before him, he expressed himself quite satisfied with the site, offices, and cells, and stated it was entirely a question for the Corporation whether they built a house or not. At the same time, he said, it was very desirable that the chief officer should reside near the office. He should therefore recommend No 2 plan which provides a house.


I am gentleman, your obedient servant, J Farndale. Head Constable.


The Derbyshire Courier, 5 August 1871 reported:




Head Constable’s Office, 1st August 1871




Gentlemen. I beg to state that since your last meeting the town has been free from offences of a serious nature; that the conduct of the offices and constables with one exception has been good, and they have been active in the discharge of their various duties. There has been a considerable decrease in indictable offences, as compared with the corresponding quarter of the previous year, and a slight increase in cases determined summarily.


I am, Gentlemen

Your Obedient Servant

J Farndale

Head Constable



The Sanitary Inspectors Report.


Sanitary Inspectors Office, August 1st, 1871.


To the Mayor and gentlemen of the Corporation of the Borough of Chesterfield.


Gentlemen, I beg to state that during the past quarter, I have inspected 45 nuisances as entered in the presentment and report books, all of which have been remedied. In consequence of the recent wet weather, there has been great difficulty in getting night soil removed. On the 29th June last, I seized and destroyed the carcass of a pig, the property of Thomas Jenkinson, as being unfit for human food. He was summoned before the magistrates and fined £5 and costs. I have made numerous inquiries respecting the removal of night soil in other towns, and find in large towns they have a proper staff for the removal of the same under the superintendence of the sanitary inspector, but in small towns that is chiefly removed by contract. I have visited Newark, and find that they get the night soil removed, streets swept etc for £180 per annum. Ordering that they have a larger proportion then we have, and that the area is 2,083 acres against 276 acres, I have no doubt that ours would be taken for a less amount, which would be a great saving for the town. Subjoined are specifications, forms of contract, and agreement between the Newark Corporation and their contractor.


I am gentlemen, your obediant servant, J Farndale, sanitary inspector.


Within a short time, Joseph Farndale was making a further move to promotion to the Chief Constable of the Leicester Police. The Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough, on 30 August 1871 reported: PROMOTION OF A MIDDLESBOROUGH POLICEMAN. The friends of Inspector Farndale, who left Middlesborough two years ago to become chief constable of Chesterfield, will be glad to learn that he is one of two candidates selected by the watch Committee of Leicester, out of sixty candidates, to fill the office of chief constable of that important town. The applicant included a colonel and a captain in the army, and a detective inspector, the two selected being Inspector Farndale and Colonel Vivian. The appointment will be made at the next Council meeting. Mr Farndale joined the Middlesborough Police Force as a Private. 


Meantime, the Derbyshire Times, on 28 October 1871: advertised WANTED for the Chesterfield Borough Police Force, THREE ABLE BODIED MEN. Wages first four months, 20s per week, the following eight months, 21s per week, and afterwards 22s per week. A merit class and service class has been formed by which a constable can be raised to 24s per week. Application to be made personally to Mr Superintendent Farndale, on or before Wednesday, October 25th inst.


The Derbyshire Times, 7 October 1871 reported on a special meeting of the Chesterfield town council held on Monday morning last in the municipal hall, to consider the steps necessary to be taken inconsequence of Superintendent Farndale having resigned the office of Chief Constable of the borough. Just one half of the members were present, the attendance including the Mayor James Wright Esquire, Alderman Drabble, and Councillors Boot, Douglas, Short, Oliver, Kent and J W Rooth.


The mayor briefly stated the object of the meeting which was held in consequence of Chief Constable Farndale having resigned, owing to his appointment as Chief Constable of the Borough of Leicester.


The deputy town clerk read Mr Farndale's letter resigning his post, which concluded by a hearty expression of thanks to the Mayor and members of the Council for their assistance in the duties he had to perform.


In answer to Mr Boot, the deputy town clerk stated that the resignation was dated September 27 and the office would be vacant on the 27th October. The watch committee had accepted the resignation of Mr Farndale with an expression of their appreciation of the services he had rendered to the town.


Mr Douglas said he must express his regret that the town should lose Mr Farndale's services, as he considered him a most efficient officer. He had done the town great credit during the time he had held the office, and more particularly by the way in which he had put down those pests, the houses of immorality. He had also been very successful in reducing drunkenness, and his duties generally had been performed in a most honourable and exemplary manner, (hear, hear).


Mr Oliver had great pleasure in supporting the words of Mr Douglas as he considered Mr Farndale had acquitted himself in a manner which did him great credit, and he felt convinced Chesterfield would never secure a better officer. The mayor also expressed his regret that the town was losing Mr Farndale’s services, but at the same time could not but congratulate him up on his success in his profession especially considering the comparatively short time he had been in the police force. Hardly 10 years had elapsed since he entered the force at York as an ordinary police officer, and now he was chief constable of one of the largest boroughs in England, with something like £300 a year salary.


Mr Short said the town at large would regret Mr Farndale's departure.


The Mayor said of the next business was to decide on salary to be given to the next Superintendent and arrange as to advertising for one etc. Mr Boot would suggest that all the offices at present held by Mr Farndale be thrown into one. The present salary was £120 as chief constable, £20 as inspector of nuisances, £25 as inspector of weights and measures, and £12 for clothing, making a total of £177 per annum.


The Mayor: Yes and he also receives £10 for acting as assistant relieving officer under the guardians.


Mr Short: Yes but that does not come under our disposal.


Mr Boot said he should propose that the post be advertised as vacant, at a salary of £120 to cover all duties and that there be additional allowance of £12 for clothes. This would of course be independent of the £10 from the union over which the Council had no power.


Chief Constable of Leicester Police, 1871 to 1882 (11 years)


The Derbyshire Times, on 2 September 1871 reported that at a recent meeting of the Town Council of the important borough of Leicester, held for the purpose of selecting a gentleman to fill the office of Chief Constable for the Borough, Mr Superintendent Farndale, of Chesterfield, was selected as one of five out of 56 candidates for the post. Subsequent voting reduced the issue to the choice of Mr Farndale or a Colonel Vivian, and at this point the meeting stands adjourned. It is a great proof of Mr Farndale's high position in his profession that the testimonials of those with whom he has come in contact during his career should have been so favourable. We can over only express our regrets that Chesterfield is likely to lose Mr Farndale’s services, but at the same time we are certain that if he obtains the post he seeks the borough of Leicester will be fortunate in obtaining a most valuable servant.


The Northern Weekly Gazette, on 29 September 1871 recorded: APPOINTMENT OF MR FARNDALE. Mr Farndale, so highly respected while in the Middlesbrough Police Force, and to whose probable promotion we lately alluded – was elected on Tuesday by a large majority as Chief Superintendent of Leicester. The York Herald, on 30 September 1871: POLICE APPOINTMENT. On Wednesday, Mr Joseph Farndale, a native of Eskdaleside, and formerly a member of the North Riding police force, was elected head constable at Leicester by a considerable majority. Mr Farndale has been superintendent of police at Chesterfield. The Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 6 October 1871: APPOINTMENT OF A CHIEF CONSTABLE FOR LEICESTER. The appointment if Chief Constable took place on Tuesday week, and resulted in the election oof Superintendent Farndale, of the Chesterfield Police.


Joseph Farndale was appointed Head Constable of Leicester Police on 27 October 1871. He replaced Mr Charters. His salary was £220 per annum, with a house included.


An article in the Leicester Evening Mail on 15 January 1937 looked back at Joseph Farndale’s achievements with Leicester police.


During my time, Leicester has had seven chief constables, and they have all had their own particular problems to settle....


Charters was succeeded by Joseph Farndale, who more than anyone else, laid the foundations of the efficient police system which modern Leicester possesses.


When Farndale came to Leicester in the 70s the force was only 90 strong, although the population had increased to 25,000 people. Today the authorised strength is *, and the population is 260,000. Farndale was not long in making changes. He scrapped the tall hats and frock coats which made the constables look more like funeral mules then policemen and substituted helmets and tunics. The townspeople were rather critical of these changes, but in time they came to appreciate that the new uniforms tended to create a cleaner respect for the power of the law.


Many of the recruits to the force were not used to discipline, and hardly likely to inspire respect, even if they did create fear. Drunkenness was all too common in the force and the Watch Committee had a difficult job to improve matters.


One step in the campaign was taken when Farndale endeavoured to create a team spirit by forming a police band, under the conductorship of Inspector Smith. This soon became one of the most popular institutions of the town. The band played in the municipal square every Friday night, and was always in demand for concerts.


But alas, good intentions do not always bring the best of results. It was found that the police became much more interested in their music and their concerts then in their duties as policemen, and the Watch Committee had reluctantly to disperse the band.


There was at that time an astonishing amount of undetected crime in Leicester for a small town, and Farndale set out to discover the reason. In those days, the practice was to make the person robbed pay the costs of apprehending a prisoner who had left the town after the crime, and many people either could not afford to pay for a police chase or preferred to allow justice to go unsatisfied, rather than make a personal sacrifice. This of course was a ridiculous state of affairs and before long Farndale had persuaded the Watch Committee to allow the cost of such arrests to be borne by the ratepayers.


How far Farndale would eventually have gone in this war against crime we are never to know because at the peak of his career he was offered the Chief Constableship of Birmingham, and naturally accepted it.


Farndale, I remember, was succeeded by James Dunn of Durham whose chief claim to fame was that he altered the system of night beats, following a big sale robbery at Gimson’s Vulcan Works, when thieves got away with £1,000 in cheques and money. In Farndale's time there was a fixed beat system, which enabled criminals to choose their time for a robbery and carry it out more or less at leisure....


Shortly after his appointment, on 19 December 1871, Leicester police ceased to be responsible for fire fighting and Leicester Borough Fire Brigade was created.




In 1872, Joseph Farndale called for a change in image, replacing long frock coats with tunics, heavy rattles with a whistle and chain and high silk hats with lighter caps. He also introduced a probationary period of up to 5 weeks during which time a police officer required to prove his suitability for role.


In 1878, sergeants of the Borough wrote to Joseph Farndale to complain about the practice of turning off street lights during summer months.


The Leicester Chronicle, on 20 January 1872 reported: A REPREHENSIBLE PRACTICE.  The thoughtless and dangerous practice of throwing orange peel on the causeways was commented upon by the mayor …  He called the attention of Head Constable Farndale to the circumstances and he hoped he would give instructions to his men to remove the orange peel from the footpaths whenever they saw it, and that persons would refrain from the culpable habit of endangering the limbs of their fellow creatures. With the aid of the police, and the cooperation of the more reflective portion of the public, it is hoped a check will be put upon this abominable nuisance.


The Leicester Chronicle, 20 April 1872: INSPECTION OF THE COUNTY CONSTABULARY AND THE BOROUGH POLICE FORCE. On Wednesday last, the County Constabulary Force were inspected at the Corn Exchange by Colonel Cobb… At one o’clock the Borough Police Force assembled at the Corn Exchange for inspection under the command of the Head Constable (Mr Farndale)


A large number of various articles showing Chief Constable Farndale’s evidence in a lot of court cases are not all reproduced here. For instance the Leicester Daily Post, 21 September 1872: THEFT. William Harper, on remand, was charged with stealing a shirt, the property of William Dalby, pawnbroker, Belgrave gate, on the 12th inst. The evidence has been published. Mr Farndale stated that there had been communication with the authorities at Brixton, and had found that the prisoner was on a ticket of leave, having been sentenced to seven years penal servitude for felony. He was committed to the sessions.


Joseph soon had to deal with a serious incident in Leicester. The Chichester Express and West Sussex Journal, 27 August 1872 reported: Leicester was also the scene of a serious disturbance on Saturday night. As eleven o’clock dew near a large concourse of persons had assembled at the Old Haymarket, the principal thoroughfare, and shortly afterwards the crowd was considerably augmented, until it numbered several thousands, buy those who had been turned out of the vaults &c in the neighbourhood. A large body of police, under the charge of Chief Constable Farndale, however, kept them moving for some time. At length one of the mob, named James Stevens, a shoe fisher, who was the worse for liquor, declined to move on and struck the police. He was at once taken into custody, when an attempt was made to rescue him. A large number of policemen then rushed to the aid of their comrade when some of the mb began to throw stones, which struck some of the police, one of whom was also struck with a ginger beer bottle. For a little time it appeared as though this slight skirmish would lead to serious consequences, but the police obtained complete power over their prisoner, and formed in line with their staves drawn at the end of the street. He was quickly conveyed up a bye street to the police station where he was charged with assaulting two of the officers. This coupled with the appearance of a reinforcement of police seemed to act as a deterrent, and the crowd became less dense and more scattered. A successful effort was then made to clear the streets, the spectators being driven before the police, with staves drawn, up the various thoroughfares, and by half past twelve the riot was suppressed.


The Leicester Daily Post, 28 August 1872 reported: FIRE IN LEICESTER LAST NIGHT. About nine o’clock last night a fire which at one time threatened to be desolating in its effects, broke out in the shop of Messrs T Tacey & Sons, drapers &c, Granby Street.


Chief Constable Farndale was passing down the street a little before nine, and saw several persons standing, looking up at the windows above the shop, from which smoke was issuing. Seeing at once what was the matter he immediately despatched messengers to the Borough Fire Brigade, for Mr Tacey’s son, who lives in Leicester, and for Mr Tacey himself, who resides at Humberstone. The brigade was on the spot a few minutes afterwards, and the hose having been attached to the street main, was soon set to play upon the building.


The flames did not make their appearance till the door was forced open when they burst forth with a rather threatening aspect. Some fears were expressed regarding the safety of the adjoining property, but happily beyond that caused by the water in one of the upper rooms of the Swan Hotel, no other damage was done.


The efforts of the firemen were principally directed to the front shop, and the flames were quenched in a very short time. A ladder was laced against the window of the first storey, and an entrance effected there, but it appears the fire was wholly confined to the ground floor. The counters and several of the other fittings were completely burned, and the entire stock destroyed. We understand the loss is partially covered by insurance.


The Day’s Doings, 31 August 1872:


From the many manifestations of disapproval evidenced in Leicester during the past week by the issuing of a magisterial order requiring that all public houses be closed, in accordance with the provisions of the Licensing Act, by eleven o’clock at night, it was generally anticipated that Saturday night would have witnessed a very serious tumult.


Accordingly every precaution was adopted by the local authorities to guard against a disturbance, a considerable number of county police being drafted into the town and held in reserve, while all the available borough force was out on duty. In their efforts to preserve the peace, the magistrates were well aided by the publicans, most of whom, especially the occupiers of vaults, took the precaution of putting up their shutters by half past ten o'clock, and intimating to their customers the desirableness of withdrawing quietly at the appointed hour.


As eleven o’clock drew near a large concourse of persons had assembled at the Old Haymarket, the principal thoroughfare, and shortly afterwards the crowd was considerably augmented, until it numbered several thousands, by those who had been turned out of the vaults etc in the neighbourhood.


Most of these appear to have assembled out of sheer curiosity to see a ‘row’ which had been talked about, while others seemed evidently ready to join in a disturbance, if one were started, and began to assemble in groups, discussing and denouncing the new law.


A large body of police under the charge of Chief Constable Farndale, however, kept them from moving for some time, until at length a few of the more turbulent seemed determined to ‘make a stand’, which led to cheers from their partisans and groans from the police.


The later however acted with great forbearance, until at length one of the mob, named James Stevens, a shoe finisher, who was the worse for liquor, declined to move on, and struck one of the police. He was at once taken into custody, when an attempt was made to rescue him. A large number of policemen then rushed to the aid of their comrade, when the mob began to throw stones, which struck some of the police, one of whom was also struck with a ginger beer bottle. …


A successful effort was then made to clear the streets, the spectators being driven before the police, with staves drawn, up the various thoroughfares, when the large majority, evidently having seen enough, and being warned that they would have to take the consequences, deemed it discreet to retire, the town being perfectly quiet by half past twelve o’clock.


The Leicester Guardian, 18 September 1872: At the Town Hall on Friday, the Mayor called the attention of Mr Farndale, the Chief Constable, to the practice of flying kites in the streets, and pointed out the danger of it both to foot passengers and those who were driving, as it was liable to frighten the horses. It had been complained of in the papers and otherwise. He had no wish to debar children from enjoying themselves, but that was not the way to do it. Mr Farndale said he had given instructions to the police to report all cases to the Local Board.


Joseph Farndale was a keen participator in dog show competitions. The Leicester Journal, 4 October 1872: NOTTINGHAM NATIONAL DOG SHOW. … In the St Bernard’s (rough), Chief Constable Farndale is awarded second honours with his dog Pluto, aged 2 years and 4 months.


The Leicester Chronicle, 5 October 1872: LEICESTER RACES … A posse of police under the superintendence of Head Constable Farndale, were engaged in the preservation of order at the course.


His Annual Reports are records of statistics of crime at the time. The Hinckley News, on 2 November 1872 set out Joseph Farndale’s report on Borough Police Statistics.


The following report has been issued by Mr Farndale, Chief Constable.


Gentlemen, I have the honour to submit the annual police statistical returns for the year ending the 29th Ultimo, with other information of a miscellaneous character, and to report that a decrease in indictable offences has taken place during the year as compared with the year previous; but there is a considerable increase in cases determined summarily. The following table gives the number of indictable offences reported to the police during the past ten years, with the number of persons apprehended for the same: in 1863 the number of indictable offences was 159, and apprehensions 110; In 1864, 200 and 121; In 1865, 202 and 147; 1866, 156 and 98; In 1867, 153 and 105; 1868, 193 and 108; 1869, 149 and 123; 1870, 132 and 88; 1871, 214 and 143; 1872, 185 and 113.


Many of these cases are undetected for want of funds. When a robbery is reported,  and the offender has left the town, the person robbed is asked if he is prepared to pay the cost of the prisoner being apprehended and brought back, if he is not, no further steps are taken, but the robbery is entered into the books, and shows against the efficiency of the police as an undetected crime, though they have not had the remotest chance of detecting it.


The total number of persons apprehended, summoned, and summarily disposed of during the year (exclusive of 644 civil cases such as arrears of poor rates, bastardy etc) was 2,453. The following statement shows the number of persons disposed of by the justices during the last ten years: number of offences in the year 1863, 1,459; 1864, 1,549; 1865, 1,739; 1866, 1,686; 1867, 1,594; 1868, 1,702; 1869, 1,841; 1870 1,928; 1871, 1,001; 1872, 2,453.


By far the largest numbers in the above returns are under the headings of drunkenness, drunk and disorderly, and common assaults. The number charged before the magistrate during the last ten years are as follows: drunkenness - 1863, 274; 1864, 350; 1865, 422; 1866, 386; 1867, 315; 1868, 304; 1869, 349; 1870, 348; 1871, 402; 1872, 490. Common assaults, 1863, 546; 1864, 623; 1865, 676; 1866, 597; 1867, 592; 1868, 625; 1869, 622; 1870, 575; 1871, 526; 1872, 523.


A considerable increase is shown in the number of charges made against licenced victuallers; but the charges against beer sellers appears to have gradually decreased since the passing of The New Beerhouse Act 1869, which brought them under the control of the magistrates. In making this statement, I think it is right to add that the conduct of many of these houses has much improved, and I believe for drinking during prohibited hours on Sundays, Leicester will bear favourable comparison with any other town. This, in my opinion, is mainly attributable to the action of the magistrates at the Brewster Sessions in withholding the licences of all persons whose houses were proved to have been improperly conducted.


In consequence of having numerous complaints respecting the nuisance of disorderly houses in the town, I took proceedings against and succeeded in closing one which had been a new notorious nuisance for several years; but 28 remained, nearly all of which are common brothels of the lowest class. These places are somewhat difficult to deal with, in as much as the legal machinery by which they are suppressed is not only cumbrous and expensive, but cannot be put in motion by the police, until a complaint has been made by two inhabitants of the locality in which such houses exist. To meet this difficulty the authorities of several boroughs with which I am acquainted have, in their Extension and Improvement Acts, inserted the following clause:


“If any person keeps or acts or assists in the management of any brothel or other disorderly house, room, or other place, every person so offending shall, for every such offence, be liable to a penalty not exceeding the [sic] pounds, in default of payment three months imprisonment with hard labour.”


If such a bylaw could be added to our Improvement Act, I have no doubt that in Leicester, as in other towns where they have the benefit of this clause, these houses would soon cease to exist.


Several Acts of Parliament have recently come into operation including the Prevention of Crime Act, the New Licencing Act 1872 and the Pedlar’s Act, all of which are working satisfactorily. Since the 1st of January last 293 pedlars’ certificates have been granted, and 263 endorsed, for which I have received fees to the amount of £79 16s 6d, which will be placed to the credit at the borough fund.


Colonel Cobbs, Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary, has made his annual inspection in April last. There were present on parade – 1 head constable, 5 inspectors, 11 sergeants, and 69 constables; absent on duty, 1 sergeant and 3 constables; on leave, 1 sergeant; Sick, 4 constables; and 4 wanting to complete the number. Total 98. With the appearance of the men and the efficiency of the force, he expressed himself perfectly satisfied, but called attention to the offices and cells, which he considered inadequate for the requirements of the Borough.


In conclusion, I have much pleasure in stating that during the past year the officers and constables have been active in the discharge of the various duties, and that their conduct, with few exceptions, has been good, as shown by the annex summary for the three years ending September 29. In 1870 the strength of the force was 86; Number reported 37; Cautioned, 11; Fined, 17; Reduced, 1; Dismissed, 1. In 1871, strength of force common 92; Reported, 34; Cautioned, 4; Fined, 15; Reduced, 1; Dismissed, 14. In 1872, strength force, 98; Reported, 13; Cautioned, 3; Fined, 4; Reduced, 1; Dismissed, 4. This great decrease in 1872 is no doubt the result of offenders having been severely dealt with by the Watch Committee in the year previous.


I have the honour to be gentlemen, your Obediant servant, J Farndale.


The Leicester Chronicle, on 2 November 1872: We have no lack of information certainly, concerning the doings and misdoings of the population of Leicester. The latest contribution to the public store of knowledge on this head has been supplied by Mr Farndale, the Head Constable, who has presented to the Chairman and Gentlemen of the Watch Committee of this borough the Annual Police Statistical Returns for the year ending Sept 29. …


The Leicester Daily Post, 2 November 1872: Presentation to Mr S Stone. On Wednesday the Leicester Borough Police Force gave expression to their feelings of respect and esteem for Mr Stone, the late respected Town Clerk of Leicester, by presenting him with a valuable timepiece and two statuettes. The presentation was made by Mr Chief Constable Farndale, in the Town Hall, at one o’clock, in the presence of the inspectors, sergeants, superannuated officers, and members of the force.


Mr C Farndale, Head constable, in terms appropriate and tasteful, gave utterance to the feelings of regard which are entertained for Mr Stone by every member of the force, who had had the privilege of coming in contact with him, during his many years of zealous and efficient labour. He bought testimony to the courtesy which he himself had always experienced from Mr Stone, and to the feelings of regret which he in common with his staff entertained at the loss which they had sustained through his retirement. He however assured Mr Stone that he had retired into private life with the best wishes of all for his future happiness...


In Mr Stone’s reply … he had observed with very great pleasure the fair, plane, straightforward, and commendable manner, in which that testimony when it was now generally given, a fact which had attracted the attention of Mr Farndale on his first coming to Leicester. Mr Stone concluded by again thanking the Force for that beautiful testament testimonial, which would be preserved by him and his family as a most gratifying proof of the estimation in which he was held by the Leicester force. These observations were listened to by the subscribers present (about 100) with great attention and frequent expressions of their approval.


The timepiece bore the following inscription: Presented to Samuel Stone Esquire by the Leicester Borough Police Force, as a mark of respect and in appreciation of his invariable kindness and courtesy during the 36 years he has held the office of town clerk to the justices. Leicester, October 9th, 1872.”


The Leicester Daily Post, 9 November 1872: In a speech by the Mayor: Nor must one forget Mr Farndale, for the efficiency he has shown in placing the cases before the magistrates had been beyond all praise. He believed Mr Farndale had the confidence of the whole bench, and that the force over which he had presided was now well disciplined and in efficient working order.


The Leicester Chronicle, 7 December 1872: DISORDERLY. Two boys names Elijah and Thos Taylor were charged with being disorderly on Tuesday night … Head Constable Farndale said he had frequently had complaints about boys annoying the teachers at these schools, and had in consequence been obliged to send out men in plain clothes.




Again there are multiple articles about Joseph Farndale and his evidence in multiple court cases during 1873 including the Leicester Daily Post, 11 January 1873: THE LEICESTER LIBEL CASE. THE ALDERMAN OF STONYGATE v A CAIN . … Arthur Cain was charged with publishing a certain malicious, slanderous libel, of and concerning Richard Harris and others…. Have you any particular reason for refusing to post a bill that had not the printer’s name on it? Yes because I was told by Mr Farndale not to post bills without the printer’s name on it. Is it true that a great number of bills were circulated without the printer’s name? Yes. When you were called up by Mr Farndale, what did he say to you? He said that there had been a deal of dissatisfaction about election bills being posted on corners of streets, about the town, and there were many complaints. He requested me not to do it. Did Mr Farndale threaten you if you posted the bills without the printer’s name? No, it was posting bills on streets without permission. I promised not to do it. Did the unknown gentleman who asked you to post the “Blue Pill” offer you a sovereign to do it? Yes … What was the cause of the alleged libellous bill appearing at all. It was because of this “Blue Pill”, and it was published after the billposters had been called to the Town Hall by Mr Farndale, and told that if they continued to go on positing bills without the printer’s name, cognisance would be taken of it,…


The Leicester Daily Post, 13 February 1873: DINNER TO THE LEICESTER BOROUGH FORCE. As proof if their appreciation of the zeal, energy, and efficiency which characterises the borough constabulary, a few of the leading citizens of Leicester entertained the members of the force at a dinner, which took place in the Fish and Quart Inn, on Tuesday, and yesterday. … The event on this occasion had a special feature of interest attached to it, inasmuch as the chief of the force – Mr Farndale – presided, and he, giving the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, in the course of his remarks complimented the members very highly on the successful efficiency of the force. He expressed the feeling of pleasure which it afforded him to be able to congratulate them on the fact that in point of energy and ability, they were second to none, and were a credit to the town. The toast of success to the town and trade of Leicester was drunk with the utmost enthusiasm, and numerous personal toasts, including the health of Mr Farndale, were equally well received, and heartily responded to. The company sat till a late hour in the evening on each occasion, and the mutual harmony of the meetings were pleasantly interspersed with songs. A number of the Town Councillors, and others, were present.


The Leicester Daily Post, 3 March 1873: THE FLOOD SCHEME. The article related to a Report of the Highway and Sewerage Committee on the best means of preventing a recurrence of floods to which the town is subjected in the neighbourhood of the river. MR ELLIS  then moved the adoption of the second part of the Highway and Sewerage Committee’s Report. He explained the amount of inconvenience which was necessitated by policemen having to apply to the Committee before prosecuting cases of a frivolous nature, and said that the matter occupied the attention of the Chief Constable for some time. He also referred to the extent to which the solicitation of prostitution was being carried on in the town, and said it was getting almost intolerable. Mr Farndale had sent out a man to apprehend offenders, but nothing could be done until the case had been before the Highways Committee and by that time the prostitute charged had generally left the town for a time. Half of the time of the Committee was occupied in investigating these cases. Mr Farndale had written to twenty of the largest towns in the kingdom, and in every case prosecution was effected without the authority of the Highways Committee.


The Leicester Daily Post, 2 April 1873: THE PRINCE OF WALES AT LEICESTER STATION. His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, who is now on a visit to Lord Carrington, at Melton Mowbray, passed through Leicester Station, last evening, en route to that place … a considerable number of persons, including not a few ladies, had assembled to see His Royal Highness, and Mr Farndale, the Chief Constable, had a detachment of police on the spot to maintain order. The Prince, who was attired in a light suit and deerstalker hat, and was smoking a cigar, was greeted with cheers when the train arrived. …


The Leicester Daily Post, 17 April 1873: THE RETIREMENT OF MR PAGET FROM THE MAGISTERIAL CLERKSHIP. …  Mr FARNDALE also took the opportunity of acknowledging the many kindnesses he had received from Mr Paget. He (Mr Farndale) had been in the police service for about twelve years, and during that time had been connected with many police courts, and had to work with many magistrate’s clerks, but from none of them had he received more kindness and assistance than from Mr Paget. He was sure he spoke the feelings of every member of the force when he expressed regret at his leaving, and hoped he might live long to enjoy that quiet and happiness to which his long service had so well entitled him. MR PAGET, who was almost inaudible, said the expressions of confidence which one and all had uttered had been extremely gratifying to him … He could not sit down without returning his thanks to Mr Farndale and the police for their kindness


The Northern Echo, 17 May 1873: PRESENTATION TO THE CHIEF CONSTABLE OF MIDDLESBROUGH. In a speech by Edward Saggerson, their Chief Constable: With regard to the men who have served here, Superintendent Farndale, Inspector Horne, Mr Hopper, workhouse master, and others. We cannot all rise to better positions, but still there is not a man in the force but may improve his position, promotion is always to be obtained by good conduct and energy


The Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette advertised: Leicester Borough Police. Wanted for the above Force, a few smart intelligent men, between 21 and 30 years of age, to stand clear 5 feet 8 inches without shoes. Must be able to read and write and be free from all bodily complaint. Wages on appointment, 21s 6d, after six months, 22s 6d, advancing 26s, according to conduct and ability. The usual supply of clothing with two pair of boots annually. Hours of duty 8 hours per day. One pint of hot coffee is served out to each man on night duty throughout the year. Application with testimonials to be sent to Mr. J Farndale, Chief Constable, Town Hall, Leicester.


The Leicester Daily Post, 19 July 1873: LEICESTER BOROUGH POLICE V COVENTRY CITY POLICE. A match between eleven men of Leicester Borough Constabulary and a like number of Coventry City Force, was played on the Bull Fields Ground, Coventry, yesterday, and resulted in a glorious victory for the Leicester team. The Leicester men left at 8am for Coventry, accompanied by their respected Chief, Mr Farndale.


The Leicester Daily Post, 1 August 1873: LEICESTER BOROUGH POLICE ANNUAL HOLIDAY: … When the first lot had done justice to the good things provided, the second party partook of a similar repast. The afternoon was spent in the most enjoyable manner, Mr Farndale, who arrived at the Park about two o’clock, and Rev A A Isaacs, doing what they could to add to the pleasure of the men and their fair companions. After an excellent tea, the company adjourned to the green, and the remainder of the evening passed in singing, dancing etc, the band of course, tending considerably to enliven the proceedings. Before starting on the return journey at eight o’clock, Mr Farndale, in a few appropriate remarks, returned the thanks to Mr Isaacs on behalf of the men, stating how much they appreciate and valued his kindness. Mr Isaacs suitably replied, remarking that the day had been one of the most pleasant in the whole year to him. He was very glad to see Mr and Mrs Farndale present, as it had been the first occasion on which the chief had accompanied the men


The Leicester Daily Post, 9 August 1873: … Now that the plans have been accepted for the new Municipal Buildings, and everything seems in a fair way for operations being commenced, people in the town, who will have to find the where with all, are beginning to grumble and ask what advantage the erection will be to the general public when finished? True it is that the civic rulers may have a chance of “reclining on velvet lining, with sunlight floating o’er” instead of the hard cane bottomed chairs with which they have now to be content. The local bench will then dispense justice in a place consistent with their dignity; Mr Farndale will have a residence befitting his position; and all his subordinates in any way connected with the conduct of town affairs will be able to discharge their duties with more satisfaction to the public and comfort to themselves. This is all as it should be, and there are very few ratepayers who begrudge it


The Leicester Daily Post, 20 September 1873: RAID UPON ALLEGED BETTING MEN IN LEICESTER. Mr Farndale said that morning under warrant, he entered the house of Thomas Oakey Potter, known as the Admiral Nelson, in Humberstone Gate, and found the landlord and the other five defendants in the bar. Inspectors Hickinbottom and Langdale accompanied him, and he told them to search the defendant Potter’s house. The officers were now present, with books and papers relating to betting which had been found upon the defendants.


The Leicester Journal, 7 November 1873: A very interesting document has just been issued by Mr. J Farndale Chief Constable of Police for the Borough of Leicester. It is the annual return of criminal and miscellaneous statistics for 12 months in connection with the Borough Police, and is published at the request of the Watch Committee. From this document we learned that during the year ending the 29th September last, a decrease has taken place, both an indictable offences, and cases summarily disposed of. 116 indictable offences were reported to the police for the year, and 94 apprehensions ensued. The total number of persons apprehended, summoned, and summarily disposed of during the year (exclusive of 414 civil cases such as arrears of poor rates, bastardy etc )was 2,385. Of these 1,751 were apprehended and 634 summoned. Of these 1,543 were males, and 302 females. The number of drunken cases disposed of was 464, and of common assaults 456. There has been an increase in the number of juvenile offenders. The want of an industrialist school for this class has been much felt, and arrangements have now been made for the school board with one or more schools to which such children can be sent, and their parents compelled to contribute to their support. Mr Farndale adds that the New Licencing Act has been productive of much good in Leicester. There is a decrease of 26 drunken cases compared with last year, and taking into account the increase of population, high wages, and other causes, this decrease is very considerable. The offences by publicans and beer sellers have decreased from 29 to 8. The streets are now much quieter at an earlier hour; midnight brawls are rarely heard of now; and all the sweet wine shops, many of which were used as common brothels, have been closed. So far then as Leicester is concerned, it is gratifying to find the New Licencing Act works favourably...


The Leicester Daily Post, 8 November 1873: THE RETIRING MAYOR OF LEICESTER: … The Mayor: … Mr Farndale, the Chief of Police, has always been at his post here and done his duty in the most admirable manner, and has been well up in those cases he has had to bring before us. We are much indebted to those officers for the manner in which they have discharged their duties. It is a gratification to find from Mr Farndale’s report – and a very excellent report it is – that there has been a decrease in the number of cases of drunkenness before the court …



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                                                                                                                                                                            Leicester’s popular police band at the turn of the centruy, with an open topped tram in the background


In 1873 Chief Constable Joseph Farndale formed the Leicester Borough Police brass band and over the succeeding years they gave concerts in the town’s public parks.


An article in the Leicester Mercury, on 7 June 1982 recalled: The band played on – 40 years later. The wistful little poem lamenting the passing of Leicester 's police band in 1906 prompted several of my readers to send further information and one of them pointed out that the band was reformed after the last war, only to be axed again 10 years later. ... Mr Clifford R Stanley, an authority on local police history has a great deal more information about the first band, formed in 1874. It was the brainchild of Mr Joseph Farndale, Leicester 's third chief constable, he went on to become Chief Constable of Birmingham, and was shortlisted for the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s job. Mr Stanley says the bandsmen were given a gratuity of 40 or 50 shillings a year to encourage recruitment. They played many civic ceremonies, and gave concerts in the park grandstands. Mr. John A Smith, former bandmaster of the Leicester volunteer band was in charge of the three sergeants and 14 constables and later Inspector Theodore Geary (who later became deputy chief constable) took control. Councillor W E Hinks opposed the continuance of the band and the watch committee were told that, in 1905, 10,000 hours of police time was spent in rehearsal and performance. They were told that £304 subscriptions from 948 people included cash from 287 who were linked with the licencing trade. Despite fierce protests from the public, the band was discontinued …




The Leicester Guardian, 25 February 1874: ANNIVERSARY DINNER OF THE LEICESTER POLICE FORCE. Inspector Newell spoke … They had many privileges since Mr Farndale had been in their midst, which they did not previously enjoy. In fact before Mr Farndale came, he had only had one Sunday in 22 years, and the last was when he went to the Dublin Exhibition in 1851, but now he had one every month. He had therefore great pleasure in proposing the health of Mr Farndale – the toast was drunk with enthusiasm, the band playing “For he’s a jolly good fellow.” Tune by the Band: “We’ll run ‘em in” which was received with applause. MR FARNDALE:, in responding, said he begged to tender his heartfelt thanks for the kind manner in which they had drunk his health. Hr felt that the proposer had said a great deal more of him than he was entitled. He might say however that since he had been there he had endeavoured to do his duty to the best of his ability, both to the public and to the force, and judging from the way they had received the toast, he might fairly conclude that he had, to some extent, succeeded with them.


The Leicester Guardian, 6 May 1874: THE LATE ALD ELLIS. The funeral took place on Thursday morning, at the cemetery… About thirty members of the Borough Police Force, under the direction of Chief Constable Farndale, assembled a guard of honour, being stationed on either side of the principal carriage roads on the Cemetery.


The Leicester Daily Post, 14 November 1874: WATCH COMMITTEE The Watch Committee beg to report that, having received an application from the Chief Constable for an increase in his salary, they directed information to be procured from the town clerks of all boroughs with a population of from 50,000 to 150,000 in habitants as to the amount of direct and indirect salary paid to their chief of police, and having regard to the information received, and also the very satisfactory manner in which Mr Farndale performs the duties of his office, they recommend the Council increase his salary from £250 to £350 per annum…. Now, in regard to Mr Farndale, they had in him a most valuable officer … and it was the unanimous opinion of the profession that Mr Farndale was most deserving of the increase proposed  Since the appointment of Mr Farndale the borough had increased and, he was happy to say, was increasing daily, and almost hourly around them. … He was sure it was the opinion of all present that Mr Farndale was, in every sense, a truly efficient officer, and the duties that were cast upon him in the investigation of crime and the brining of criminals to justice was indeed a very serious matter, and he thought that if they were to look through all the towns of England they would not find a more truly efficient person than Mr Farndale. He could tell them candidly that Mr Farndale’s knowledge of the duties, not only of his office, but his general knowledge of the criminal law, and the rules of evidence, and what was necessary in order to establish a case, was, he might almost say,. Perfect – equal to that of a professional man.


The Leicester Chronicle, 31 October 1874: In a letter to the Editor complaining about Councillor Neale: … Is it true, also, that in a committee of the Council last week, he voted for an advance of £100 upon the present high salary of Mr Farndale? Unless he satisfactorily answers these questions, of grave importance to myself and fellow rate payers, I, for one, shall strenuously oppose the election of a man who allows his private interest to dictate such a squandering of public money. Awaiting an immediate answer. I beg to subscribe myself A Burgess.


The Leicester Chronicle, 14 November 1874: THE HEAD CONSTABLE’S SALARY. While admitting as fully as his greatest admirer the ability and efficiency of Head Constable Farndale, it was with something like amazement I read that by a majority of 32 to 13 his salary has been suddenly raised from £250 to no less than £350. In vain I have searched for a valid reason which would justify such a large increment; and so far as I can discover the only solution of the sudden impulse of extravagant liberality was in the circumstances that the magistrates and alderman had declared it to be necessary, in order to avert the suggested possibility of losing Mr Farndale's services. That the Head Constable should thus be virtually told that the Corporation are determined to retain his services at hazards, and at any sacrifice of the public rates is simply scandalous, and only proves to what prodigal profusion our municipal magistrates and aldermen may be impelled by an almost total freedom from representative responsibility. Had the 10 Alderman who so generously voted away other people's money being compelled to give an account of their stewardship to the ratepayers, it is very doubtful indeed whether Head Constable Farndale would now be rejoicing in the possession of a comparatively easy berth, with the handsome gross income of £420 a year.


The Leicester Journal, 25 December 1874 reported the Criminal Returns of the Leicester Police.


Mr Farndale, the chief constable of Leicester, has just published the third annual report on the state of crime and police establishment of the borough for the year ending 29 September 1874. There are 73 houses of bad character, some of which are common brothels of the lowest order. During the past year a clause has been inserted in the Leicester Improvement Act 1874 empowering the corporation to make such bylaws for the suppression of this evil as they may deem necessary. If the council would get the above clause passed into law, he would endeavour, as far as possible to close all disorderly houses, which are a nuisance to the inhabitants.


During the year 2,431 persons have been dealt with by the justices (exclusive of 579 civil cases, such as arrears of poor rates, bastardy etc). Of those 1,281 were apprehended and 1,150 summoned. Of the prisoners apprehended and charged and with indictable offences and those summarily disposed of, 1,196 were males, and 176 females, 1,232 were English, 95 Irish, 1 Welsh, 29 Scotch, and 16 foreigners. 430 could neither read nor write, 325 could only do so imperfectly, 582 could read and write, 29 could do so well, and 7 had been well educated. 972 were of good character although unknown to the police, 104 were designated suspicious characters, 155 known thieves, 18 common prostitutes, 68 habitual drunkards, and 56 vagrants and tramps, 500 were natives of Leicester, 330 strangers, 57 had resided in the town 12 months and under two years, 39 two years and under three years, 43 years and under four, 24 four years and less than five, and 293 five years and upwards.


He was glad to be able to report a further decrease in the number of drunken cases, also in offences by publicans. This improved state of things is attributed, the chief constable said, to the New Licencing Act, and the action of the magistrates at the Brewster Sessions during the last two or three years in withholding the licences of all persons who had been guilty of serious violations at the law. The course adopted by the justices in these cases has, in his opinion, vastly improved the conduct of public houses generally. It had awakened the owners of this class of property to a sense of their position, and caused them to be much more careful in selecting tenants, and in the manner in which they conduct their houses. Respecting drunkenness, comparing Leicester with 28 towns of a population of 50,000 inhabitants and upwards, the chief constable finds, with seven exceptions, it has the lowest percentage of drunken cases; but it is only fair to say that in Leicester they do not proceed against persons for simple drunkenness, those charged before the magistrates are all either drunk and disorderly or drunk and incapable. The Licencing Act 1874 has made but little difference in Leicester; The clause that were complained of and repealed were never enforced here. There was however one clause in the amended Act which the chief constable is afraid will be found to work very mischievously where people are inclined to break the law. He refers to the publican being allowed to entertain his friends during prohibited hours. He had already some proof of this. There was another matter connected with the Licencing Acts which the chief constable thinks requires immediate attention, viz, licences to sell beer not to be consumed on the premises. He is of opinion that magistrates should have the same discretionary power in granting or refusing of these licences as they have in all others. At the present time, if the house in respect of which a licence is applied for be worth £15 a year, and nothing be known against the character of the applicant, the Justices are bound to grant the licence, though in many cases it is very undesirable that they should do so, in as much as many of these houses have no separate yard, but one in common with several other houses. By closing the yard door they may supply liquor to the neighbours without much fear of being detected, and it is no uncommon thing for large numbers of people to visit these houses joining a beer house of this class, on Sunday mornings, no doubt for the purpose of drinking. These places are rapidly increasing, nearly 20 new licences being granted annually. Before leaving this subject he calls the attention of the authorities to the rapid spread of liquor vaults in the town. These places are admitted by most people, including many of the leading members of the trade, to be a great nuisance, and productive of much mischief. If a by law were passed prohibiting any such alteration being made in licenced premises without first obtaining the sanction of the local authorities, it would, he was sure, be of great benefit and much appreciated by the public.


The only other class of offence calling for such special remark is the increase of the number of assaults, both on police officers and other persons, more particularly husbands assaulting their wives. If in these cases, where great violence is proved to be committed, corporal punishments could be administered in addition to imprisonment, a diminution in these offences would in his opinion soon follow.


The value of property reported stolen within the borough during the year and the amount to have been recovered by the police compared very favourably with previous years. This the chief constable considers, was mainly due to having had placed at his disposal the necessary funds for the purpose of pursuing and apprehending offenders. The chief repeats his recommendation of last year, respecting branch police stations and informs the Watch Committee that on the 14th ult he had a letter from the Government Inspector, inquiring if anything had been done towards providing district or outlying station houses and in reply he informed him that it was now under the consideration of the Watch Committee. For the better protection of the borough, he recommends that some branch police stations be established. In all large boroughs, and in many smaller towns than Leicester, they have had district stations for years, and all the chief constables with whom he is acquainted strongly recommend them. The benefit that would arise if this were done must be apparent to everyone. Take, for instance, the bottom of Belgrave Road: a man is apprehended for drunkenness, if he is at all a obstreperous, it will take at least two men to take him to the station, and in a crowded thoroughfare like Belgrave Gate, some hundreds and sometimes thousands of people are collected, the officers are very roughly handled, stones thrown, and the greatest disorder prevails and all along the route, to the great annoyance and danger of the inhabitants. If a small station were built there, this would all but obviate it, and instead of requiring two officers one would be sufficient, and he would be back on his beat in a few minutes, whereas now two beats are frequently left unprotected for an hour and upwards. The same remarks apply to other parts of the town.


On the 19th March last year Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary for this district made his annual inspection and expressed himself well satisfied with the efficiency and discipline of the force.


In conclusion the chief constable had much pleasure in stating that the general conduct of the officers and constables during the year had been most satisfactory. The strength of the police forces 107, including the head constable, 14 sergeants, four detectives and 84 men.




The Leicester Chronicle, 2 January 1875: There are one or two instructive features in connection with the criminal returns for the past year which are apt to be overlooked inasmuch as they can only be perceived by contrasting the details of Head Constable Farndale’s returns for the past year with those of his predecessor


The Leicester Chronicle, 20 February 1875: DISASTROUS FIRE IN LEICESTER. The large factory of Messrs Hands and Scampton, in Heanor Street, which was destroyed by fire about five years ago, and reconstructed, was burnt to the ground on Wednesday and damage committed to the extent of about £8,000. … A posse of police under Head Constable Farndale proved of considerable service in keeping back an eager crowd, and so facilitating the operations of the brigades.


The Leicester Journal, 26 February 1875: TOWN TALK AND STREET ECHOES. The Inspector makes one suggestion which we trust the Town Council will see its way clear to adopt. The same suggestion had been previously made by Chief Constable Farndale, and is one which it is highly essential should be speedily carried out. We refer to the establishment in various localities of divisional station houses, so that the constables may not be taken off their beats so far as to the central police station on every apprehension.


The Hinckley News, 15 May 1875. In an article about poor quality meat … The meat was destroyed; part of it was given to Mr Farndale’s dog, and three quarters and the head he saw boiled up for the pigs of Mr Gibbs


The Leicester Journal, 11 June 1875: Chief Constable Farndale is very desirous to have branch stations, but for some unexplained cause the Council hesitates to comply with his wish. When a police officer is severely injured in the discharge of his duty, then we suppose something in this direction will be done, but until then our sluggish Corporation prefers to wait.


The Leicester Chronicle, 2 October 1875: ALARMING PETROLEUM EXPLOSION IN LEICESTER. A petty quarrel, but one of serious interest to the public, came before the Leicester Magistrates at the Town Hall on Friday. According to the statements of the Head Constable (Mr Farndale) and the parties, it appears that a few days ago Councillor Wilford gave an order to a London firm for four large casks of petroleum, which were to be sent via the Grand Junction Canal to Leicester, where, it seems, Mr Wilford expected they would be stored by the company. The highly explosive materials arrived in due course, and were tendered to Mr Wilford on Thursday, but he refused delivery, the law forbidding that such large quantities of so dangerous a liquid should be kept in a populous part. The drayman knowing the nature of the consignment, refused to take back the casks, and deposited them in the street. The agent of the Canal Company called upon Mr Wilford, ad offered to send the goods back to London, provided he gave a re-consignment note, remarking that he was prevented from storing the goods by the same law that affected Mr Wilford. This Mr Wilford refused to do until he had communicated with the firm in London of whom he had ordered the petroleum. Meanwhile Mr Farndale had his attention called to the obstruction in the street, and warned the parties to appear before the magistrates, and they accordingly did so, after the safety of those in the neighbourhood had been in danger for a considerable time. The parties, setting upon the advice of the magistrates agreed – Mr Wilford to give a re-consignment note, and the other to have the casks removed by one o’clock that day. The matter appeared to end there, but it seems that the parties had only agreed to differ; for it is said that on the company calling for the casks Mr Wilford refused to allow one of his men to assist in loading them, and the drayman went off and left them in the street. Any man might, while lighting his pipe, throw an ignited match on the barrels which now lie in St Nicholas square, and the result be a disastrous explosion, such as has never been witnessed in Leicester, and equal to that which occurred a short time ago, from the same substance, on the Regent’s Canal.


The Leicester Chronicle, 25 December 1875: CHRISTMAS. Head Constable Farndale, with a view to maintaining order in the streets of the borough on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, has issued a handbill stating that the police have received instructions to take proceedings against persons behaving in a disorderly manner at the times specified.




The Leicester Chronicle, 6 May 1876: Alleged Gambling. John Yealy was charged with permitting gaming on his licenced premises, the Loughborough House, Church Gate, on the 15th April. Mr. Wright defended. Mr Farndale stated that the defendant had promised to do away with the skittle alley if the charge was not preceded with, and under the circumstances he wished the magistrates to allow him to withdraw from the case. Mr. Wright stated that he had a complete answer to the case. The bench allowed the application of Mr Farndale. and Tuesday before W Rowlett Esq. Remand. Mary Ann White, a respectably dressed girl, was charged with stealing money from several schoolchildren on the previous day. On the application of Mr Farndale, who stated that the children from whom the money had been taken were very young, and that their evidence would require to be corroborated by other persons, the prisoner was remanded until Thursday.


The Leicester Chronicle, 27 May 1876, in a letter to the editor regarding the use of handcuffs: … When my sentence was passed, I respectfully requested the magistrates to permit me to be taken direct to prison. Instead I was kept for four hours in one of those beastly cells at the police station.  On my release I asked Mr Farndale why I was handcuffed, and he replied that all convicted prisoners are handcuffed, and that as he had no special instructions in my case I was necessarily treated as any other convicted prisoner would be. My opinion is that the odium rests with the magistrates, though I can hardly reconcile Mr Farndale’s statement with the fact that even convicted prisoners have been (to my knowledge) sometimes removed unmanacled – even as lately as a week last Wednesday. I remain, dear Sir, Yours respectfully

ONE OF THE PRISONERS, Leicester, May 24th, 1876


The Leicester Chronicle, 29 July 1876: Leicester Police Force Excursion. The members of the Leicester Police Force, through the kindness of the Rev A A Isaacs, vicar of Christ Church, and several friends, enjoyed their annual outing on Tuesday. The party met at the Town Hall in the morning, the men being accompanied by their wives and sweethearts, numbering altogether 123. Six conveyances took the party, headed by the excellent band of the force, to Beaumanor, where refreshments were served in a large marquee. After dinner the party visited Bardon Hill, and both before and after tea engaged in dancing, to the strains of the band. Before leaving, three cheers were given for the Rev A A Isaacs, who accompanied the party, and also for Mr Farndale, the excellent head constable. The party returned to the town in the evening greatly delighted with their day's excursion, which was rendered all the more enjoyable by the fineness of the weather.


The Leicester Daily Mercury, 7 August 1876, at the opening of the new town hall: A procession was then formed in the following order: Mounted policeman. Rifle volunteer band. Foresters’ banner. Robin Hood, Friar Tuck and the little foresters in regalia. Band. Banner of Saint Mary's Lodge of Nottingham Oddfellows. Several members in characterful. Banner of the Georgian and Dragon Lodge. Drum and Fife band. Banner of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows. Members in Regalia. Banner of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes. Members in regalia carrying small banners of the Prince of Wales, Royal Alfred, Marquis of Lorne, Sir Henry Pearce, Duke of Marlborough, King and Crown, Tichborne, Good Samaritan, and Shakespeare :odges, and lastly a banner containing a representation of Shakespeare himself. The members were loudly applauded. 3 Mounted Police. Firemen on two engines, holding hose, decorated with flowers. Lamplighters with poles, the top of each being surmounted with flowers. Yeomanry cavalry band. Representatives of the press. Leading tradesmen of the town. Head Constable

Farndale on horseback. School board officers. Members of the school board. Members of the Corporation. Borough magistrate clerks. Borough magistrates. Carriage containing mayors of four neighbouring towns. Great Mace bearer....




The Rutland Echo and Leicestershire Advertiser, 8 June 1877: Promenade concert on Leicester racecourse. A few evenings ago the members of the Borough Police Band, numbering in the aggregate 24 performers, under their talented conductor, Mr J A Smith, commenced this vernal season’s campaign with a soiree musicale in that aromatic Elysian field, where, on a scorching summer day, loungers may be seen in a state of apathetic listlessness and total prostration of energy, which the vox populi of the delectable town by universal consent have christened a recreation ground. The programme was varied and excellently chosen, and it is almost superfluous to say that all the instrumentalists sustained their parts admirably, and this, the first concert alfresco, was rendered more attractive by the appearance of the band for the first time in their new silver braided caps, which closely resembled the shakos of the celebrated zouaves of the French army, and which have been supplied by Mr Underwood, of Granby Street, who not only executed this order, as well as a previous one for helmets, to the satisfaction of the Watch Committee, and imparted a dignity and grace to the ‘colour’ of the gallant regiment whom we are accustomed to see every day in blue uniform and white buttons, and who like ‘birds of a feather flock together’ very often in the stately drawing room of Farndale's Hotel. Correspondent.


The Leicester Journal, 31 August 1877: THE TRAFFIC IN ITALIAN CHILDREN.  Mr Blunt then addressed the Bench, and said it would hardly be necessary for him to enter into the legal question, as Mr Farndale, the Chief Constable had already received a communication from Mr Crowe on the subject


The Leicester Journal, 16 November 1877: A TESTIMONIAL TO COL BURNABY. Mr R Waterfield has addressed a long letter to the papers, thanking the late Mayor (Alderman Winterton), the Town Council and Mr Farndale, in the name of the Veterans, for what was done in connection with the late banquet, and suggesting a fund should be raised to present Colonel Burnaby with an address on vellum, and a life-size sized portrait, and also to present Staff Instructor Manship with a silver cup.


The Leicester Journal, 28 December 1877: THE LATE ASSAULT OF A WIFE. DEATH OF THE VICTIM. On Friday evening, last week, between five and six o’clock, Mr Hetley, house surgeon at the Infirmary, intimated to the police authorities that a considerable change for the worse had taken place in the condition of Mrs White, who had been severely burned through her husband throwing a lamp at her on Saturday night last. Mr Farndale at once sent a cab for Mr W Rowlett JP and another for Mr Blackwell, the magistrate’s clerk, in order that depositions of the woman might be taken, and the husband of the woman was also conveyed to the Infirmary so that he might be present




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The Police Gazette on Monday 18 March 1878: Description of a man committed to the Leicester Borough gaol on 11th instant, for 21 days, on a charge of attempting to pick pockets in the market: James Brown, fictitious name, 32 years of age, 5 feet 3 1/2 inches high, brown eyes, light brown hair, turning grey, pale complexion, blue scar centre of chest, large mole under left breast, mole on left side of back, three moles on left hip, scar centre of forehead, blue dot on left forearm, and large burn mark on right wrist, about 1 1/2 inches in size; dressed in a light grey broken check coat, with pocket on the hips, nearly new, Scotch tartan patterned trousers and waistcoat, blue and dark green squares, dark grey twill serge overcoat, with velvet collar, blue and black striped necktie, hard black billycock hat, and elastic sided boots, much worn; Is no doubt a travelling thief, and appears to know Birmingham well, gave an address at 16 York Street, Leeds. Information to be given to Chief Constable Farndale, Central Police Station, Town Hall, Leicester. Bow street, March 13.


The Hinckley News, 11 May 1878: The Review was held on Friday on the race course, under the inspecting officer, and in the presence of five or six thousand people. The Regiment, in their handsome full dress, left the market place shortly after ten o’clock, accompanied to the review ground by a large concourse of persons. Having been formed up into a huge square, which was carefully kept by a large posse of police under Chief Superintendent Farndale, the review opened by the Regiment marching past the saluting point in review order, walking, trotting, and then walking past in Indian file. This was all done in good style, the trot being very creditable to the riders. In going past in Indian file several horses became unmanageable, and this, to some extent, spoilt the general effect of the movement. Several miscellaneous evolutions followed with respect to various formations by the respective squadrons. In these the wheeling was but very indifferently performed


The Leicester Chronicle, 1 June 1878: … Leicester is about to become a place of some little importance, through having been chosen as the most fitting place in the midland counties for a military centre. As many military gentlemen with their families will thus soon settle down in our midst, and as we have also the attraction of the Leicestershire hunting grounds, I think the time has arrived when Leicester might be supplied with a corps of commissionaires. It might be organised under the same rules and regulations as those in force in London, and other large towns, and even in Nottingham, where they have been established for some time. Our Head Constable, Mr Farndale, whose influence is felt and appreciated, could act as its chief, and under his careful supervision some useful and trustworthy men could be brought together and employed by the public


The Leicester Journal, 12 July 1878: REMOVAL OF PRISONERS. The MAYOR read a recommendation from the Borough Justices that Mr Farndale be allowed £1 a week on his undertaking to make all necessary arrangements for the removal of prisoners to and from the Gaol. … Mr Farndale was responsible to the magistrates for the conveyance of the prisoners to the gaol, and he had made arrangements with Colonel Milman to allow him the use of the county van, the borough van being in a dilapidated state … It was the business of the magistrates to see that the prisoners were conveyed to the gaol, and Mr Farndale, as their servant, was responsible for this being done … Alderman Paget said Mr Farndale was undoubtedly the best man to whom the management of this plan could be entrusted. He did not see why it might not be left in his hands, allowing him to charge the Council for the horse, the van, and the driver, so he might command their services from time to time. They would not wish that Mr Farndale should lose anything by this duty, neither was it desirable that it should be made a source of profit to him. … The MAYOR in replying said Mr Farndale would buy the horse and keep it … The Justices considered this would be an economic arrangement, and he was quite certain that Mr Farndale would gain nothing from it.


The Leicester Chronicle, 28 December 1878: THE PRIVILEGES OF POLICE CONSTABLES. To the Editor. Sir, I wish to ask, through your journal, whether it is lawful for a policeman to enter the home of any person without authority? I think not. On the 9th inst two police constables came to my house, and tore from me my son. They were not, moreover, in any way civil. My wife was at home when they arrived. The neighbours came to the help of the mother, and would not let them take the boy. When I reached home the neighbours told me that one of the officers pulled off his coat, and used objectionable language. All this was done without authority. I asked them for their warrant, not being willing to let the lad go, but they told me that they had orders from Mr Farndale, and that I rendered myself liable to three months imprisonment for interfering with an officer in the discharge of his duty. I consequently let them take the boy. I contend that no man has the right to enter a house on such a mission unless he has on his uniform, or has a warrant. If it were otherwise a man might go to any house, and say he had been sent by Mr Farndale to search the dwelling. The people might then give way to him, and thus be robbed. My boy had done nothing but abscond from the smack owners. His case is very hard indeed. Mr Dexter, one of the men who fetched my boy, said there was 10s reward and that he might as well have it as anyone else. It was thus for the sake of the money they took my boy, though there was no warrant from Grimsby at the time. My son was kept at the police station at Leicester for five days and five nights apparently without authority. But they let these smack owners know, and the warrant came on Saturday. He had then been there four days and nights with no light. They cannot now apprentice boys without their parent’s consent; But we cannot free those who have been bound unless we buy them off. One person in Leicester has asked a smack owner of Grimsby what he would take to liberate his son, and he demanded no less than £35. If some person of influence would take the matter up, they might show us parents in Leicester how to gain back the boys who have been decoyed away. In conclusion, I may say that if I was to take the liberty a constable did in my case, they would take me before the magistrates, and I should be punished. I am yours respectfully, Thomas William Riley. 189 Argyle street, Leicester, 23 December 1878.




The Leicester Daily Mercury, 15 August 1879: Leicester Police Holiday. On Thursday the members of the Borough Police force held their annual holiday at Great Glenn, the residence of the mayor. The band of the force proceeded by the conveyance, and a portion of the men went by the 9.30am train, another section following by the afternoon train. A substantial lunch having been partaken of, a cricket match was played between the Police Force and a team from Great Glenn., resulting in a victory for the former. … the party, which was subsequently joined by Mr Joseph Farndale, the Chief Constable.


The Leicester Journal, 19 September 1879: PRESENTATION TO HEAD CONSTABLE FARNDALE: On Wednesday last, a presentation was made to the Head Constable of the Borough Police Force (Mr. J Farndale), by the men under his command. The Head Constable has recently been taking his holiday, and during his absence a subscription was entered into by the members of the force for the purpose of presenting him with a token of their attachment to him as their superior officer. Sufficient money was spontaneously raised to enable the promoters of the movement to purchase a very handsome and massive black marble twenty one day timepiece, with bronze and gilt ornaments. The timepiece, which was procured from the shop of Mr Russell, Humberston Gate, was greatly admired. At half past one o’clock on Wednesday, nearly the whole of the members of the force, who had assembled in the muster room for the purpose of receiving their weekly wages, were formed into three sides of a square, when Head Constable Farndale was apprised of the fact the men desired to present him with a testimonial.


Inspector Bayley, in making the presentation, said...   It was not until four or five days after the Head Constable left Leicester for his holiday excursion, that the subscription was opened, and in the short time which elapsed prior to his return, the testimonial was purchased, which proved the good feeling all had towards their superior officer. He trusted Mr and Mrs Farndale, and son, would live long and prosper, and that the clock before them possessed as good a mainspring to regulate its movements as Mr Farndale had to regulate the police force. He was sure the Head Constable would then have no occasion to complain of its inaccuracy....


Sergeant Poultney said during the seven or eight years Mr Farndale had been amongst them, he had gained the good feeling of every member of the force by the straightforward and honest manner in which he dealt with the men. If a man did his duty, he found himself rewarded, as was proved by the fact that no less than five or six men who had belonged to the force under the command of Mr Farndale, had been appointed to the office of chief constables in other towns. On the other hand, if a man did not do his duty, he got what was called ‘the straight tip’; or rather, he was cautioned, and received another opportunity of pulling himself together by better conduct. He hoped Mr Farndale would live long to look upon the timepiece, and that he would value it not on account of its intrinsic worth, but on account of the good feeling it manifested towards him (applause).


The time piece which bore the following inscription: “Presented to Joseph Farndale, Esq, Chief Constable, by the officers and constables of the Leicester Borough police force, as a mark of esteem and regard; 17th September 1879” was then handed to the Head Constable by Mr Bayley.


Mr Farndale, who was received with a loud applause, in reply said: Mr Bayley and brother officers, I feel utterly unable to thank you for the presentation you have been good enough to make to me today. I have been so completely taken by surprise that I feel I shall not be able adequately to express to you my feelings for the handsome timepiece ... I came to the town, when the force was not so large as now by 30 men. This shows the good results of our meetings. At those meetings I have always endeavoured to impress upon you the fact that you have not only to look to me for instructions and orders, but to regard me as a brother officer and friend to whom you can come for advice and support. Those of you who have come to me for such advice and support, have not done so in vain. I hope that this good feeling will continue. I am sure nothing will be wanting on my parts to add to your comforts, and to assist you in every way, and thus commend myself to your good opinions. I thank you particularly for the time you I've chosen to present me with this handsome timepiece, as it is an extremely gratifying welcome on my return from my holiday. I trust I may live amongst you for many years to come. I have had one very advantageous opportunity of leaving Leicester, but as Mr Bayley has said, this is a large and prosperous town, and I have received in it nothing but kindness since I have been here, not only from the inhabitants generally, but the members of the police force, and I begin to feel as though I should be leaving home were I to go away from Leicester. I should be sorry to leave Leicester, and so long as I am treated in the kind manner I am by you, and the inhabitants generally, I don't think I shall be likely to do so, (loud applause). I beg to return you my most sincere thanks, and also for the kind way in which my wife and son had been spoken of. My boy is present with us, and I have no doubt these proceedings will have a lasting impression upon his mind, for to him will be the timepiece handed down as an heirloom (loud applause).


The Derbyshire Times, 4 October 1879: the Leicester Journal of last week has been kindly sent me by a friend, and I read in it a most pleasing report of a presentation made to a gentleman formerly resident in Chesterfield. Some eight years ago Chief Constable Farndale of Chesterfield, was appointed Chief Constable of the Borough of Leicester. He left Chesterfield respected and regretted, and it is pleasant to find that the good feeling manifested towards him here has been shown in his present home. The men of the Leicester Police Force, taking advantage of Mr Farndale's absence on holiday, opened a subscription amongst themselves, and on his return presented him with a very handsome marble timepiece as a token of their esteem and respect for him, not only as their chief, but as a friend. Well done Leicester.


The Leicester Chronicle, 6 December 1879: Shocking accident at Groby Pool. A Young lady drowned. On Tuesday afternoon, a shocking incident occurred at Groby pool, by which a young lady lost her life, and several other persons had a narrow escape. [At the inquest] the following evidence was given:- Joseph Farndale: I am Chief Constable of the Borough of Leicester. I knew the deceased; she was the daughter of William John Bruis, of Leicester, shoe maker; she was 19 years old.”



The Derbyshire and Chesterfield Herald, 12 June 1880. The Leicester Borough Police have a capital institution, to wit, an annual dinner, and at this attends the Mayor and many members of the Corporation who show their appreciation of that which in too many instances is a much abused body. But my principal object in drawing attention to the fact is that the chief constable of the large borough mentioned is Mr Joseph Farndale, who will be pleasurably remembered as head of the staff of police in Chesterfield some years back, whence he went to Leicester, receiving the appointment above the heads of a large number of candidates. On the occasion of this dinner a most interesting presentation was made to Mr Farndale by chief constables who had served under him. The presentation consisted of a paid of handsome bronze ornaments, on one of which was inscribed the following: “Presented to Joseph Farndale, Esq., Chief Constable of the Borough of Leicester, as a memento of the esteem and gratitude felt by the subscribers, all of whom have had the privilege of serving under him.” The subscribers were Mr G Windle, chief constable of Hanley; Mr G Mercer, chief constable of Colchester, both of whom were members of the Chesterfield Police; Mr C Pole, chief constable of Halifax; Mr D Preston, chief constable of Banbury; Mr J Wilkinson, chief constable of Kendal; Mr J Pemberton, chief constable of Grantham; and Mr C Clarkson, chief constable of Wakefield.


The Derbyshire Times, 31 July 1880: MR FARNDALE. At a meeting of the Leicester Town Council on Tuesday last, the Watch Committee recommended that the salary of Mr Farndale, Chief Constable of that borough be raised from £350 to £450 per annum, there having been no increase for five and a half years. In the discussion on the report Mr Farndale’s services were highly spoken of, and the proposition was carried unanimously. Mr Farndale will be remembered well in Chesterfield, where je held the appointment of Chief Constable, and we congratulate him, as we are sure all who know him will, upon his successful career in the larger town of Leicester.


The Leicester Chronicle, 31 July 1880:  Mr Farndale’s salary. The Watch Committee reported that they had an application for an increase of the salary from Mr Farndale, chief constable, and recommended that in future he should receive £450 instead of £350 a year.


Alderman Anderson moved the adoption of the report, and said it with some satisfaction to know that the committee were unanimous in the recommendation made. The increase was recommended on three grounds, one being on the strength of returns obtained from other towns. At Nottingham, with a population of 168,000, and a police force of 189, the salary of the chief constable was £550 with a deputy having £250. At Newcastle, with 140,000 and a force of 200, the salary of the chief was £525; and at Salford, with 185,000, and a force of 300, £500 a year was paid to the chief constable who was recently appointed. At Birkenhead, with 80,000 people in the force of 117 constables, the salary of the chief was £450; At Blackburn, with 102,000 and a force of 102, £450, also a recent appointment. At Rochdale with 72,000 and a force of 65, £430; At Derby with a population of 80,000 people and 90 men, £400; At Middlesbrough with 52,000 people in 52 men, £367; at Portsmouth, with 134,000 people and 130 men, £362, a recent appointment. At Halifax, with 70,000 and 75 men, £350, the office there being held by Mr Pelley, who was for some time a member of the Leicester force. Mr. Anderson also quoted Plymouth, Bath, Sunderland and Stockport, and said he thought he had brought forward quite enough instances. When Mr Farndale mentioned the matter to him last year, he could not see his way to bring it before the committee, but having considered the subject very carefully he had great pleasure in introducing it now. The committee recommended the increase, secondly, on the ground of the highly satisfactory manner in which Mr Farndale discharged his duties, and the efficiency in which the police force was maintained by him. Five or six men had been taken from the force and placed at the head of other forces in the country, and he had the authority of Colonel Cobb for the statement that the Leicester force was the best that he inspected....


The Daily Telegraph, on Friday 29 Oct 1880: Yesterday a disastrous flood visited Leicester and Leicestershire, which inundated many streets and hundreds of houses, and did a great amount of damage. So quickly did the waters rise that in many cases the inhabitants awoke only to find their houses inundated and the furniture floating about the rooms. On Wednesday night the gas supply in many dwellings was stopped. Work at several factories had to be suspended and traffic was impossible. The Mayor, Mr. John Bennett, the chief constable Mr Farndale, and other officials have visited the inundated districts to tender what aid was possible


The Evening Post, Wednesday 29 Dec 1880: CRIME IN LEICESTERSHIRE. Mr Farndale, chief constable of the Leicester police, has just issued a report in which he states: I have to report a very material decrease in the number of indictable offences committed during the year, in comparison with last year's returns, and a still greater decrease in the number of offences disposed of summarily. This is a subject for congratulation, when the rapid yearly growth of the town is taken into consideration. By referring to the indictable offences, table No 4, it will be seen that there is a decrease of 138 cases in comparison with the returns for 1879. This is mainly attributable to the passing of an Act, entitled the Summary Jurisdiction Act 1879, which came into operation on the 1st of January this year, conferring on magistrates the power of summarily disposing of crimes which previously could only be dealt with on indictment at sessions or assises, thereby reducing the number of indictable offences to a considerable extent. The alteration of the law enlarging the jurisdiction of justices, and giving them power to deal with cases of larceny to the value of 40s, instead of 5s, as heretofore, causes a similar percentage of apprehensions to be shown. The total number of offences reported is 245, and the number of apprehensions for the same is 84, or 34.2%. Had the law remained unaltered, the number of offences shown would have been 270, but the number of apprehensions would have been 109, or 40.3%. Then again, as has been explained in previous reports, the number of crimes detected cannot be gauged by the number of prisoners apprehended, as it frequently happens that a thief has committed several offences, and is convicted of not more than one or two. This number is only shown in the column of total prisoners apprehended, but all the offences he has committed are shown under the heading of total crimes. There is a decrease of 218, or 13.2%, in the number of persons apprehended and a decrease of 218, or 11.6% in the number of persons summoned, making a total decrease of 416. In the former, the decrease is mainly under the heading of drunkenness, the decrease on the offence alone being 113 cases, or 20.1%, less than last year. In the latter, the decrease is partly under the heading of the Elementary Education and Vaccination Acts, and a small decrease in common assaults and breaches of the peaceful stop the aggregate number of persons preceded against during the year was 3,081; last year 3,517.




The 1881 Census recorded that Joseph Farndale, Chief Constable, 38, lived at 94 Municipality Building, Bishop Street, Leicester, with Jane Farndale, his wife, 40; John William Farndale, their son, 12; Alice Bush, a visitor and Naomi Parsons, general domestic servant.


The Leicester Daily Mercury, 8 January 1881: The Public Park in the Abbey Meadow is now being rapidly proceeded with. A contract for the supply of some 16,000 trees has been entered into, and they are being brought to the spot, ready for planting. I hope Mr Farndale will also plant some bobbies there, to take care of them, because there’s a good many new houses being built in the neighbourhood, with gardens which require shrubbing.


The Leicester Chronicle, 15 January 1881: In a letter to the editor: Sir. Who would be a magistrate, and who would be a “bobby”?. The writer has no special leaning to either but is fully alive to the fact that there are magistrates and there are magistrates and there are policemen and there are policemen. … Many times have I heard from the temperance platform, and in a variety of ways, both magistrates, superintendent and police condemned in no measured terms for not assisting to put down drunkenness; and often it has occurred to me that such was the case.. .. Mr Farndale is informed that “casual customers”, or plainer still, casual drunkards, must not be interfered with unless they (the police) have by some mysterious process informed Sampson that the “lion” has already had enough. What nonsense! What would Mr Publican say to a policeman who should thus act? Why, he would tell him to go and mind his business, and serve him right. There is just as much sense, Mr Editor, in Mr Farndale, knowing a rat put, betting house etc, to exist in a certain locality, in order to catch offenders, sending to London for a detective; but prior to his arrival orders one of his Leicester men round the rat pit etc to say what he has done, so they had better look out. When would the evil doers be caught? Let Mr Mereweather answer.


The Leicester Journal, 11 March 1881: ANNUAL DINNER OF THE BOROUGH FIRE BRIGADE. [Superintendent Johnson] proposed “The Health of the Police Force” with which he associated the name of Head Constable Farndale. He did not think there was any other town where the police force was better conducted than in Leicester. The police had to assist the fire brigade in cases of fire, or they would be utterly powerless. He felt grateful to the members of the police for the services they had rendered to the brigade (hear, hear). Head constable FARNDALE in responding said he was glad to know that Supt Jonson found no jar between the police and the fire brigade (hear, hear). It was well that the two bodies should work together in harmony.


The Hinckley News, 19 March 1881: Henry James, a well dressed young man, giving his address as the Temperance Hotel, Moore-street, Birmingham, was charged with stealing a purse from the person of Mrs Susannah Longland, a widow … Mr Farndale informed the Bench that the accused had already undergone a term of six weeks imprisonment for pocket picking – Sentenced to three months’ hard labour.


The Nottingham Evening Post, 1 July 1881: As a fitting conclusion to yesterday’s proceedings a display of fireworks by Mr Pain, of London, whose entertainments are ow so well known and appreciated by the Nottingham public, took place upon the Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, last evening … The police arrangements of the day were of a successful character … Mr J Farndale, the chief constable of Leicester, had under his command 40 men from the Leicester borough police force.


The Leicester Journal, 14 October 1881 reported: Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Leicester show branch. President: His Grace the Duke of Rutland KG. Vice presidents: the Venerable Archdeacon Fearon, Sir A G Hazelrigg, Bart, T T Pagett Esquire MP. The committee of the Society have agreed to provide a properly trained and efficient officer who shall be permanently stationed at Leicester for the purpose of preventing cruelty to animals, and conducting prosecutions both in the Town and County if the sum of £100 a year at least is obtained in subscriptions to pay for the services of the officer, and the cost of prosecutions. A further sum of about £30 will be required to cover printing, advertising and local expenses. Through the kindness of the Mayor, John Bennett Esquire, the under mentioned subscriptions have already been promised and it is earnestly hoped that those who are interested in the promotion of kindness to animals will contribute the remainder of the requisite funds. Mr Farndale, chief constable, has kindly consented to receive subscriptions, or they can be paid to the account of the Society at Pares’s Bank, or to Mr H Burgess, honorary secretary, pro tem, Barridge Street, Leicester, October 1881. Subscriptions already promised... Mr Farndale £1 1s 0d.




In March 1882, Joseph Farndale left the Leicester Force to become Chief Constable of Birmingham. James Duns took over as Chief Constable by which time the salary was increased to £300 per annum plus rent, rates, free coal and uniform.

Chief Constable of Birmingham City Police, 1882 to 1899 (17 years)


Joseph Farndale was appointed to be chief of the Birmingham Police Force on 24 January 1882.


The Birmingham City police force was established by special Act of Parliament in 1839, following chartist rioting. During Joseph’s tenure as Chief Constable, when Birmingham became a city in 1889, the town police became the Birmingham City Police.


Chief Constables of Birmingham City Police included:


1839 – 1842: Captain Francis Burgess

1842 – 1860: Richard Stephens

1860 – 1876: George Glossop

1876 – 1881: Major Edwin Bond

1882 – 1899: Joseph Farndale

1899 – 1935: Sir Charles Haughton Rafter KBE KPM

1935 – 1941: Cecil Charles Hudson Moriarty CBE OBE CStJ

1941 – 1945: Sir William Johnson

1945 – 1963: Sir Edward Dodd

1963 – 1974: Sir William Derrick Capper


Birmingham was granted City status in 1889, so Joseph Farndale was the first Chief Constable of Birmingham City Police.


Having been granted City status Birmingham set about building its own Assize Court. The Victoria Law Courts, in Corporation Street, Birmingham were opened in 1891. At the same time the Police Lock Up in Steelhouse Lane was built, with a tunnel connecting it to the law courts. This Victorian Lock Up remained in continuous use until it closed in 2016. It is now home to the  West Midlands Police Museum. Unless it was during one of his illnesses Joseph Farndale would certainly have been present at the opening.


The West Midlands Police Museum have produced a book on 150 Years of Policing Birmingham.


A History of the Birmingham Police Force, written in 1907 (Birmingham Mail, 13 April 1907):


Our City Police




The Birmingham policeman is an interesting product of evolution. …  the Birmingham police force as now understood is quite a modern institution. It came into being in 1839 under peculiar circumstances, during the trouble troublous times of the chartist riots. The town had, of course, been policed prior to this, but even a century ago there was no regular body of constables or watchmen. Parish constables there were, but their service was often as inadequate as it was unreliable. During the latter part of the 18th century men were employed by the justices to patrol the streets. This arrangement could not have been of a permanent character, for in 1795 a resolution was adopted by the inhabitants expressing the opinion that the time had long since arrived when the two constables were found inadequate to look after public safety. When the street commissioners came into being regular watchmen, “Charlies”, as they were called, were appointed; and when assistance was needed the magistrates simply exercised their right of swearing in special constables. The ordinary arrest of criminals devolved upon the parish constables.


The name of Major Bond, Mr Glossop’s successor, will ever be associated with the Birmingham police. He was a capable officer but he brought himself into disrepute by his crusade against the silent drunkards... The military chiefship was short and eventful and terminated within five years, in 1881. During the Major 's term of office the strength of the force was advanced to 520. To his credit be it said he looked well after his men.


The force was further developed during Mr Farndale’s leadership, which commenced in 1882. It was over 800 strong when he retired, there being one constable to every 683 inhabitants This compares today to a strength of 900 or one officer to every 560 persons. The Ledsam Street dynamite discovery, during Mr Farndale’s regime, brought universal praise on the force. Nitro-glycerine was manufactured in premises extensively used as a paper hanger shop, and a whole gang was captured, and prevented from carrying out a diabolical scheme of explosions at important buildings in London.


The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 25 January 1882: Mr Joseph Farndale, Chief Constable of Leicester, has been appointed chief superintendent of the Birmingham Police Force, at a salary of £700 per annum.


The Gloucester Citizen 25 January 1882: The Birmingham Watch Committee have appointed Mr Joseph Farndale, Chief Constable of Leicester, to the vacant post of Chief Superintendent of the Birmingham Police Force, at a salary of £700 per annum. The other four selected candidates were Captain Orr, of Greenock; Mr Clarkson, Chief Constable of Wakefield; Mr Catbush, Chief Inspector of the Metropolitan Police; and Mr Jervis, Chief Constable of Blackburn.


The Banbury Advertiser, 26 January 1882: APPOINTMENT OF A CHIEF OF POLICE FOR BIRMINGHAM. The five candidates were … Joseph Farndale, aged 37 years, chief constable of Leicester … with the final result that, though all five candidates were considered extremely good men, Mr J Farndale was unanimously elected, on the motion of the Chairman … Mr Farndale was seven years in Middlesbrough police force; for two and a half years he was chief constable for Chesterfield, and he has held his appointment as chief constable for Leicester for over ten years. Mr Farndale’s salary was twice increased since his appointment as chief constable of Leicester, each time by £100, in addition to which an annual allowance of £52 for the expense of a horse was grated to him, bring the value of his office up to about £600 per annum. The salary attached to the chief of police of Birmingham is £700, without allowances of any kind.


The Derbyshire and Chesterfield Herald, 28 January 1882: I am pleased to note that Chief Constable Joseph Farndale, who was for some years the head of the Chesterfield Borough Police Force, and who has since filled the important office of Chief Constable of the Borough of Leicester, has been appointed to the high position of Chief Constable of Birmingham. The post was vacant by the resignation of Major Bond. Mr Farndale’s salary will be £700 a year in his new position. He has had a remarkably successful career as a police officer, but has always won golden opinions from all with whom he has come into contact. Mr Farndale succeeded at Chesterfield Mr Samuel Stevens who has just been appointed Chief Constable of Nottingham. Mr Farndale was one of five candidates out of a large number, the others being Captain Orr, of Greenock, Mr Clarkson, CC of Wakefield, Mr Catbush, chief inspector of Metropolitan police force and Mr Jervis, CC of Blackburn.


The Burnley Express, 28 January 1882: Mr Joseph Farndale, Chief Constable of Leicester, has been appointed chief superintendent of the Birmingham Police Force, at a salary of £700 per annum.


The Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale Herald, 28 January 1882: Mr J Farndale, a native of Whitby, and for many years connected with the Middlesbro’ police force, has been appointed Chief Constable of Birmingham, with a salary of £700 a year.


The Leicester Chronicle, 18 February 1882: PRESENTATION OF AN ADDRESS TO THE LATE CHIEF CONSTABLE. Mr Farndale left Leicester this morning to enter on his duties as Chief Constable of Birmingham. As a token of regard and esteem, the officers and constables of the Borough Force last night presented him with an address, beautifully illuminated on vellum, and enclosed in a handsome frame


A lengthy article follows including the address: Inspector M’Cormick then read the address, as follows: “To Joseph Farndale Esq, Chief Constable of the Borough of Leicester. Respected Sir, We, the Inspectors of Leicester Borough Police, on behalf of all ranks of the Force who have had the honour and pleasure of serving under you, are desirous, on your departure from amongst us, of expressing our unfeigned regret at your removal from the position which you have fulfilled with such honour and credit for the last ten years. Allow us also to tender you our grateful acknowledgement of the many improvements which you have affected in the hours of duty in the efficiency in the general working of the force, as well as for your unwearied efforts for the advancement of our interests in the service, which fact is borne out by the promotion of many of your officers to responsible positions in other towns. Although deeply regretting your removal, we beg to offer you our warmest congratulations on your accession to such an honourable position as that of Chief Constable of the Birmingham Police, one of the most important commands in police forces of the country. It is gratifying to know that amongst the varied and numerous competitors your qualifications were so highly appreciated that you were unanimously appointed, and we venture to think that the Watch Committee of Birmingham have made a choice which they will never have reason to regret. We trust that you may be spared with your family for many years to enjoy the position you have so honourably earned by your untiring energy and perseverance in the performance of your onerous public duties, and we hope that when in a strange town and among strange people you may think with pleasure of the many happy days spent in Leicester, and of the respect, esteem and love felt for you by the officers and constables of the Leicester borough police force. Signed, G Langdale, J Hickinbottom, W Richards, J A M'Cormick, F H Mardlin.”


Mr FARNDALE, who was evidently affected by the reading of the address, thanked the officers and constables for the beautiful present. His leaving Leicester was a subject upon which he could not trust himself to speak, but he might say, after the many substantial marks of respect which he had received from members of the Force, he never anticipated being presented with this beautiful address, which had just been handed to him. He thanked them all. (Applause).


The  Birmingham Daily Post, 17 March 1882: The Chief Constable of Birmingham, Joseph Farndale, was yesterday presented with a silver salver and £200 by the Mayor of Leicester and the Crown Court in the presence of a large number of chiefs of police of Coventry, Rochdale, Grantham, Banbury and Leicester. The Mayor said Birmingham had gained a most worthy chief, who left Leicester with the esteem of the whole community.


The Leicester Chronicle, 18 March 1882 reported: PRESENTATION TO MR FARNDALE. An interesting ceremony took place at the Crown Court at the Town Hall on Thursday where Mr J Farndale, late chief constable of Leicester, and now of Birmingham, was presented with a token of respect and esteem by his numerous friends in this town … A lengthy article follows. He was presented with a silver salver. Many words were said and Joseph Farndale made a reply at length.


There followed an article about the Leicester Borough Police annual dinner at which Joseph Farndale also spoke at length.


The Reading Mercury, 25 March 1882: The chief constable of Birmingham, Mr Joseph Farndale, late of Leicester, was last week presented with a magnificent silver salver and £200, by the Mayor of Leicester.


The South Wales Daily News, 21 April 1882: THE NEXT OF KIN FRAUDS. ARREST OF THE BIRMINGHAM MANAGER. BIRMNGHAM, Thursday. E Beeton, described as the manager of the Birmingham offices of the International Law Agency, was arrested this afternoon at the Fighting Cocks Hotel, Moseley, near Birmingham. The warrants for the arrest were not issued until this afternoon owing to the necessary warrants not having previously been complied with. Immediately after the exposure of the frauds in the press, and it becoming known that in all probability a warrant would be issued for the arrest of Beeton, the detectives, by order of Mr Farndale, chief of police, kept their eye on the whereabouts of the alleged conspirator …


An early issue was that of ‘seditious utterings’ within the police force. The Dundee Evening Telegraph, 10 May 1882: Seditious Utterances by a Constable – The new Chief Constable of Birmingham, Mr Joseph Farndale, who has taken the place of Major Bond, has just made a sharp example of an indiscreet member of the force who had been heard to express sympathy with the perpetrators of the recent outrages in Ireland. The constable, who is a young Irishman, and had not long joined the force, used disloyal words in the presence of some of his colleagues, and the matter was immediately laid before the Chief Constable. The office was reported, and his explanation not being deemed satisfactory, he was called upon to resign. This is the first case of the kind that has ever happened in the Birmingham police force. The prompt action of the chief of police has met with general approval, though the severity of the measure appears to have taken the indiscreet officer completely by surprise.


The Western Gazette, 19 May 1882: DISMISSAL OF A DISLOYAL POLCEMAN. An example has just been made by the Chief Constable of Birmingham, Mr Farndale, of a disloyal member of the Borough Force. The constable, who is a young Irishman, and who has only lately joined the force, expressed sympathy with the perpetrators of some of the outrages in Ireland, and said to one of his collages a few weeks ago, that if he knew who had murdered Mr Herbert and Mrs Smythe, both of whom have recently been assassinated in Ireland, he would not tell. This came to Mr Farndale’s knowledge, and, as the constable was unable to afford a satisfactory explanation, he was, with the concurrence of the Judicial Sub Committee, dismissed from the Force.


The Birmingham Daily Post, 27 September 1882: The explanation given by the CHIEF OF POLICE at the Watch Committee meeting yesterday, with regard to the entire absence of police along the extensive route traversed by the armed burglars on Sunday morning was characterised by the chairman as satisfactory … It seems that on Sunday mornings, from six to ten, which Mr FARNDALE describes, no doubt correctly, as the “quietest time of the week”, there is a partial interregnum of police supervision, only half the ordinary staff being on duty. The arrangement is necessitated we are told by the extra demands on the staff on the Saturday evening, when the number of rough and disorderly characters about is greater than the ordinary night staff could cope with


The Leicester Chronicle, 30 December 1882: Mr J Duns, Chief Constable of Durham, appointed chief of Leicester in succession to Mr Farndale, resigned.


Joseph Farndale career at Birmingham was dominated by the Irish Bombing campaigns in England.


The Fenian Dynamite Campaign, 1881 to 1885:




14 Jan 1881: A bomb exploded at a military barracks in Salford, Lancashire. A young boy was killed

16 Mar 1881: A bomb was found and defused in the Mansion House, London.

5 May 1881: Bomb explodes at Chester Barracks, Chester.

16 May 1881: Bomb attack at Liverpool police barracks.

10 June 1881: Bomb planted at Liverpool Town Hall,

30 June 1881: Disguised explosives found aboard SS Malta at Liverpool.

2 July 1881: Disguised explosives found aboard SS Bavaria in Liverpool.




12 May 1882: A bomb exploded at the Mansion House, London.




20 January 1883: In Glasgow, bombs exploded at Tradeston Gasworks, Possil Road Bridge and Buchanan Street Station. About a dozen people were injured.

15 Mar 1883: In London, bombs exploded at government buildings at Whitehall and at the offices of The Times newspaper. There were no injuries.

29 March 1883: Fenians Denis Deasy, Timothy Featherstone and Patsy Flanagan are arrested while police in County Cork raid the homes and businesses of associates of Deasy and Flanagan.

28 May 1883: Future Easter Rising leader Tom Clarke is sentenced to penal servitude for life.

11 June 1883: Gallagher Trials begin.

22 August 1883: Fenian 'Red' Jim McDermott arrested.

31 August 1883: Those responsible for Glasgow bombings in January were arrested.

30 Oct 1883: Two bombs exploded in the London Underground, at Paddington (Praed Street) station (injuring 70 people) and Westminster Bridge station.

December 1883: Trial of Glasgow bombers.




26 Feb 1884: A bomb exploded in the left-luggage room of Victoria station, London. The building was empty at the time and no-one was injured. Other bombs were defused at Charing Cross station, Ludgate Hill station and Paddington station.

11 April 1884: John Daly arrested with explosives at Birkenhead.

30 May 1884: Three bombs exploded in London: at the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Special Irish Branch in Scotland Yard; in the basement of the Carlton Club, a gentlemen's club for members of the Conservative Party; and outside the home of Conservative MP Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn. Ten people were injured. A fourth bomb was planted at the foot of Nelson's Column but failed to explode.

30 July 1884: John Daly, James Egan and William O'Donnell tried at Warwick Assizes under charges of treason.

13 Dec 1884: Two American-Irish Republicans, who were planting a bomb on London Bridge, were killed when their bomb prematurely exploded. One of the men was William Mackey Lomasney




2 Jan 1885: A bomb exploded at Gower Street station, London.

24 Jan 1885: Three bombs exploded in London, in the House of Commons chamber, in Westminster Hall and in the Banqueting Room of the Tower of London. Two police officers and four civilians were injured. Two men; Henry Burton and James E. Gilbert, were sentenced to penal servitude for life as a result.

10 February 1885: Dynamite found at Harrow Road, London.




One of the most serious offences committed in Birmingham was discovered when Alfred Whitehead was arrested on 5 April 1883, on the charge of manufacturing nitro-glycerine, or dynamite, at 128 Ledsam Street.


Whitehead was one of the Irish-American or American-Irish party of the Land Leaguers or Home Rulers, who entertain the idea that by committing horrible outrages in England. they will succeed in making Ireland "free from the galling yoke of Saxon tyranny" and every Irishman independent of everybody and everything everywhere. Well supplied with funds from New York, Whitehead quietly arranged his little manufactory, buying glycerine from one firm and nitric and sulphuric acids from others, certain members of the conspiracy coming from London to take away the stuff when it was completely mixed. The deliveries of the peculiar ingredients attracted the attention of Mr. Gilbert Pritchard, whose chemical knowledge led him to guess what they were required for; he informed his friend, Sergeant Price, of his suspicions; Price and his superior officers made nightly visits to Ledsam Street, getting into the premises, and taking samples for examination; and on the morning named Whitehead's game was over, though not before he had been watched in sending off two lots of the dangerously explosive stuff to London. There was, however, no less than 200 lbs weight found still on the premises.


The men who carried it to London were quickly caught with the dynamite in their possession, and with Whitehead were brought to trial and each of them sentenced to penal servitude for life. The distribution of rewards in connection with the "dynamite outrages," so far as Birmingham people were concerned, was somewhat on a similar scale to that described by the old sailor, when he said "prize-money" was distributed through a ladder, all passing through going to the officers, while any sticking to the wood was divided among the men. Mr. Farndale, the Chief of Police, was granted an addition to his salary of £100 per year; Inspector Black was promoted to the rank of Superintendent, adding £50 a year to his salary, and was presented with £100 from Government; Sergeant Price, became Inspector, with a rise of £41 12s. a year, and received a bonus of £200; Inspector Rees' salary was raised to two guineas a week, with a gift, of £50: while Mr. Pritchard, to whom belonged the conspicuous service of having given the information which led the police to act, was rewarded (!) with £50, having lost his situation through his services to the public.


Pictures from The Dart (13th April 1883) of some of the police principals in the Ledsam Street Dynamite Conspiracy. Top left is Sergeant Price who was the first investigating officer. Mr MacReady is an "expert", who was probably used as a witness in court. The large middle picture is of the "laboratory" with presumably the chief conspirator Alfred Whitehead busy at work. Bottom left is Detective Superintendent Robinson and bottom right is the Chief of Police Mr Farndale:



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The Dart, 5 April 1883


The Preston Herald, 7 April 1883 reported: THE DYNAMITE CONSPRACY. FURTHER ALARMING DISCOVERIES. SUPPOSED FENIAN PLOT IN BIRMNGHAM. DISCOVERY OF A NITRO GLYCERINE FACTORY. IMPORTANT CAPTRURE AND SEIZURE. A HUNDREDWEIGHT AND THRE QUARTERS OF DYNAMITE SEIZED. THREE ARRESTS IN LONDON. At Birmingham police court on Thursday afternoon, Albert George Whitehead, apparently about twenty years of age, was charged with manufacturing and being in possession of explosives with the intent to commit a felony. Prisoner was strongly guarded in the dock, being surrounded by detectives and police,. Chief Superintendent Farndale, addressing the bench, said ”This Albert George Whitehead, your worships, has been apprehended charged with manufacturing and being in possession of explosive substances, namely nitro glycerine with intent to commit a felony”  … What application do you make now? Mr Farndale: My application now is that he be remanded here a week. I have received a telegram from the Home Secretary directing that the man in custody here should be brought before the magistrates under section 54, 24 and 25 vic., cap 97, and remanded for a week.


The Dundee Courier, 9 April 1883: ALARM IN BIMRINGHAM. MILITARY CALLED OUT. Owing to the increasing alarm in Birmingham that the Fenians will avenge the arrest of Whitehead, the Mayor, Alderman White, after consulting with Mr Farndale, the chief of police, telegraphed on Friday night to the Home Secretary requesting that a body of military should be immediately drafted into the town to assist the police in protecting the borough gaol at Winson Green, where Whitehead is confined, an attempt to rescue the accused being expected.


The Eastern Evening News, 9 April 1883: SUPPOSED PLOT TO BLOW UP BUIDINGS. THREE MORE ARRESTS. The seizures of nitro glycerine at Birmingham and London on Thursday last, together with the apprehension of the man in possession of the dangerous compound, have been promptly followed up by two more arrests, one at Glasgow and the other in the metropolis…. Immediately Norman was captured, I telegraphed to Mr Farndale “Man in custody Contents of the box nitro glycerine.” And Mr Farndale ordered the arrest of Whitehead at Ladywood, and the seizure of everything on his premises.


The Dundee Courier, 10 April 1883: THE BIRMINGHAM DISCOVERY – WHITEHEAD’S ASSOCIATES. CLEVER RUSE BY A DETECTIVE. Price, to whom all credit is due of initiating the investigations that led to the important discovery in Lincoln street, has given a graphic account of the incidents that led to the arrest of Whitehead and the seizure of explosives. He says days before the seizure he received certain information from a friend which induced him to take the matter up. His friend was accustomed to pass Whitehead’s shop, and on this occasion he noticed Messrs Harris’ man deliver glycerine there … He then went and informed Mr Farndale, Chief Constable of what he had seen, and expressed his conviction that Whitehead was making nitro-glycerine. Then Mr Farndale set detectives to watch the shop. On the Sunday afternoon Price took an opportunity in passing the shop to notice the fastenings of the door and the sort of lock. He ascertained that Whitehead did not live on the premises, and he asked Mr Farndale for permission to make a search. Inspector Black accompanied him, and at 2 o’clock on Monday morning they unlocked the door with a skeleton key, and taking off their boots, went in and made a complete examination. Next morning they again went ion, and found that some of the contents of the vat in the scullery had disappeared. They took a sample from the vat and gave it to Dr Hill, by whom an analysis was made, which confirmed Price’s suspicions, and they found that Whitehead was making nitro glycerine. … On answering a sudden call to Ledsam Street early on Thursday morning, Price found that Mr Farndale had determined to arrest Whitehead and take possession of the premises.


The Southern Reporter, 12 April 1883: THE FENIAN PLOT. … At the Birmingham Police office in the afternoon, Whitehead was brought up before the Stipendiary and Alderman Deakin, and was charged under the Act 24 and 25, chap 97, sec 54, for having nitro glycerine in his possession for the purpose of committing a felony. The prisoner, who is rather sallow complexioned, and of slim build, seemed to be undisturbed when the charge was read over. Chief Constable Farndale stated the facts of the case, showing that the prisoner’s house had been watched for the past two months, and stating that when the premises were entered into on Thursday morning seven or eight gallons of liquid were found, which on being submitted to the borough analyst were believed to be nitro glycerine. On the same premises fourteen carboys containing nitro glycerine and sulphuric acid were found. Mr Farndale also stated that a man was seen on Wednesday evening to take a box from Ledsam Street to the North Western Railway Station where he booked it for London. A detective telegraphed to Scotland Yard, and the man was arrested with the nitro glycerine in his possession. In answer to the charge the prisoner said nothing. A remand for a week was granted.


The Lincolnshire Chronicle, 13 April 1883: THE DYNAMITE CONSPIRACY. SEIZURES OF NITRO GLYCERINE. The police have at length succeeded in effecting some important arrests in connection with the dynamite conspiracy, and the authorities have now hopes of being able to ferret out the miscreants in this plot as effectually as they have ben able to track members of the Assassination Society in Dublin. The credit for the first discovery which led to the arrests seems to lie with the Birmingham police … Recent certain suspicious circumstances were brought to the notice of the police, and numbers of detectives were set to watch the prisoner, the result being that at six o’clock on Thursday morning, the Chief Constable, M Farndale … and a number of other officers made a raid upon the premises. Several officers were detailed off to make an inspection of the adjoining house, where they found and arrested Whitehead.


And as reported much later in the Birmingham Mail, 3 July 1915: O’Donovan Rossa and the Birmingham Dynamite Factory. The death of O’Ddonovan Rossa recalls the fact that this infamous agitator at one time paid a visit to this city when he was at the zenith of his career as the head of the Fenian movement, for the purpose of making a secret enquiry as to the spread of Fenianism in this part particular neighbourhood. Later on, in 1883, he became associated with an important dynamite manufacturer which was established in Ledsam Street. The discovery of this plot was a big feather in the cap of the local detective force, and especially of one of the local members of the constabulary, whose knowledge of chemistry was largely instrumental in unveiling the crime. A great sensation was created in this city on April 5, 1883, when a man named Alfred Whitehead was arrested for manufacturing nitro-glycerine as an insignificant shop in Ledsam Streett. Whitehead belonged to the Irish American party intimately associated with O Donovan Rossa, and being well supplied with money from New York, he hit on the idea of making Birmingham the centre for the manufacture of explosives for the destruction of property in England. In order to disarm suspicion, he purchased his ingredients from various shops, but the abnormal quantities which he dealt with led to a chemist 's assistant, Mr Gilbert Pritchard by name, speaking to Detective Sergeant Price, who, being a bit of a chemist himself, recognised that the materials required formed the chief components of nitro-glycerine. This information was conveyed to the chief constable Mr Farndale, who put the matter into the hands of then Inspector James Black one of the smartest detectives Birmingham has ever known, and who, I am glad to say, is still alive. With other officers he paid nightly visits to the establishment in Ledsam Street. In order to detect any intrusion into his secrets Whitehead never left the shop without first placing a piece of cotton across the doorway, the breaking of which would at once have given the show away. The detectives discovered this ruse, and although they paid many visits to the premises, Whitehead was never aware of the fact. Whitehead was arrested after he had sent two consignments of nitro-glycerine to London, each cargo being followed by a Birmingham detective, who in conjunction with the members of Scotland Yard watched its destination and saw that it never left the premises until the men who had charge of it were arrested. Subsequently with Whitehead these men were sentence to penal servitude for life.


The Worcestershire Chronicle, 14 April 1883: Some further particulars have been made known concerning Whitehead since he has been in custody. It appears that he was in possession of £11 off at the time of his arrest, nearly the whole amount being in gold. He had no revolver or any other weapon for his personal protection. Up to the present time he has maintained a demeanour of perfect self possession amounting even to bravado. When he was introduced to Mr Farndale at the shop after being called up, he saluted him with “Who are you?” and on being informed that he was the chief of police, he said: “I thought so, and a very good looking gentleman you are. In the police van which conveyed him to Winson green he sang several songs, one of them commencing “I’ll upset the English Government; I’ll die for old Ireland, I will”.


The Daily Telegraph, on Friday 6 Apr 1883, published a long article.


The Discoveries and arrest at Birmingham.


Regarding the seizure of nitro-glycerine and the arrest affected at Birmingham, our correspondent in that town telegraphs as follows.


This morning, Thursday, a seizure of explosions was explosives was made by the Birmingham police, who appear to have unearthed what may prove to be a highly important piece of evidence in connection with the Fenian conspiracy, and possibly with the recent attempts to destroy public buildings in the metropolis. It appears that about two months ago a respectfully dressed young man, giving the name of Albert George Whitehead, took a shop at Ledsam Street, near the Mount Pleasant public house, and started business extensively as a paper hanger and oil seller. He took lodgings next door, at the house of a Mrs Poynton, where he had his meals and slept, conducting himself, as his landlady testifies, in a quiet gentlemanly manner. It was noticed that his stock in trade was very limited, the contents of the front shop being confined to a few pieces of ordinary paper and cans of common oil. According to the testimony of persons living in the locality he does not seem to have disposed of more than a few shillings worth of stock during the time he has occupied the premises. What at last aroused suspicion was the fact that a large consignment of chemicals which could be of no possible use in the paper hanging trade reached the shop from time to time, and were stowed away out of sight. The premises, it should be explained, consists of a front shop, a backroom, and a small kitchen. These consignments of chemicals were put away in the rear apartments. Within the last few days information has reached the police which led to the police to the place being closely watched, and this morning, about seven o’clock, two detectives paid a sudden visit to the lodgings next door, and on the landlady coming downstairs, one of the officers told her that the door of the shop had been left open. Mrs Poynton replied that she would go and tell Mr Whitehead, who was in bed, to come down and see it see to it. Whitehead got up at once, and on going into the street was arrested by the officers. An examination of the premises was thereupon effected, when some startling discoveries were made. The front shop contained a paltry stock of wallpaper and several cans of oil, mostly of a common description, but two cans contained glycerine. In the backroom were eleven large jars of chemicals, and a number of carboys, the contents of which cannot be known until after scientific examination. In the kitchen to the rear appearances were still more suspicious. The ordinary washing furnace was filled with a liquid preparation, and to carry away the fumes when the copper was used a flue had been made over it connecting with the chimney. In the furnace were several gallons of this mysterious compound. Near at hand a thermometer was lying in a variety of chemical appliances. The kitchen smelled strongly of recent operations, in which apparently assets had been employed. There were several jars in the kitchen, two of them being labelled sulphuric acid. The place was at once taken possession off by the police, but at the same time quietly, so as to excite as little suspicion as possible. Few of the residents in the neighbourhood knew anything about the seizure; But when it did eventually become known, the wildest and most alarming reports obtained currency.


Whitehead is described as being a short dark young man of gentlemanly appearance and of exceedingly quiet demeanour. Although he spent most of his evenings at home, he rarely conversed with his landlord or landlady, though he occasionally took some notice of the children. On one occasion Mr Poynton asked him what sort of business he was doing at the shop, and his reply was that there was no necessity to complain and perhaps it would improve. It is supposed by the police that the paper hanging business was simply a blind to conceal the operations at the back of the premises. It is stated that during his stay in the neighbourhood Whitehead never attended a theatre or a place of amusement and he used conspicuously to display a Church of England prayer book which he read occasionally in the evening. Mrs Poynton once took up the prayer book and found in it the inscription Albert G Whitehead, Devonport. He attended a place of worship in the neighbourhood with scrupulous regularity every Sunday. He was not a teetotaller but was very temperate; his allowance of beer at dinner and supper never exceeded a glass. On one occasion while he was reading out a paragraph from a newspaper Mrs Poynton remarked that he had not had an English accent and he replied no it is a Devonshire accent; I come from there. His landlady's suspicions were first awakened last Sunday evening when she saw two detectives in front of the shop. She said to Whitehead I wonder what those detectives want, but he made no reply although he turned very pale. Since then, however he has made no attempt whatever to escape. If he had he would have been unable to succeed as his movements were closely watched. The premises have been it entered every night since Sunday by detectives with skeleton keys.


At four o’clock this morning, Mr Farndale, chief constable of Birmingham, Superintendent Robinson, Detective Inspector Black, and Sergeant Richard Price obtained admission to the shop with skeleton keys. They made a careful survey of the premises before proceeding to arrest the accused. To provide against contingencies, the police were armed with revolvers. Whitehead’s demeanour on finding himself entrapped is described as exceedingly cool. Black asked to him ‘you're a nice fellow to go and have your front door open’. Whitehead replied ‘No I did not I am sure”. Black rejoined ‘well come and see’. Whitehead said to his landlady ‘well give me my hat, Mrs, and I'll go’. He then went out and on reaching the shop was taken into custody. He did not make the slightest show of resistance. The police are strongly of the opinion that Whitehead is an assumed name, and that the prisoner is an Irish American It is stated that...


in this bottle the mixed nitric acid and sulfuric acid lie at the bottom, and the thicker liquid on top is nitro-glycerine.


This afternoon at two thirty, the prisoner was brought before the magistrates, at Moore Street. On being placed in the dock, he cast a sharp look round and smiled, but, seemingly, it was a forced effort. He sat most of the time. He is about 5 foot 5 inches in height with small, sharply cut features, with no beard or whiskers, and only a short moustache. His general mele gives the impression of more than average intelligence and decided force of character. The accused would not be taken for an Irishman insightful stop his age would be guessed at about 25. The magistrates on the bench were Mr Kinsley and Mr Daykin. The prisoner's name was given as Albert George Whitehead, Chief Superintendent Farndale, addressing the bench said:


This Albert George Whitehead, your worships, has been apprehended on a charge under the 24th and 25th Vic, c97, sec 54, charged with manufacturing, and being in possession of, an explosive substance, namely nitro glycerine, with intent to commit a felony. It seems that something over two months ago this man came to Birmingham quite a stranger, and took premises that Ledsam Street, I think about February the 12th, and there he has since resided. Some short time ago our suspicions were aroused, and since that date I have had the premises watched night and day. With the aid of keys occasionally lent by our burglary friends, we have been into the house several times, and have been able to ascertain what was going on inside. I had some samples of a liquid found in a vat were there brought away two or three nights ago, and analysed by Doctor Hill, the medical officer of health, and his an analysis will prove that they were nitro-glycerine. Inconsequence of this instructions were given to the detectives watching that, in case any tin or box or anything should be removed from the house, they were to note and follow whoever removed it to their destination. Yesterday afternoon, or rather towards evening, a man was seen to leave the premises, taking with him a box evidently containing something of considerable weight. The detective who was watching, followed him to New Street Station. Finding there that he took a ticket to London the detective also took a ticket for London, and we wired the Metropolitan Police to meet him at the station, and sometime this morning, they apprehended a man there, and found that he had in his possession a case of nitro-glycerine. Upon that charge he will be or has been taken by the police before the magistrates to be remanded for a week. Finding that this man had been taken into custody in London, we went to the prisoner’s house this morning and came upon a large quantity of chemicals there. We found in a vat about 6 or 8 gallons of liquid, some of which Doctor Hill has brought away, and has since informed me that he is satisfied himself, though the analysis is not quite complete, that that also is nitro-glycerine. We also found on the premises 14 carboys of nitric and sulphuric acid, each carboy containing about 6 gallons, and nine glazed tins, some of them rather empty, but in all about 56 pounds of glycerine.


The Stipendiary: What was the prisoners ostensibly occupation?


The Chief Constable: It was ostensibly that of a painter and paper hanger. He has a few paint brushes in the shop, very few, and some very common paper. When the time comes for us going into the case more fully I shall produce a boy who was employed in the shop, and I think, he will tell you that, during the two months he has been there, the sum total taken over the counter amounted to only ½ d. When we went there this morning we sent to the adjoining house where prisoner lived and had him brought to these premises, and he was there charged with being in possession of these explosives with intent to commit a felony. He said he came from Plymouth; He was asked if he chose to give any account of the business he was doing, or name any man with whom he was doing a legitimate business. He said ‘he would tell us nothing, we wanted to know a great deal too much’. He was then handcuffed and brought to the lockup. Inspector Black will tell you that he visited the place again with Superintendent Robinson and brought the staff from there and sent it to Doctor Hill, who has certified that it is nitro-glycerine. The inspector will also prove going there with me this morning, and apprehending the prisoner, and charging him with being connected with the man already in custody in London. What he said to that I do not know.


Mr Kynnersley: What application do you make now?


Mr Farndale: My application now is that he be remanded for a week. I have received a telegram from the Home Secretary, directing that the man in custody here shall be brought before the magistrates under section 54, 24 and 25, vict, chap 97, and remanded for a week.


The Magistrates Clerk then read the section referred to as follows: “Whoever shall make or manufacture or knowingly have in his possession any gunpowder or other explosive stuff, or any dangerous or noxious thing, or any machine, instrument or thing, with intent thereby... To commit any of the felonies in this act mentioned, shall be guilty of misdemeanour, and if convicted thereof shall be liable, at the discretion of the court, to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding 2 years, with or without hard labour, with or without solitary confinement; and if a male under the age of 16 years with or without a whipping.


Mr Kynnersley (to the prisoner): Have you anything to say while you should not be remanded?


Mr Farndale said there was inspector Black’s evidence to be given before the remand took place.


Chief Inspector Black then said on Saturday night after previously watching the prisoner’s premises, I went to the house and entered it with skeleton keys. Sergeant Richard Price was with me. We saw a large quantity of acid in a jar, in a boiler in the scullery. The jar was full and contained about 6 gallons of acid. We went again the next night and took a sample from the jar for Doctor Hill. We went again this morning in the company with Mr Farndale, and Superintended Robinson, and we found the same jar full, apparently of fresh acid. There were also 14 carboys of nitric and sulphuric acid, which we discovered in a shop in the backroom. Prisoner was brought in from next door, I arrested him and charged him with being in possession of these explosives, I asked him if he chose to account for the acid in the jars. He said, ‘no I am not going to expose the secrets’.


Prisoner, interrupting witness: Excuse me I do not believe I said that word. The witness has been prompted by the man beside him, Sergeant Price.


The clerk: Well he, price, will have to give evidence as well.


Inspector Black: It was his secrets. Those were the words....


The Daily Telegraph, on Saturday 7 Apr 1883:  Doctor Dupre explained that even in that diluted state the compound was still highly dangerous, although the risk from spontaneous combustion had been removed. Then arose the question of disposing of the material. Colonel Majendie asked if there was any waste ground or large unoccupied space within a convenient distance. Mr Farndale informed him that he did not think there was a place in the neighbourhood where the liquid could be desposited with safety. After a long consultation Colonel Majendie said he and his colleagues had come to the conclusion that the Nitro glycerine had better be treated as dynamite, by mixing it with sawdust, and that it should then be taken to the sewage farm at Saltley, and burned in small pieces. It would have to be spread out in a thin layer, dried, and then burned. In answer to the Chief Constable, the Colonel observed that the stuff might be removed at once, but it must first be thoroughly mixed with the sawdust and then dried, so as to be burnable. So treated the material would be harmless in regard to spontaneous explosion, but not proof against mechanical concussion, any more than ordinary dynamite. It might be carted off or taken in a cab, but the safest plan would be to carry it by hand. Doctor Hill expressed himself willing to begin the work of precaution and removal at once. It was a peril to the neighbourhood to allow it to remain...


The Daily Telegraph, Monday 9 Apr 1883: The Chief Superintendent himself, accompanied by the Borough analysts and an armed constable, drove in the Chief’s private carriage, the officer retaining a hold upon a revolver during the whole of the journey. Upon the van itself, by the side of the driver, was another armed officer, equally well prepared in case of emergency, while at the back of the vehicle a policeman, also armed with a revolver, rode upon the step. Immediately following the van were two close carriages, containing the chiefs of the Birmingham detective force. The route had been carefully mapped out so as to avoid jolting in passing over large paving stones. On entering the sewage farm, which comprises a tract of land over a mile square, extra precautions had to be taken in consequence of the unevenness of the road. The approaches were closely guarded by police, and the only spectators of the operations were the Chief of Police, Mr Farndale; the specialist from Glasgow, Mr Macready; the Manager of the sewage farm, Mr Anscombe, the Borough analyst, Doctor Hill, some detectives, and a few reporters. The site selected was a fallow field in the centre of the farm, some hundreds of yards distant from a building of any kind. The buckets were removed to the centre of the fields, where they were taken in charge by the operator and Doctor Hill. The operator took a small quantity of the explosive about a couple of pounds weight, to a spot at a safe distance some two or three hundred yards from the buckets, and then the Scotchman struck a vesuvian and applied it to the little brown heap. A burst of faint fame flame followed, and the stuff was consumed in a few seconds, with the production of a great heat and the liberation of a large amount of gas, but quite noiselessly. Subsequently Mr Macready took larger bulks of the dynamite, spreading them about the ground somewhat, and the flames burst over the mass with great rapidity. In all, the work of destruction occupied about half an hour.


In gaol Whitehead maintains an air of utmost bravado. It has been deemed necessary to keep a light burning in his cell all night in order that he may be more securely watched. Military sentries are now placed in the gaol at night.


The Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 10 April 1883: ... this visit convinced me that there was something wrong going on. I detected the Irish American accent of Whitehead at once. I went up to Ladywood and changed my clothes, and from there to the central office, and reported all that I had seen and heard to Mr Farndale, chief constable. I told him my opinion was that Whitehead was making nitro-glycerine. After listening to what I had to say, he at once ordered the place to be watched back and front by detectives, and one of the policemen visited the ‘factory’ at night, tracked two of Whitehead 's visitors to London, and ultimately captured the principal as already known.


The Birmingham Daily Post, 5 May 1883: THE COFFEE HOUSE MOVEMENT IN BIRMINGHAM. Yesterday the Birmingham Coffee house Company opened a new coffee house in Newton Row … It was an interesting fact in connection with the movement of the Birmingham coffee house Company that the same kind of work had been taken up and carried on with more or less success in many of the large towns in England; and he was glad to learn that the movement was being imitated in New York and Philadelphia. Probably some of the bearers had noticed in a recent police case some remarks by Mr Farndale and one of the magistrates as to the prevalence of gambling in coffee houses


The Shields Daily Gazette, 13 July 1883: A Birmingham correspondent telegraphs that examination has been made by the police of a supposed infernal machine, discovered yesterday on the premises lately occupied by Whitehead, and they are of the opinion it could not have been constructed with any malicious design. It is about four inches long by two wide, and consists of a thin tube slightly battered at one end; attached to this was a brass wheel, with little eccentric gearing. It has been remarked that the machine has been found since the police gave up possession of the place two months ago. A telegram was received by Mr Farndale, chief of police, last evening from the Home Secretary, asking for details of the discovery, and a reply was sent that the machine was a mere toy, and could not possibly be used for an explosive purpose.


In the Shepton Mallet Journal on 20 July 1883, this incident was reported as “An Infernal Machine Hoax”.


In the St James’s Gazette, 6 August 1883:




The Mayor, at the quarterly meeting of the Birmingham Town Council: I have had for some time under my consideration the manner in which the services should be recognised of those to whose courage and skill the detection of the nitro-glycerine plot was due. …    I desire to testify the very high opinion I have formed of the remarkable skill, intelligence, and resource, exhibited by Mr Farndale, the Chief Constable of Birmingham, throughout the whole of the matter and in other transactions of a similar nature in which I have received from him much valued assistance.


The Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale Herald, 11 August 1883:




A private meeting of the Watch Committee of the Birmingham Town Council was held on Aug 3, when a report was adopted which had reference to the Birmingham police who took such a prominent part in bringing to justice the dynamite conspirators. The committee recommended that the salary of Mr Farndale, the chief superintendent of police, be increased from £700 to £800 per annum …Mr Farndale, it may be interesting to state, was some years ago the Chief Constable in Chesterfield. He is also well known in many parts of Yorkshire, of which county he is a native.


The Nottingham Evening Post, 29 August 1883: RECOVERY OF MISSING JEWELLERY. Chief Constable Farndale of Birmingham, yesterday morning, received a consignment of damaged jewellery, which has since been identified as part of the stock stolen from Messrs Mole and Sons, High Street, Birmingham, valued at £5,000. The articles were found in a parcel in the river Mersey. Also reported in the York Herald, 29 August 1883, under the headline The Great Jewellery Robbery in Birmingham.


The Birmingham Daily Post, 4 December 1883: THE ROYAL VISIT TO BIRMINGHAM. … The occasion was the visit to Birmingham of their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess Christian and the Marquis of Lorne, paid in connection with the Birmingham cattle and poultry show … on arriving at Washwood Heath the Prince and Princess were met by Mr Farndale, the chief superintendent of police


The Evening Despatch, 7 July 1939:


In 1883, New Street station was nearly blown up by a charge of nitro-glycerine. Veterans should remember the Ledsam Street conspiracy.

One day in 1883 a detective, keeping his eyes open in Ledsam Street, Birmingham, saw a man take a black box out of a shop and get into a cab.

The detective followed the cab along to Monument Road, then down Hagley Road to Five Ways, and so to New Street Station. If he had had any doubts about the innocence of the black box, they were now fully justified by the circuitous route the mysterious stranger had taken.

The cab arrived at the station before the detective but the officer used a little tact with the cabbie when he found him, picked up a colleague on the way, arrived at the station to find two porters pushing the box around.

The detective managed to make two marks on it with his penknife when no one was looking. He then brought bought two tickets for London and travelled down with his companion, one compartment away from the box.

A few hours later the owner of the box was arrested in Southampton Street Hotel. The officers picked up the box and carried it along the yard at the back of Bow Street Police Court still in doubt about the contents.

Temperamental explosive

The box contained nearly a hundredweight of nitro-glycerine, the most temperamental of all explosives in general use.

That is how New Street Station came within an inch of being blown away by during the Fenian conspiracy of which thanks to the quick work of the Birmingham policeman never succeeded in striking a blow.

You can still see a shop in Ledsam Street where several carboys of nitro-glycerine were manufactured by a young man masquerading as a dealer in oil and paints. He had intended to blow up New Street Station on more than one occasion it was used by carriers who were handling the explosives for London consumption. The shop had been a grocers,...

The younger Irishman was arrested on the morning of 5 April 1883 and eventually sent to Winson Green with a military export escort.

The dynamite conspiracy was more than a nine days wonder then. The newspapers were...

The Birmingham Gazette received a terrorist letter containing the warning it is in our power to make Birmingham a heap of ruins and a deluge of blood and other pieces too and we have the will and the means to do so.

It was one of the most sensational news stories which have ever broken in Birmingham. Publishing enterprise was different in those days... Not only did the newspapers carry columns of the matter and line drawings of the shop, the kitchen and other items of interest but special broadsides, poems and sheets of line illustrations appeared.



The Manchester Evening News, 14 April 1884: The chief constable of that place [Birmingham], is a man who has few rivals in his particular walk of life, and he fully deserves the eulogium passed upon him by the Home Secretary last year. Mr Farndale commenced life as an ordinary constable, I believe in Middlesbrough, and he has worked his way upwards to his present position. He occupied the post of chief constable in two or three other towns before ging to Birmingham, in each one of which he added to his reputation. The circumstances of his career have given him an amount of experience which is comparatively rare, and he has added to it a very careful study of the criminal law, in the knowledge of which he has not many superiors. Mr Farndale is very much opposed to the practice of selecting retired army officers for the posts of chief constable, and he himself is a strong argument in favour of his theory that such positions ought to be filled by men practically acquainted with the routine of police work.


Joseph Farndale was involved in a further incidence of the Dynamite Conspiracies only a year later.


The Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 12 April 1884: THE RECENT DYNAMITE CONSPIRACIES – ARREST OF CONSPIRATORS. Another American Fenian conspiracy has been traced to Birmingham. Some time ago, Chief Constable Farndale, of Birmingham, was informed by the Home Office that an American emissary had arrived in the country, and a strict watch was kept on all suspects. They directed their attention more particularly to the house of a man named Jas. Egan, described as a commission agent … The police kept a vigilant watch on this man


The Leeds Times, 19 April 1884: ANOTHER ARREST IN BIRMINGHAM. Contemporaneous with the capture of Daly, was the arrest of James Francis Egan, thirty eight, clerk, of Kyott’s Lane House, Grafton road, Sparkbrook, Birmingham ... During the five or six months the premises were watched the observations of the police were regularly reported to Sir Wm Harcourt, Chief constable Farndale making a midnight journey to the Home Office to communicate important information.


A SUSPECTED SERGEANT As the result of the capture of Egan and Daly, the police hope to make further arrests. Acting under the provisions of the Explosives Act, the Chief constable (Mr Farndale) caused to be searched the apartments of Patrick Hogan, drill instructor of the Birmingham volunteers … a colour sergeant in the 6th (Royal Warwickshire) regiment … The attention of the police was directed to him by his being frequently in the company of Day and Egan at public houses


The Alcester Chronicle, 26 April 1884: THE RECENT ARRESTS. At the police court, Birmingham, James Francis Egan has been brought up, on remand, charged with conspiring with John Daly, alias Denman, to cause an explosion in the United Kingdom, likely to endanger life and property … the presiding magistrate addressing Mr Farndale, the chief constable asked if he was prepared to proceed with the case. Mr Farndale: No sir. I am instructed by the solicitor for the Treasury to ask for a further remand for a week.


The Dundee Courier, 2 May 1884 reported the discovery in the garden of Mr Egan a bottle containing a thick liquid of suspicious appearances. Mr Farndale, Chief of Police reported the matter to Her Majesty’s Inspector of Explosives, Colonel Majendie. There was also a letter found in the bottle from William McDonell of Wednesbury, so Mr Farndale proceeded to Wednesbury to interview McConnell and several other people there.


The Jersey Independent and Daily Telegraph, 17 May 1884: THE DYNAMITE PLOTS. COMMITTAL OF DALY, EGAN AND MCDONNELL. At Birmingham Police Court this morning before the stipendiary, the prisoners Daly, Egan and McDonell were charged on remand with treason felony


Joseph Farndale gave evidence, reproduced in the Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser on 24 August 1929: TOWN UNDER GUARD. The Warwick Advertiser of August 2, 1884, stated: The prisoners Daly, Egan and McDonnell, committed to the assizes on charges connected with the dynamite conspiracy, were removed on Saturday last from Winson Green Prison, to Warwick in readiness for their trial. The prison van was brought up to the door of the gaol without any commotion being excited, and drove to Soho station, where the 12.31 train to Warwick was caught. The escort, only a portion of which accompanied the prisoners beyond Bordesley, consisted of the Inspector of Prisons for the district, Rear Admiral Fenwick, the Governor of the gaol, Captain Tinklar, and about a dozen warders, the Chief Constable, Mr Farndale, Superintendent Black, and a number of detectives, all being armed with revolvers. The prisoners arrived at Warwick at 1:45 pm, the approaches to the station being guarded by a force of police under Inspector Hall. The warders and detectives surrounded the prisoners, who were heavily chained, and conducted them to the cabs in which they were quickly driven to the gaol. The arrival of the prisoners excited very little attention, the intended time of removal having been kept strictly secret. The gaol at Warwick was guarded by a detachment of the 2nd Staffordshire Regiment and a special force of police; the castle, the public buildings of the town and the gas works being carefully watched also. Active preparations were commenced on Tuesday morning in the immediate vicinity of the Shire hall, in view of the approaching trial...


The Birmingham Daily Post, 13 September 1884: THE SOCIAL SCIENCES CONGRESS. … Among the readers of papers in other departments are the following …. By Mr J Farndale, chief constable of Birmingham, and Mr JA Telfer, on “What Means would Reduce the Traffic in Stolen Property.


The Kenilworth Advertiser, 18 October 1884: Birmingham has in Mr Farndale as skilful a Chief Constable as any town in the Midlands, and it has a very fine police force, but there is in Birmingham a sufficiently large number of disorderly persons to sack the town. Now that the roughs have once tested the pleasures of a riot, we must rely upon it that they will not be long before they find another excuse for setting at defiance the powers of the law





By a letter accidentally received by a tradesman at Aston from Nottingham, a plot has been discovered to destroy the castle, art museum, school of art, Nottingham … On enquiry at the Birmingham Detective office today we learn that a copy of the same letter has been sent to Mr Farndale. The letter is sad to have been accidentally opened at Aston, and was forwarded to the chief of the borough police …


The Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linsdale Gazette, 5 May 1885: POLICE SUPERANNUATION. A meeting of chief constables of police was held on Thursday at Anderton’s Hotel, Fleet Street, London, for the purpose of taking into consideration sections of the Police Bill which has just been brought into the House of Commons. A deputation afterwards waited upon Mr Fowler MP, the Under Secretary of State at the Home Office, with reference to the measure … The deputation having been introduced … Mr Farndale, chief constable of Birmingham and others addressed Mr Fowler in support of the bill, which provides for the superannuation of police officers after a certain number of years’ service. Mr Fowler received the representations of the deputation very favourably, and said that the Government would do its best to pass this bill this session.


Superannuation is essentially a pension scheme.


The Birmingham Mail, 16 June 1885: BIRMINGHAM POLICE MISSION. A social gathering in connection with the Birmingham Young Men’s Christian Association’s Police Mission was held in the Association Rooms, Needles Alley, last night, Alderman Downing presided. It was announced that Mr Farndale had expressed his readiness to afford all the men in the force time and opportunity for attending a place of worship once every Sunday


The Birmingham Mail, 13 October 1885: A YEARS CRIME IN BIRMINGHAM. At the meeting of the Watch Committee this morning Councillor Bishop in the chair, the Chief Constable (Mr Farndale) presented his annual return of crime in the borough for the twelve months ending September the 25th last





The Nottingham Guardian, 1 January 1886: SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS AGAINST BIRMINGHAM POLICE OFFICERS. When a man well known to the police was arrested after violence was used there was a report that the police had struck the man with a staff across his shoulders and the court directed Mr Farndale to institute an inquiry into the matter


The Blanford and Wimborne Telegram, 12 March 1886: The question of Chief Commissionership of the Police is at last decided. Mr Howard Vincent, it is said, will not take the post. The recent riots at Manchester and Birmingham, and the excellent way in which they were checked by the police forces in those towns, have drawn Mr Childers’ attention particularly to Mr Wood, the chief constable of Manchester, and Mr Farndale, who holds the same position in Birmingham. Mr Farndale has, we believe, risen from the ranks, having entered the force as a common policeman. The practical experience of such a man could not fail to be highly valuable, if he also possesses those graces of manner which have always hitherto been deemed indispensable for this important command


The Globe, 16 March 1886: A SCARE IN BIMRINGHAM. BAYONETS SOLD AT ONE PENNY EACH. The attention of the local police has just been called to the wholesale distribution of old bayonets among children and others in the town … at several of the Board schools in the town the teachers were startled to see their young scholars march in literally “armed to the teeth” … As soon as this became known there was quite a rush to the shops, and the dealers drove a roaring trade among the juvenile population. Mr Farndale, the Chief of Police, mentioned the matter yesterday morning to Mr Kynnersley at the Public Office, but the stipendiary said he thought no steps could be taken in the matter.


The Edinburgh Evening News, 14 September 1886: MR CHAMBERLAIN UNDER POLICE PROTECTION. This morning Mr Chamberlain had a long interview with Mr Farndale, the chief of police in Birmingham, and it is understood that an arrangement was arrived at for a detective to accompany him on his holidays. The right hon gentleman starts in a few days for the Continent, accompanied by Mr Jesse Collings.


The Worcester Chronicle of 18 September 1886 also reported a song written to commemorate the event of which an extract is:


So Joseph and Jesse far away will sojourn,

The shame of it is, they’ll be sure to return.

A detective goes with them, who’ll have a great try

To “detect” Jesse’s genius and Joe’s honesty.

Farewell to the Bobby;

His task will be hard;

That he’ll ne’er overcome it

Is quite the card.


The Liverpool Daily Post of 15 September 1886 reported that it is understood that it was arranged that Inspector Van Helden should accompany the right hon gentleman throughout his tour … and the Blackburn Standard, 18 September 1886 reported that Van Helden speaks several European languages.


Joseph Chamberlain (1836 to 1914) was a liberal and later conservative politician and the father of Neville Chamberlain. He made his career in Birmingham as a manufacturer of screws and later as mayor. He resigned from Gladstone’s government in 1886 in opposition to Irish Home Rule. He helped engineer a split in the liberal party and became a Liberal Unionist.


The Morpeth Herald, 30 October 1886 reported: GREAT RAID ON BETTING MEN IN BIRMINGHAM. On Tuesday afternoon the Birmingham police made a raid on three public houses in Birmingham notoriously used for betting purposes … Mr Farndale, the Chief Constable, under whose immediate superintendence the arrangements were made, provided for a simultaneous swoop upon the three houses




The Birmingham Daily Post, 23 February 1887 reported on a meeting to discuss the bye laws for regulating street traffic. There was concern about the speed of tram cars: BIRMINGHAM WATCH COMMITTEE. The bye laws provided that the speed should not exceed four miles an hour, but the borough surveyor reported that the cars were occasionally run at the rate of 9 ¼ miles per hour. The CHIEF CONSTABLE (Mr Farndale): They go 19 ¼ miles an hour in some places outside the borough


In the Jubilee year of Queen Victoria, Joseph Farndale was involved in the Queen’s visit to Birmingham. The Birmingham Daily Post, 8 March 1887 reported: THE QUEEN’S VISIT – PROGESS OF THE ARRANGEMENTS. … With reference to the illuminations we understand that Mr Farndale, the chief constable, will probably suggest to the Watch Committee that vehicular traffic in the central streets should be prohibited. Experience of the last similar occasion proved that even a single line of traffic could not be worked without difficulty and confusion, as well as leading to numerous accidents ..


There was a recollection of city poverty and the Royal visit in the Birmingham Daily Post on 23 May 1953:


Poverty Common


For recreation the children of my time had only the opportunity of walking round the area encircling Nelson's Column, or strolling through the Market Hall where, as is the case today, plenty of interest was provided. Going down the hill at High Street there were, as today, hawkers offering their goods on the side of the footpath, crying out their wares, toys, novelties, laces etc.


Poverty was much in evidence and there existed, more or less, the rich and the very poor, without the middle classes of today. The depressing sites were the men, women and children badly clothed, in a number of instances without stockings or boots, and pleading for assistance. The crossing sweeper generally was a one legged man, who would sweep the mud over a section of the road either in New Street or at the corner of Corporation Street. Drunkenness was prevalent, and I have many times witnessed the prostate form of a man or a woman lying in the gutter, or the unfortunate person being taken in a staggering condition to the police station, then situated in Moor Street, to await the morning, when the magistrates would hear the case.


The Victoria Law Courts in Corporation Street, were not then in existence and the Assize judges assembled either at Warwick or in the Council House. Legal business was transacted in London. A famous detective at the time was Inspector Black, whom elderly citizens may recall. The policeman's beat at these times was a dangerous one and, as a result of violent assaults in the slum areas, such as those then around Park Street, and other thoroughfares, it was found necessary for visits to be made by two constables.


I remember the fair being held in the facility of Moor Street. Other stirring events in the town were, of course, the market days, when there was a large influx of country people. They frequented the Bull Ring, High Street, Dale End and Ashtead Row, which constituted the principal shopping areas of the town. At the time when onion fair came round there was much more life stirring. Within a few yards of the gates of St Martin’s church some of the country folk offered live geese for sale. The market stalls were lighted with the naptha flare lamps, and trade continued till eleven o’clock on Saturday nights. Mention should also be made of the horse fair held in the district still bearing its name, where many animals were tethered to the long footpath rails awaiting sale.


In High Street a number of old buildings have given way to modern ones, while others have been virtually destroyed as a result of the heavy air attacks. However there remain today some of the old shops in the centre of the city that still bear the names of 70 years ago - Taylors, adjoining the Market Hall; And Jarvis’s, the famous biscuit shop halfway down Worcester Street. Midway in High Street, there were for many years the premises of James, the Waxworks Show, which was a miniature Madame Tussauds. The attention of visitors was attracted by the constant playing of a hurdy gurdy.


Queen Victoria’s Visit


One of my most outstanding recollections is of the visit to Birmingham of Queen Victoria on March 23, 1887, shortly before her jubilee. I vividly recall standing on the balustrade in the old home, looking down at the throng and hearing the vociferous cheering as the Queen’s carriage was drawn along. There was a triple arch from Swan Passage over the road to Thompson’s Passage, the centre span of which was 40 feet high.


Queen Victoria at this time was approaching 70 years of age. For some time before her visit the town was agog with excitement; The railway companies had provided many special trains to bring in visitors from the adjoining counties. The Queen arrived at Small Heath station from Windsor and spent 3 ½ hours among the town people. Twenty one guns were fired at Balsall Heath to announce her arrival. The procession went through large crowds along Digbeth, Bull Ring and New Street to the Town Hall. Accompanying the Queen in the procession were the Mayor and Mayoress, Alderman and Mrs Thomas Martineau, Lord Lieutenant of the county, the High Sheriff, the late Mr THG Newton, the Town Clerk, Mr E O Smith, the Recorder of Birmingham, Mr. J S Dugdale QC MP, the Chief Constable, Mr Farndale, and an escort of 60 troopers of the 15th Hussars. With the Queen were the Prince and Princess Henry of Battenburg, and the Duchess of Buccleuch. The bells of St Martin’s rang out in jubilation. At the Town Hall where the Queen was to have lunch, there stood the statues of Sir Robert Peel, Priestley and Wright. The old established firm of caterers, Lisseter and Miller served the lunch at which were present following MPs who represented the town in those days: the Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain, Mr Jesse Collins, Mr George Dixon, Alderman Kendrick and Alderman Powell Williams. Also present were the Bishop of Worcester, Cardinal Newman, the Right Reverend Bishop Ilsley, Canon Wilkinson, Rector of Saint Martin’s, and Captain Tozer, Chief of the Fire Brigade. After lunch the procession left for Corporation Street, where the Queen laid the granite foundation stone of the Victoria law courts. The Queen was greatly touched by the loyalty of the citizens, who were allowed one hours extension to celebrate, which meant that the licenced houses remained open until midnight; Next day the magistrates had to deal with a number of cases as a result of excessive drinking, but from all accounts clemency was shown.


Great fire


The famous fire of 1888 took place at the premises of Marris and Norton who at that time were the great carpet and furniture traders of the town and whose premises were on the sites now occupied by Lloyds Bank, Corporation Street, and W H Smith and Son. It started on Saturday, and on Sunday morning I was taken to the scene and saw the smouldering carpets in the deep basement beneath the footpath. So intense was the heat that the windows on the opposite side of the street occupied by the dawn were cracked.


New Street has much changed and one's mind is taken back to the celebrated shops that were patronised by well to do citizens who invariably arrived in town with the coachman driving their brougham or carriage. What a difference, then and now, in regard to the ladies’ costumes. I could still see those of my young days strolling along the footpaths, some wearing bustles, and others with dresses comprising at least six yards of material, with the train gently removing the dust from the stone footpaths. It did not concern them that later the garment would need a great deal of cleaning.


Among the angling fraternity of Birmingham, the river Trent at Aire was represented the waterside of the Birmingham Piscatorial Society. At that period the Trent was well stocked and in my boyhood I have seen many excellent bags of fish brought into the city by my father and others to be handed over to the local fishmongers.


Conditions of life have changed greatly during the past sixty years; individuals have much more freedom. Then there are the present day amenities brought about by the more even distribution of wealth and, of course, the social services. But one regrets that so much of the quietude of the City was given way to the rush and bustle of today. Whereas there are now many accidents, a solitary death arising from a road accident in bygone days caused such consternation that the incident would be talked about for many months.


The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 24 March 1887 reported: THE QUEEN IN BIRMINGHAM. ENTHUSIASTIC RECEPTION. Her Majesty’s first official visit to the provinces in her Jubilee year has been an unqualified success – the weather splendid for the season of the year, the crowds of her subjects in the streets large, orderly and enthusiastic, and the arrangements for her reception, progress, and departure perfect in every particular … The police arrangements, carried out under the superintendence of Chief Constable Farndale, were admirable so far as they went; but it would have been impossible for the police to keep the streets clear if they had not had the assistance of 400 firemen and several battalions of volunteers, who lined the route. ..


The event was illustrated in The Graphic, 26 March 1887: The Queen’s Visit to Birmingham:



The Aberdeen Press and Journal, 5 November 1887: THE GOVERNMENT RESOLUTE. The Right Hon A J Balfour, MP, Secretary for Ireland, attended meetings in Birmingham yesterday and delivered addresses on the Irish question … On the platform the right hon gentleman was met by Sir James Sawyer, President of the Birmingham Conservative Association, and by the chief constable of Birmingham, Mr Farndale


The Birmingham Daily Post, 7 November 1887: THE SOCIALISTS IN BIRMINGHAM. A SUNDAY EVENING DISTURBANCE.  A disorderly scene took place in front of the Council House last evening, in connection with one of the meetings which are held on the Sundays by the members of the Socialist League, under the direction of the local agent. Mr A Donald … Donald, we understand, denies that he was advised to abandon the meeting. In order to avoid the crowd that gathered in Moor Street, the various persons interested were let out the back way, and Mr Farndale detained a policeman to secure Mr Donald from molestation on his way home.




Joseph Farndale was involved in a hoax relating to the Jack the Ripper murders (“the Whitechapel Murders”) in 1888.


The Birmingham Daily Post, 8 October 1888: A BIRMINGHAM CONFESSION. At Birmingham Police Court on Saturday, before Sir Thomas Martineau … a respectfully dressed man, named Alfred Napier Blanchard (34), who described himself as a canvasser … was charged by his own confession with having committed the Whitechapel murders. Detective Ashby explained that on Friday morning the prisoner went into a public house in Newton Row, and openly accused himself od having committed the Whitechapel murders. Witness took him into custody, and when they reached Duke Street police station he denied having made any confession … Was he drunk at the time? Mr Farndale: he was sober when he first broached the subject, but by the time the police were called he was undoubtedly under the influence of drinkMr Farndale now said he did not attach the least importance to the arrest, but, at the same time the prisoner had placed himself in the position in which he now stood, and he could not complain if the Bench remanded him. Mr Goodman: Do you know anything about him? Mr Farndale: Nothing, except what has been gleaned from papers found in his possession.


The Birmingham Daily Gazette, 8 October 1888:


At The Birmingham Public Office on Saturday, before Messrs. J.D. Goodman and W. Holliday (magistrates), Alfred Napier Blanchard (34), described as a canvasser, of 2, Rowland Grove, Rowland Road, Handsworth, was charged on his own confession with committing the Whitechapel murders.

Detective-sergeant Ashby said that on Friday night the prisoner was in a public-house in Newtown Row, and he told the landlord that he was the Whitechapel murderer. He repeated the statement to several people and witness arrested him. When at Duke Street Police Station he denied being the murderer, but witness thought proper to keep him in custody. The police had not yet had time to make inquiries and knew nothing of the prisoner's antecedents.

Richard King, landlord of the Fox and Goose, Newtown Row, said the prisoner came to his house about eleven o'clock on Friday morning, and remained till about a quarter past eight at night. During his stay in the house he drank about five and a half pints of beer. About half-past twelve o'clock he asked witness what kind of detectives they had in Birmingham. Witness told him he believed them to be very clever men. Prisoner said that it would be a funny thing if the Whitechapel murderer were to give himself up in Birmingham. Witness acquiesced, and prisoner continued, "I am the Whitechapel murderer." Turning round to an elderly gentleman sitting in the bar, prisoner said, "Look here, old gentleman; perhaps you would not think there was a murderer in the house." "I don't know about that," replied the customer; "you might not look unlike one." Prisoner said, "I am one, then." Later on the old gentleman asked prisoner had he got the knife with him, and he answered that he had left a long knife behind him. Someone asked prisoner how he did the murders without making the victims scream. He explained that this was done "simply by placing the thumb and finger on the windpipe and cutting the throat with the right hand." He said he had "done six of them in London." He was sober when he made this statement. Turning round to witness prisoner said, "You are a fool if you don't get the thousand pounds reward offered for me; you may as well have it as anyone else."

Mr. Farndale (Chief Constable) informed the magistrates that he did not attach the least importance to this arrest
. At the same time prisoner had placed himself in a most serious position, and could not complain if the magistrates thought fit to remand him for inquiries. At present nothing had been ascertained with respect to him beyond information contained in some papers found upon him.


Mr. Goodman thought that some further inquiries should be made.

The prisoner asked if he might say a few words, and, having obtained permission, stated that he was stationed in London, and was a canvasser for a London firm. He had recently been working up North. He was now on his way to London, and when he made the statement incriminating himself was labouring under great excitement, having been previously reading the reports of the inquests. The statement was, on the face of it, ridiculous, and he was sure they would admit that. He could give them references in Birmingham.

Mr. Barradale (Magistrates' Clerk) told the prisoner that he could give any references he had to Mr. Farndale for inquiry. As the prisoner said he was a murderer, it was a question whether time should not be given to make inquiries.

Mr. Goodman: It is your own fault that you are in this position.

The prisoner said he was aware of this, but at the same time he was labouring under great excitement.

Mr. Barradale: Were you suffering from the drink?

Prisoner: Partly from drink and partly from nervousness. I had been drinking for two or three days.

The prisoner was remanded until to-morrow.

Mr. Barradale told him that if he wished any messages to be sent the police would assist him in every way. He could telegraph to anybody living away from the town and write to anyone he thought proper.

As he was proceeding towards the cells, prisoner said he had a favour to ask. Would the press be kind enough not to mention this case? It was a serious matter for him, and should his employer get to hear about it he would lose his situation.

Mr. Barradale: The magistrates have no power over the press.

The prisoner then went below


The Star which claimed it had the largest circulation of any Evening Paper in the Kingdom. LONDON. FRIDAY, 23 NOVEMBER, 1888. ONE HALFPENNY. Front Page:


Mr. Joseph Farndale, the Chief Constable of Birmingham, who is making the running for the Chief Commissionership, is an excellent officer. Birmingham got him from Leicester, where from working a beat he had risen to the position of head policeman. There was some talk of Mr. Farndale when Sir Edmund Henderson resigned, and the Birmingham Watch Committee - the Town Council Committee that has control of the police - were in despair. They would have been very glad for his sake if he had obtained promotion, but at the same time they fervently hoped that he would not be taken away from them.

Birmingham ascertained by sad experience the disadvantages of a military despotism. Major Bond, a gentleman who achieved some little distinction in Ireland, was Mr. Farndale's predecessor. He was a provincial Charles Warren, and it was not long before Birmingham rebelled against his iron rule. The police lost touch with the people, and neither the people not the police liked it. He had to go, and from occupying a position of honor and eminence he came to be an Irish resident magistrate. When the Major went the first qualification which the people and the press demanded in his successor was that he should be a civilian. Mr. Farndale had an excellent record, and has thoroughly justified his selection.

The secret of his success is that he carefully avoids any display of force. Shortly after the disturbances and the sacking of the West-end, there was some fear of a similar occurrence in Birmingham. The Chief Constable dealt with the situation in a very admirable manner. He did not attempt to interfere with the demonstration, and carefully refrained from crowding Costa-green with policemen or from irritating the people by any unnecessary display of authority. There was no bludgeoning, no violence, and the consequence was that the crowd, amongst whom were a good many bad characters who would have stuck at nothing in the way of plunder, gradually dispersed.


The Chief Constable himself preserved his good temper throughout, and was cheered by the crowd as he passed. He has the advantage of being a handsome man - a great point with the crowd. He looks remarkably well in his uniform and on horseback, and he is always in evidence whenever there is anything moving.

When the dynamite plot was discovered in Birmingham, the Chief Constable was in his proper place, and directed the investigations so well that not a mistake was made. Night and day he remained at his post until the right moment came, and then the police swooped down and captured the gang. The result was that the dynamite conspiracy, which had its head-quarters in Birmingham, was completely crushed out of existence.

Mr. Farndale looks something over 40. He is tall, broad-shouldered, athletic, has good features and looks like a gentleman. He has the bald head that comes of wearing a constable's helmet


The Evening Star, 6 November 1888 reported: MR GLADSTONE’S JOURNEY. SPEECH ON HOME AND FOERIEGN POLITICS. Mr Gladstone left Hawarden for Birmingham this morning, for the purpose of fulfilling a series of arrangements in connection with the National Liberal Federation … The train steamed into Birmingham station at 1.15 precisely … Outside the station there was an immense concourse of people. Here, however, as well as along the whole route to the Town Hall, strong barricades had been erected, and a large force of police being in attendance, under the command of Mr Farndale, a perfectly clear space was kept for the procession. An enthusiastic cheer was given as Mr Gladstone emerged from the station


Of Gladstone’s visit, the Burley Gazette of 3 November 1888 had commented Since, in dealing with so large a number, it is impossible to ensure that all shall be sympathisers, with the object of the gathering, or even respectable men, there will be a strong police force in the hall, commanded by the Chief Constable (Mr Farndale) who has frequently shown himself a man of rare tact and energy on such occasions


The Bristol Mercury, 13 November 1888: Sir Charles Warren has taken the course of a sensible man, in resigning from a position for which it is evident he was not fitted … The police are a civil body charged with the maintenance of order and the detection of crime and the Whitechapel horrors have shown how incapable Scotland yard is in this respect … They make the fatal error of transferring even their detectives from division to division, so that they have not men with intimate local knowledge as Mr Coathupe has in Bristol, or Mr Farndale has in Birmingham, acquainted with the criminal classes and all the dark places of the city, so that very few hours would elapse before the arrival of a suspicious stranger or a suspicious occurrence in the lowest haunts in the place would become known at police headquarters.


Joseph Farndale started to be named as a possible candidate for Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. The Bristol Mercury, 20 November 1888: Mr Malcolm Wood, Chief Constable of Manchester, whose name is mentioned so prominently amongst those who are stated to be candidates for the post vacated by Sir Charles Warren as chief commissioner of the police in the metropolis, followed Captain Erwin as deputy chief at Manchester, Captain Owen having succeeded Mr E W Coathupe when the latter left Manchester to become chief constable at Bristol. On the retirement of the chief constable of Manchester Mr Malcolm Wood obtained his present position, and is now about 45 years of age. His friends were early in the field mentioning his name as a suitable candidate immediately Sir Charles Warren's resignation became known. The other names mentioned are Mr Howard Vincent, Mr Munro, Mr Farndale (Birmingham), Mr Harold (Dublin), and Sir Stuart Hogg, a retired Anglo Indian, for some time Commissioner of Police in Calcutta. Mr Coathupe has more than once attracted the special notice of the Prince of Wales and received his congratulations and thanks, and it was at first thought that he was one of the provincial chief constables referred to as probable candidates.


But illness struck. The Birmingham Mail, 28 December 1888: MR FARNDALE’S ILLNESS. Although Mr Farndale has been incapacitated for a considerable time, it has not yet been announced what he has actually been suffering from. A severe cold was at the outset said to be the cause, but when he was recommended to repair to the South of England it was generally accepted that his illness was of much greater severity than his medical attendants chose to announce. During his absence he continued to lose strength, and the development of the obstinate complaint manifested itself in a manner which occasioned considerable apprehension. The fact is that the Chief of Police contracted an attack of diphtheria of such a peculiar character that his medical advisers were baffled in their diagnosis. During the latter part of his stay at Torquay, however, paralysis supervened, and then it dawned upon them that the primary complaint was diphtheria. The paralysis gave rise to much alarm, and Mr Farndale’s return was at once ordered. Since he has been at home he has been attended by Sir W Foster and Drs Wilders and Hunt, and we are pleased to be able to announce that he is now showing some signs of improvement, although some time must yet transpire ere he is able to resume his duties.




The Birmingham Mail, 5 January 1889: I hear with regret that Mr Farndale has had a relapse, which has aroused fresh fears amongst his friends and medical advisers. The paralysis from which he was suffering on his return to Birmingham at first showed some signs of gradual abatement, but with the advent of the cold weather the symptoms returned with increased severity, and the dense fogs have also tended to render anything like a speedy recovery less hopeful.


The Whitby Gazette, 11 January 1889: Mr Farndale, chief constable of Birmingham, who has been seriously ill, is now slightly improving.


But he found it necessary to sell his horse: The Birmingham Mail, 6 February 1889 advertised: CAVES, BIRMINGHAM, TOMORROW (Thursday), THE property of Joseph Farndale Esq, a BROWN MARE, 16.1; quiet to rise and quiet in harness. By Auction, in the usual Horse Sale.


The Derbyshire Times, 9 February 1889: I have heard for some time with regret of the serious illness of Chief Constable Farndale of Birmingham and formerly Chief Constable of Chesterfield. Mr Farndale unfortunately contracted diphtheria which was followed by diptheric paralysis of the throat, complicated by kidney disorders. Mr Farndale’s many friends will however be glad to hear that he is decidedly better and Dr Lawson Tait gives hope of a seedy recovery. Mr Farndale is held in kindly memory in Chesterfield, and I trust he will soon be well and strong again.


The Birmingham Mail, 16 February 1889: Anyone passing a certain police station within the limits of the city early on Monday morning last, might have witnessed a very lively snowballing encounter, between a dozen or so of Mr Farndale’s most trusted officers. Of course very few people were about at the time, but these opened their eyes in astonishment with which the myrmidons of the law entered into their game. The scene would have delighted some of the ragamuffins who were later in the day rebuked by the self same officers for doing a similar thing.


Joseph was back at work by April 1889. The Birmingham Mail, 26 April 1889: THE DEMONSTRATION IN BINGLEY HALL All the tickets for the Unionist demonstration in Bingley Hall tonight have been applied for and issued … The convenience of ticket holders has been admirably provided for in the arrangements made by the Chief Constable (Mr Farndale), which include the blocking of King Alfred’s Place, King Edward’s Place, and part of Cambridge Street by cordons of police, who will permit no person to pass unprovided with a ticket.


He was welcomed back to work with speeches and an Illuminated Address. The Whitby Gazette, 14 June 1889: The Chief Constable of Birmingham (Mr Farndale) is shortly to be made the recipient of a testimonial from the Birmingham Magistrates and many influential citizens. The committee which has been formed to carry out the presentation consider that as the prolonged illness of the chief has entailed a very heavy expense, a substantial monetary testimonial would be both an appropriate and graceful act. Already a resolution has been passed expressive of cordial congratulation on his recovery. The presentation committee also aim at showing their high appreciation of Mr Farndale’s many excellent services in connection with the force by the fund which they have initiated. Circulars asking for subscriptions have even forwarded to those who it is thought would like to participate in the testimonial, but the appeal is in no wise a public one – in fact it is being made privately.


The Birmingham Daily Post 27 June 1889:


Inspection of the City Police Force. Colonel Cobbe, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary for the Midland District, yesterday afternoon inspected the police force in the yard at the rear of the police station in Duke Street …


The men were drawn up in their various divisions …  Mr and Mrs Farndale were driven into the centre …Superintendent Sheppard then presented the Chief Constable with an handsomely illuminated address … He wished the chief a long life and good health, and referred to the kindness that Mr Farndale had always shown to members of the force.


The address, which was read by Superintendent Sheppard, was as follows: “Address to Joseph Farndale Esq., Chief Constable for the City of Birmingham – We, the undersigned, deputed by a meeting assembled and representing the whole body of the Birmingham Police Force, consisting of 550 members, heartily congratulate you upon your resumption of duties as chief in this large and important city. We rejoice at your restoration to health, as we sympathised with you in your serious and protracted illness; and it is now a source of happiness for us to have the opportunity of thus expressing to you how much we cherish and admire those qualities so characteristic of you, and which have drawn and endeared us to you during your chief constableship here. We feel that when and wherever qualities abound which have distinguished your career in such an eminent degree then will a true appreciating and grateful people respond and unmistakably demonstrate in no uncertain way the inspiration in their hearts. We therefore ask you sir, prompted by these feelings, to accept this illuminated address, not for its intrinsic value, but rather as an outcome of our expression of pleasure and congratulations upon your resumption of duties, and as a small token of our admiration of your worth as chief, man and friend. With a fervent wish that your convalescence be of long duration and that you live long in the buoyancy of health to champion our cause as hitherto in the course and conduct of our duties, and in the path of wisdom, justice and right. Signed, on behalf of the members of the force, Superintendents Wm Wilcox, Rd Sheppard, Wm Shaw, Philip Stephenson, Joseph Hervey, James Black, and David Noon.”


Superintendent Wilcox also added a few words in a similar strain and presented two handsome bouquets to Mrs Edwards and Mrs Farndale. The Chief Constable, in acknowledging the presentation, expressed the great pleasure which this unanimous demonstration on the part of the men had afforded him. He was in a measure prepared for something of the kind, because of the kindness that had been shown towards him by all the members of the force during his illness. He attributed his recovery in a great measure to this cause, because cheerfulness of mind played a great part in such matters. …


The Mayor, on behalf of the City, expressed gratification at seeing Mr Farndale once more about and making progress towards as he (the speaker) hoped, perfect health. … Cheers were then given for the Chief Constable, and afterwards for the Mayor, and the constables then dispersed to their various divisions.


The Birmingham Daily Post, 7 and 17 July 1889:




A largely attended and representative meeting was held at the Council House, yesterday, for the purpose of making a presentation to Mr Joseph Farndale, the chief of police, upon his restoration from his long and serious illness. Mr Jaffray occupied the chair and amongst those present were the Rev Canon Wilkinson, Alderman Sir Thos Martineau, the Town Clerk (Mr E O Smith), Alderman Pollack, Messrs W Holliday, A Hill, G Marris, HG Reid, JC Holder, WM Ellis, TH Bartlett, Joseph Ansed, Councillor Lawley Parker, Councillor Barclay, Councillor Bishop, … Mr Farndale was warmly applauded on entering the room. The balance sheet showed that the memorial fund amounted to £433 1s and that the expenses, including the preparation of an illuminated address, were £28 1s. There were 201 contributors.


The Chairman read the following address which was illuminated for framing by Mr Morton, and of which a copy was bound in book form with the names of the subscribers:- “To Joseph Farndale, Esq., Chief Constable for the City of Birmingham. Dear Mr Farndale, - We, the undersigned, on behalf of several of your friends and well wishers, are desirous of tendering to you our warm and sincere congratulations upon your restoration to health after your late severe and prolonged illness, and of expressing to you the hope that such restoration is of a permanent nature, and the gratification we feel in seeing you are able to resume the active duties in your important office. We acknowledge with pleasure the efficient and masterly manner in which you have controlled the civil order and protected the individual and material interests of this great city; the able assistance  that you are ever ready with unvarying courtesy to afford to all persons in connection with your office, even in matters not forming part of your official duties, and the high esteem in which you are held by the officers and men of the force of which you are chief; and we look forward with pleasure in the hope of seeing your face amongst us for many years. As a mark of our personal regard we request that you will accept the accompanying cheque for £405. We are, dear Mr Farndale, faithfully yours …”


In handing over the address, the Chairman said he could not sit down without expressing, on behalf of that very representative meeting of Mr Farndale’s fellow townsmen, their appreciation of his character and service. He was old enough, unhappily, to remember a succession of chief constables in Birmingham, and he spoke of the sentiments of those who knew most intimately how Mr Farndale discharged his duties when he said that no officer who ever presided over the police force had ever discharged his duties with more courtesy, with less friction, and with ore ability. They all knew how easy it was to cause annoyance in the discharge of delicate and responsible duties as those which pertained to the chief of police. They had the proof of it very recently in London, where something of a social revolution was threatened by the friction – he did not say whether what was done was right or not – which took place between the police and the civilians. They had never experienced anything of the sort since Mr Farndale came amongst them. There had been the utmost good feeling, and it was well not only that the law should be respected, but that its administration should be so gentle it was scarcely felt or seen. Then, with respect to the regulation of the streets, none of them could fail to see the improvement as regarded safety of persons crossing the streets at crowded points through the organisation of the traffic and the invariable courtesy with which the police were ready to ‘help the lame dog’ across. Then take another matter, the dispersion of large assemblies on a wet night from the town hall. What a chaos it used to be, and how almost impossible for those in charge of ladies to get away. Now, however, they simply handed a card to a policeman, it was taken in the most polite way, and their carriage was found without disorder or delay. Within Mr Farndale’s household – the police force – matters were admirably arranged, and a finer body of men it would be impossible to find. Even the London newspapers, who found fault with many things in Birmingham, and who were bound to say something nasty (laughter) never Said anything disparaging of the police. (Hear, hear). In the proceedings the other day the most prominent feature was the martial bearing and action of the police force. Mr Farndale had already received from the members of his force a recognition of his kindliness of spirit and the good feeling which prevailed between him and those under his command. The present meeting, which might be taken as representative of the whole town, testified to the general appreciation of the way in which he had conducted his difficult and delicate duties, and they echoed the hope expressed that Mr Farndale may regain as much health and strength as he previously enjoyed, and that he might long be spared to discharge the duties of his important office, (Applause). The Chairman, in conclusion, handed over to Mr Farndale the cheque for £405, and expressed regret that Mrs Farndale was not able to be present to receive the beautiful bouquet which it had been intended to present to her.


Mr Farndale, in reply, said that he had not been altogether ignorant of the fact that some presentation was to be made to him, but he was greatly surprised at the extent to which the movement had been taken up. He thanked the committee and subscribers most sincerely and he thanked Mr Jeffray not only for occupying the chair and for the too flattering words he had uttered concerning himself, but for the way he had spoken of the police force. He was very proud pf the Birmingham Police, and he was greatly pleased t find that pride was shared by a very large number of the inhabitants of the city. There had been some misapprehension current with regard to the number of cases in which men were reported against, especially for drunkenness; but he was glad to say that whereas some years ago the reports every year amounted to several hundreds, last year, with an augmented force, the number of offences for which members of the police force were reported were just brought down to two figures, being only 99. He fully endorsed what had been said as to the manner in which the force performed their duties. They could have no greater proof that they discharged their duties intelligently than the fact that fir the last two or three years – certainly two, if not more – they had not had a single complaint or action brought against any constable for illegal arrest or illegal search, although they were often called upon at a moment’s notice to decide cases which some of his friends, who were lawyers, would want a little time to consider. It had been his lot to receive testimonials on several occasions but they had been parting gifts by the sorrow of saying ‘goodbye’. He was glad that feature was not characteristic of the present occasion. He thanked those of all classes, from the lord lieutenant and high sheriff down to the most humble citizens, who had expressed sympathy for hum in his illness; and he echoed the chairman’s hope that he might be spared to serve the people of Birmingham, who had never lost an opportunity of showing him kindness, and who had evinced so generous an appreciation of his services.


On the motion of the Rev Canon Wilkinson, seconded by Dr Lawson Tait, a vote of thanks was passed to the chairman and to the two hon secretaries, and the proceedings terminated.


Mr Farndale has received from an anonymous contributor, signed himself ‘a friend’, the sum of five guineas, which the donor said he should have been pleased to have added to the private list if he had been aware of it at the time.


There was a visit by the Shah of Persia in July 1889. The Birmingham Daily Post, 5 July 1889: THE SHAH’S VISIT TO BIRMINGHAM. His Majesty the Shah of Persia is expected to arrive at New Street Station by special train from Bromsgrove at about 11.30am on the morning of Thursday, the 11th instant. … The street traffic will be under the control of the Chef Constable (Mr Farndale). As it is expected that considerable interest will be evinced in the visit of the Shah and in his progress through the streets, the Mayor hopes that the inhabitants will maintain the reputation of the city in assisting in the preservation of order along the line of the procession, and by keeping the route clear and free of obstruction.


The Birmingham Daily Post, 12 July 1889:






The Shah paid his promised visit to Birmingham yesterday, but the event was robbed somewhat of the éclat which would otherwise have attended it through an unfortunate upsetting of the programme which had been arranged.


The article refers to the changed plans of the Shah which led to delays whilst sightseers had already turned out and shop keepers found their business suspended or closed.


A great many undoubtedly thought the time too valuable to idle away, even to show respect to England’s guest – for the crowds in the street thinned. Those who remained behind either waited patiently at their posts or promenaded along the pavements willing away the time as best they could. The name of the illustrious visitor was in every one’s mouth but what was said about him had better not be published. “What a shame!”. “Our Queen wouldn’t serve us such a trick”, “I suppose he thinks he can do as he likes with us”, were among the very mildest of the grumbling comments … “He ain’t worth a tanner” suggested one irreverent passer by. “”What!”, shrieked the man in the cart, “not worth a tanner, when he’s doing all this to save war with old England! – Bah!” … Quite a sigh of relief went up as Mr Farndale and a few mounted policemen rode down to the station. The Mayor followed, the ugly rumours that the Shah was not coming at all were thrown to the winds, and in due course patience was rewarded and curiosity to a certain extent satisfied by the Imperial possession …


As soon as the Shah’s carriage had left the station yard, it was surrounded by a squadron of the 9th Lancers, under Major Mackenizie … who formed the escort. The procession was headed by Mr Farndale, the chief superintendent of police, and the carriages not covered by the escort were flanked by mounted constables


The Bromsgrove and Droitwich Messenger, 17 August 1889: DEATH OF INSPECTOR CHECKETTS. The police who attended numbered more than one hundred, including superintendents, inspectors, sergeants and constables, and Mr Farndale (the Chief Constable). The funeral cortege was headed by the police band


The Dudley Mercury, 31 August 1889: Amongst the visitors of Droitwich, who are taking the brine baths, are … Mr Farndale (chief of the Birmingham Police) and many others of lesser note.


The Birmingham Daily Post, 5 November 1889: PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO CHILDREN. The annual meeting of the Birmingham Branch of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was held yesterday … With regard to Mr Farndale, he was pleased he had recovered from his recent illness, and was gratified to find that he had given good assistance to the society (cheers).


There was an account of 1889 from 50 years later in the Birmingham Mail, 18 March 1939:


FIFTY YEARS AGO. The Right Honourable Henry Cecil Raikes MP, Postmaster General, laid the foundation stone of the new post office. In a cavity beneath the stone was placed a copy of the ‘Mail’. Mr Joseph Chamberlain was present and spoke of the Birmingham of a further 50 years ago, the 1830s, when there were no parks, baths, or wash houses, no museums, very few schools, very little paving, except for the petrified kidney order, no sewerage, no sanitary arrangements and the death rate was five or six and 1000 higher.


In the large crowd present pickpockets got a gaol hall, but three of them were chased and arrested after a struggle.


The Council Chamber and the Reception Hall of the Council House were being fitted up in the form of temporary law courts for the opening of the Spring Assize. The ailing chief constable of Birmingham, Mr Farndale, had to give up his home on the Hagley Road for Her Majesty's judges, and he had been moved in a bath chair under the care of his physician to a friends house in Calthorpe Road.


Board school teachers had been accused of inflicting cruel secret punishments on their charges, and the school Board had announced that it must stop. After inflicting corporal punishment a teacher had to record it in a special book.


A headmaster wrote to the Mail: “Imagine the trials and tribulations of a young assistant shut up in a classroom with 60 or 70 children, hour after hour, day off today, week after week. Some of the scholars have been born to lying, thieving and impudance, yet almost every one of them, capacity or no capacity, must be made to pass the government examinations at the end of the year. The restricted assistant yields to temptation, and punishes on the sly.


Robin Goodfellow.




The Birmingham Mail, 19 March 1890: THE POLICE AND THE EIGHT HOURS SYSTEM. The part played by the police forces of the country in the public affairs is so important that any question bearing upon the administration of their official duties becomes a matter in which all law abiding citizens should not only take a interest, but if necessary, their opinion should be earnestly consulted. We have now before us the fact that a section of our police force is agitating for a return to the old system of duty viz, that of performing the entire eight hours duty straight off the reel, thus leaving the remaining sixteen hours at their disposal … The discussion at the Council meeting clearly showed that this satisfactory feature of administration is the result of the system instituted by Mr Farndale


The Birmingham Daily Post, 31 May 1890: POLICEMEN’S HOURS. The debate in the City Council on the management of the police force has not, as it may h=be supposed to have done, settled the question … The long duty system was in force during the greater art of Major Bond’s term of headship; the short duty system was introduced by Mr Farndale seven years ago. Its introduction was marked by the concession of a day’s leave per month, and thus was in the nature of a compensation … The chief motive of the agitation is to obtain a longer spell off duty … The sole question which has to be considered by the management of the force is as to the effect upon discipline, physique and general efficiency; and as soon as this question is raised the case against the long duty system appears to be very strong. The Watch Committee and the Chief Constable seem, at all events, to be agreed upon this point. It was this consideration which induced Mr Farndale eight years ago to recommend the abandonment of the system. He was struck by an absence of smartness in the appearance of the men, especially of those who were doing an early spell of duty from 6am to 2pm. It occurred to him that, supporting the men were sensible enough in every case to make a temperate use of their sixteen hours freedom, it was hardly probable that they would get a warm meal before starting out so early in the morning, or find very much time for brushing up their uniforms


The issue of “the Dynamitards”, then recurred and questions arose about the legitimacy of the arrests of Daly and others in the 1884 arrests (as distinct from the very successful arrest of Whitehead in 1883). Joseph Farndale appeared to have had his doubts about the legitimacy of those 1884 arrests and was concerned about methods adopted by the Irish Police, although there was controversy about exactly what Joseph Farndale said to Alderman Manton. He was clearly a man of conscience who worried about the legitimacy of the arrests when facts came to his attention later.


The Staffordshire Chronicle, 27 September 1890:






On Monday, Mr W T Bryan, secretary of the demonstration which took place in Tipperary on Sunday to protest against the treatment to which Mr John Daly and his fellow prisoners have been subjected in Chatham gaol, received a letter from Mr William O’Brien MP … I have for some time been in communication with an English gentleman of much eminence in Birmingham, who has discovered startling proofs that John Daly is the victim of a plot organised by emissaries of the Irish Constabulary. His authority for this terrible charge is no less a personage than the chief constable of one of the principal English cities, whose confession has been before the Home Secretary. It will be our duty to press for the fullest investigation of this horrible business, and to insist that pending such investigation there shall be no continuance of the barbaric system of prison torment revealed in the evidence before the late unfairly constituted commission. …


Alderman Manton’s statement, so far as the conviction of Daly is concerned, is briefly as follows: He states that a few weeks after the trial at Warwick, Mr Farndale, the Chief Constable of Birmingham, told him – Alderman Manton puts it that Mr Farndale came to him to unburden himself of a secret that was truly troubling his conscience – that the explosives found on Daly when he was arrested had been planted on him by an agent in the employ of the Irish police; that Daly and Egan were maintained for some time previous to their arrest by money supplied to them by this agent; that it was he who made an appointment with Daly to hand over the bombs; that he did in fact give Daly the bombs at Stafford station; and that the police, acting on instructions, allowed this agent to escape. Alderman Manton alleges that he has evidence in his possession, which not only confirms the statements which he alleges were made by Mr Farndale, but which points to the absolute innocence of Daly. It is on these grounds that he has been agitating either for an inquiry or for the quiet release of the prisoners.


Mr Farndale’s position in the matter is rather plain. There is a distinct conflict of statement between him and Alderman Manton as to the circumstance under which first communication was made. Mr Farndale, we believe, declares that he informed Alderman Manton of the employment of the agent, not in any way as a confession, but merely as a repetition, at Alderman Manton’s solicitation. Of a statement which Mr Farndale, in the absence through illness of the alderman, had already made to the Watch Committee. Mr Farndale told the watch Committee, and subsequently Alderman Manton, that he entertained the gravest objections to the methods which the Irish police had employed in obtaining the conviction, and that had he known at the outset of the extent to which the agent provocateur had been employed he would have declined all connection with the case. These options Mr Farndale still holds, but he has never stated, as alleged by Mr John O’Connor, that “the whole thing was a put up job”; nor has he expressed any doubt as to the justice of Daly’s conviction … In justice to Mr Farndale it should be stated that bot a shadow of responsibility attaches to him for the employment of this agent. Mr Farndale’s duty in the matter was simply to obey the directions of the Irish police in charge of the case, and it was not until a very late period that he knew the methods to which he objected were employed


The Dis Express, 3 October 1890:




In view of the agitation for the reconsideration of the case of John Daly, the dynamitard, who was sentenced to penal servitude for life for treason felony, and is now an inmate at Chatham Convict Prison, it may be mentioned that he was tried at the Warwickshire Assizes in July 1884, by Mr Justice Hawkins….


Soon after the conviction Mr Manton began his correspondence, writing among others to Mr Gladstone, then Prime Minister, and Mr Parnell, but his letters led to no result …From Mr Parnell no reply whatever was received, but Mr Manton explains this by alleging that his letter to that gentleman was intercepted in the Post Office and never received by the addressee. He draws this conclusion from the fact that Mr Farndale, chief of the Birmingham police, and a borough magistrate, mentioned to him that he had been writing to Mr Parnell, a circumstance of which they had become informed in some mysterious manner. An easier explanation is that these gentlemen had learnt of the circumstances from Mr Edwards, to whom My Manton had stated he had written …


In support of Manton’s request for Daly’s release, he submitted the following narrative of a conversation he had with the chief of the Birmingham police: “Mr Farndale soke as follows. ‘Mr Alderman Manton, you will be surprised  when I tell you that the explosives found on Daly were planted on him by the police.’ I said ‘Can it be possible?’ Mr F replied ‘It was really so.’ I said ‘Are you absolutely certain?’ Mr F said ‘I am’, adding ‘and I promise you that I will never engage in another such business as long as I live’.


… It appears that Mr Farndale told the Birmingham Watch Committee, and subsequently Alderman Manton, that he entertained the gravest objections to the methods which the Irish police had employed in obtaining the conviction, and that had he known from the outset of the extent to which the agent provocateur had been employed he would have declined all connection with the Case. These opinions Mr Farndale still holds, but he has never stated, as alleged by Mr John O’Connor that “the whole thing was a put up job”, or has he expressed ay doubt as to the justice of Daly’s conviction. The whole question indeed, turns on the propriety of the employment of spies for the purpose for which the agent was used.



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The Illustrated Weekly Telegraph, 4 October 1890 and Aberdeen Press and Journal, 8 October 1890 reported: Much excitement has naturally been caused by the assertion of certain Irish members that Daly, the convicted dymamitard, who is present at Chatham gaol, is an innocent man. … According to the Birmingham Alderman’s statement made to Mr O’Brien, Chief Constable Farndale of that city was the official referred to as having a knowledge at the time of the dynamite “plant” put on Daly by an agent of the Irish constabulary. Mr Farndale, on the other hand, emphatically denies ever having stated that “the whole thing was a put up job” or having expressed any doubt as to the justice of Daly’s conviction. It is said that Chief Constable Farndale, of Birmingham, whose name has suddenly sprung into prominence, is far from being a likely man to strengthen the hands of the Irish party. Outside his district and as far away as Scotland Yard he is known as an experienced and zealous officer, and on several occasions he shared the honour with Chief Constable Malcolm Wood of Manchester with being mentioned as worthy of the Chief Commissionership of the metropolis. He has risen from the ranks by sheer ability, and step by step fought his way to chief of the Leicester police, and from thence he went to fill a similar post in Birmingham.




In the 1891 census, Joseph Farndale, Chief of Police, 48, was listed at Hagley Road, Edgbaston, Kings Norton, Warwickshire, with Jane Farndale, 50; John William Farndale, a medical student, aged 22; three visitors; and three servants – a parlour maid, a housemaid, and a cook


The Birmingham Mail, 17 January 1891: THE SHOPKEEPERS’ GRIEVANCE AGAINST THE POLICE. A meeting of the Birmingham and District Drapers’ Association was held at the Colonnade Hotel, New Street, yesterday. It was presided over by Mr Alfred Baker. The question of the police notice relating to the obstruction of footpaths was discussed, and it was resolved that a sub committee consisting of officers of the association, and Messrs Roach, Bennion, W Oliver, Stevens and Atkinson, should wait upon Mr Farndale, to confer with him as to the threatened prosecutions in the matter. The deputation subsequently had a conference with Mr Farndale at the Council House, and laid the grievances of the trade before him. He gave assurance that no prosecutions should be instituted against any member of the trade without first communicating with the officers of the association.


The Birmingham Mail, 4 August 1891: MR FARNDALE AND THE DALY CASE. Only thirty nine members of Parliament were found to support Mr Redmond’s motion last night for the reconsideration of the sentences passed upon the dynamite convicts, Daly and Egan. Even the Irish members, with few exceptions, took a languid interest in this threadbare topic. ... The dethroned Irish leader and his henchman, Mr Redmond, both made speeches which were stale repetitions of Alderman Manton’s contention that the dynamite bombs were planted upon Daly by an agent provocateur… He, of course, did not omit to embellish his case with the narrative of what Mr Farndale,. The Chief Constable of Birmingham, is supposed to have said to Alderman Manton … upon this more or less fictitious account of Mr Farndale’s interview with Alderman Manton was based the case for reconsideration of Daly and Egan’s sentence



The Tenbury Wells Advertiser, 11 August 1891: Having gone minutely into the matter, the Home Secretary asserted that there was not a little evidence to bear out Mr Farndale’s interference, which he reminded the House, was drawn in answer to a severe reproof administered by the Birmingham Watch Committee in regard to the carelessness of the Birmingham Police in allowing Daly to allude them




The Birmingham Daily Post, 6 April 1892: THE SALARIES OF MR FARNDALE AND SUPERINTENDENT TOZER. Mr Wilders submitted the report of the Watch Committee, and in accordance with its recommendation moved that the salary of Mr Farndale should increase from £800 to £900 per annum. He said the proposal had received the most careful consideration of the committee, who had come to the conclusion that it was simply an act of justice to a most energetic, efficient and experienced officer. Mr Farndale had been a policeman thirty years; he was forty none years of age, and one of the most energetic, experienced and efficient chief constables in the kingdom. He was a thorough disciplinarian, always kind and considerate to his men; and he possessed sound judgment and tact in a remarkable degree … Mr Farndale could if he hose leave the force tomorrow, and claim a pension of £532 per annum from the Police Superannuation Fund … Mr Stevens proposed as an amendment “That the increase of Mr Farndale’s salary be deferred until after November next in order that the ratepayers may have an opportunity of expressing their opinion on this … There was further debate.. The amendment only received 5 votes and the original motion was carried.


The Swindon Advertiser, 4 June 1892: RAILWAY ACCIDENT IN BIRMNGHAM. EXPRESSES IN COLLISION. A terrible railway accident happened shortly before five o’clock on Friday in Birmingham, two expresses making for the Derby junction at the end of the Lawley Street viaduct colliding at the points … The body was quickly removed to the Duke Street mortuary, when the full extent of the catastrophe was learned, the railway officials along with the Chief Constable (Mr Farndale), did everything they could to aid the injured passengers, who were sent to the General and Queen’s Hospital in cabs and other available vehicles


The Scotsman, 4 November 1892:






The Birmingham Daily Mail yesterday published the following account of an interview with an ex prisoner, who, at Chatham and Portland, came in close contact with some of the principal convicted dynamitards.


By a somewhat singular circumstance, a representative of the Mail had an opportunity, a few days ago, of a conversation with a man who, during his incarceration at Portland and Chatham, worked side by side with several of the prisoners who were convicted of treason felony in connection with the American dynamite campaign. His story of the way in which they conducted themselves during his enforced companionship with them, of their remarks concerning the crimes for which they were convicted, of their general bearing towards those around them and their dispositioned and aspirations in regard to the future are intensely interesting in view of the efforts which are now being made for their release. As to its reliability, the writer, of course, has no means of judging, except from the manner in which the man told what he had to say, and his conclusion was that it was a plain unvarnished tale, nothing extenuated and naught set down in malice. The man cannot gain anything from it, and in many of its particulars the authorities, if they choose, may very easily test its credibility.


The first point on which the writer invited information was which of the dynamite convicts his informant had had acquaintance with, and to what degree that acquaintance extended, and the question was asked: “How did you manage to become acquainted with your fellow convicts, when absolute silence is enforced, and conversation punished, I believe most rigorously?” “Well, we work in gangs”, he replied. “I was a ‘Red Star’ man, that is, one who has never been convicted before, and the ‘Red Star’ men are, as a rule, kept together. The dynamite convicts are all ‘Red Star’ men, and so in my gang, which comprised a good number of well educated men, some in for very small offences, most of the dynamiters were included. There were about sixty of us in one work room at the tailoring, and there were two warders only to watch us, they could not always have their eyes on the whole sixty but we could all have our eyes on them …


… He is constantly offering the warders insolence, calling them ‘pound a week men’, and irritating them by offensive remarks; and of course he always got hauled up for that, for that is considered a most dangerous form of insubordination. He complained once to me about being had up for a bit of paper. He had been searched, and a bit of brown paper with some writing on it, which he intended to pass to some fellow some of his fellow dynamiters, had been found on him. Another thing peculiar about the dynamite prisoners is that they all knew all that is going on outside. Even when they're not receiving friends they get information from the outside. I have a guess how it is done, but I need not say what it is. They were able to tell me that ‘Joe Biggar’ was dead; and all the time the Parnell Commission was on they used to tell us about Pigott and Le Caron, and they had great rejoicing at the way in which Michael Davitt was acting and of the exposure of Piggott. They got very excited at that time and we other convicts used to hear them singing ‘God save Ireland’ in their cells. Of course that was all against all regulations, but they did not care, and they seemed to get off being punished for it. If any other convict had gone on in that way he would soon have been held up.


I know that Egan does hope to be released. The first time he said anything about it was after a visit from Mr Barry, who, I believe he said, was MP for Westmeath. He said Mr Barry had come down and had told him that it had come about the affair over which he and Daly had been convicted. It had been discovered to be all the plot between the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Birmingham police, that an Alderman in Birmingham had found out all about it and said that Mr Farndale, the chief of police, had been dismissed, and that he and Daly were going to be liberated. About the Ledsam Street gang, Dr Gallacher and Whitehead and Norman and the others who were sentenced to penal servitude for life in connection with the nitro-glycerine factory in Ledsam Street and the wholesale importation of the explosive to London for the purpose of blowing up public buildings, our informant had not very much to say.


A more recent account was published in Crime, 22 July 2021.




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In the late 1800s, Birmingham and the Black Country was riddled by a maze of terrorist cells. With large Irish populations, the West Midlands’ major cities were infiltrated by ruthless members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, a shadowy organisation that believed freedom could only be achieved through blood-letting.


Like the IRA, they were intent on gaining Irish independence through bombing England’s landmarks.


One such terrorist was Alfred Whitehead, a man who turned his ladywood shop into a dynamite factory.


His deadly trade - a trade funded by sympathisers in America - was uncovered on April 5, at 1883, but Victorian detectives feared their raid had come too late to prevent caches of explosives being sent to IRB terrorists around the country.


Just a year later a plot that would have gone down as the worst terrorist strike in British history was rumbled in the nick of time. The ‘Dynamitards’ as they were dubbed planned to bring large scale death and destruction to Victoria, Paddington and Charing Cross Railway stations. The Law courts and Notting Hill police office were also earmarked for destruction. Thousands would have died in the blasts, part of what was dubbed the Fenian dynamite campaign.


Over 80 people were injured during the campaign,


One young boy was killed, as well as two of the bombers, in the 1884 blast at London Bridge. That campaign led to the establishment of the Special Branch, first known as the Special Irish Branch, but many of the blueprints for the crime were drawn up in the West Midlands.


At the end of February 1884, the nation was shocked to learn 20 pounds of dynamites had been founded the busy railway stations.


Luck was on the side of our law enforcement officers. The bombs were set to explode at noon, but the timing devices on all three jammed at 9.


The hunt was on to find the men responsible and a reward of £2,000 (£115,000 today) was posted.


Soon three alleged dynamitards were arrested in the West Midlands.


James Francis Egan was licensee of a number of Black Country pubs, including the Royal George, Wednesbury, and Wolverhampton 's Duke of York.


John Daly, alias Denman, was a lodger at a Spark Hill property owned by Egan and considered the most senior member of the terrorist cell. Daly was, said detectives, caught red handed in Birkenhead.


He was also a known revolutionary and member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood who had been forced to flee to America after waging war against troops in his home country.


The third individual, O'Donnell, was later acquitted.


He was a sympathiser, but played no part in the plot.


History has caused doubt on the three men's guilt.


They may have been convenient full guys for a police force under pressure to find the culprits.


After being held at Winson Green, they were moved to Warwick gaol in a prison carriage with 10 guards armed with revolvers. The arrests made headlines in the Birmingham post of April 21. It reported:


“Although the excitement occasioned by the arrest of daily and Egan on Good Friday has subsided, the interest in the investigations which are being pursued by the Birmingham police remains unabated, and intelligence of some result is away awaited with not a little impatience. The interest mainly centres on Egan and the possible accomplices in the plot who are still at large.


In the case of Daly, the man was arrested with implements of destruction in his possession, and though he has still to go through the legal process of trial and conviction, no reasonable doubt can be felt that fitting punishment will be his.


The charge against Egan however depends upon somewhat different elements of proof. He was the master of the house in which Daly lodged, and a charge of conspiracy on his part with his tenant can only be satisfactorily established by the discovery of letters or of explosives hidden upon his premises in such a way as to show that he was cognizant of Daly’s proceedings, and either actively or passively abetted him in his nefarious activities. Curiosity is therefore natural as to the progress of the search which the detectives have been carrying on at Kyett’s Lake House in possession of which they have been for the last 10 days. A feeling, moreover, prevails that Daly must have had more than one confederate, and that if the police are not able to draw the meshes of the law fast around them, the arrest of Daly, important though it may be, is but a partial success …


An extraordinary reticence has been observed during the past week concerning the searching of the house, not even the legal adviser of Egan being informed of its progress.


The detectives engaged in the work which has been carried on by virtue of the Explosives Act, under the superintendence of Inspector Richard Price, has been, for some days, under threat of instant dismissal if they impart any information to the public. We have therefore been obliged to make our own independent inquiries, with the result of confirming to some extent the very strong indication that explosive material or infernal machines had been upon the premises.


We have reason, however, to conclude that the discovery to which such great importance is attached, was made upon the premises on Tuesday last.


Upon that day a cab was hailed from a neighbouring stand and a parcel resembling two cigar boxes wrapped in a textile fabric, was removed from Kyett’s Lake House by Detective Price.


We are officially informed that the discovery is not dynamite, but if reliance is to be placed upon the statement at the cab man, ‘to drive gently’, it points, together with the careful handling which Price exhibited, to the parcel containing some substance which certainly was not safe.”


Perhaps for security reasons, Daly was moved to Liverpool to face trial. Egan appeared before Birmingham magistrates on May 3.


The Birmingham Post later reported “James Francis Egan, 38, described as merchant’s clerk, was first charged with conspiring with John Daly to cause an explosion of a nature likely to endanger life” and “That charge was on Saturday abandoned, and one of treason felony substituted (Treason Felony Act 1848).”


Mr Poland, who was accompanied by Mr Cuffe, the treasury solicitor, prosecuted on behalf of the Crown and Mr O'Connor again appeared for the prisoner. The court was only partly filled, but among the spectators were Mrs Egan and her father.


“The prisoner leaned upon the dock rail, with his hands clasped, during the greater part of the time that the proceedings lasted and smiled at the reading of some of the documents.”


The canister in which they were found was a small round one, and appeared to have been in the ground for a considerable time. Mr Poland, in opening the case, said he had instructed the solicitor to the treasury to prosecute the prisoner for treason felony. Having explained the nature of the Act which renders the prisoner upon conviction liable to transportation for life, the learned counsel said on future occasions he would have the prisoner Daly in Birmingham, together with Egan, upon a charge of conspiracy. The prisoner had lived at Lake House since September, 1880, where he was joined in July 1882, by Daly, alias O'Donnell, alias Deadman.


Daly had previously lived at Birkenhead under the name of Denman, and had been on most intimate terms with Egan before he came to Birmingham. Before Daly came to Birmingham he had lived as an attendant at a lunatic asylum retreat in Sussex, and in July 1882 came to live with John Egan.


Daly, a republican who had fled Ireland after taking part in a 1867 Limerick uprising, received a long prison sentence.


In Chatham prison, Daly claimed he was being poisoned with belladonna, deadly nightshade, and was right.


An 1890 investigation uncovered what the authorities described as an error by the warder.


He was a free man by 1895 and elected as a Parnellite Irish National League Member of Parliament for Limerick City. He lectured in America and set up a successful bakery business in Limerick.


Disturbingly, he may have been wrongly gaoled over the London dynamite plot.


The head of the Birmingham police confessed on his deathbed that the Irishman had been convicted on perjured evidence.


Egan was sentenced to twenty years penal servitude, but served only half that sentence.


The New York Times of January 22, 1890 three, informed readers: James Francis Egan, convicted of participation at Birmingham in an Irish dynamite plot and sentenced to 20 years penal servitude, was released today from Portland prison.


This was by order of home secretary Asquith.


The prisoner’s health ill health was the cause of his restoration to liberty.


The Treason Felony Act 1848 is still in force in 2023. It is a law which protects the King and the Crown. The offences in the Act were originally high treason under the Sedition Act 1661 (later the Treason Act 1795), and consequently the penalty was death. However it was found that juries were often reluctant to convict people of capital crimes, and it was thought that the conviction rate might increase if the sentence was reduced to exile to the penal colonies in Australia (the penalty is now life imprisonment). Consequently, in 1848 three categories of treason (all derived from the 1795 Act) were reduced to felonies. This occurred during a period when the death penalty in the United Kingdom was being abolished for a great many offences. The Act does not prevent prosecutors from charging somebody with treason instead of treason felony if the same conduct amounts to both offences.


The article above seems unfair on Joseph Farndale, since the contemporaneous evidence of the media was that Joseph Farndale acted entirely properly in 1884, but when he later learned of facts that gave him rise to have concerns, he immediately consulted others about what should be done to resolve the matter. This was clearly not a deathbed ‘confession’, for the matter was debated in Parliament at the time, well before Joseph Farndale’s death and this must have arisen because Joseph Farndale had tried to do something about facts which he had subsequently learned.


The Birmingham Daily Post, 30 June 1892: AN INPECUNIOUS CHARACTER. Edwin Glover (40), a military looking man, of no occupation, was charged with obtaining two glasses of whisky and a cigar from George Hawthorne of the Malt Shovel Inn, and with consuming the same without having the means to pay for it … He later stated that he was Captain Glover and was well known to Mr Farndale


The Birmingham Daily Post, 24 December 1982: STRANGE CASE OF DISPUTED IDENTIFICATION. The Birmingham police have had to unravel during the last few days a singular question of identity relating to the body of a man … The man was a wire worker, and made fancy puzzles, bird cages and domestic nick nacks, and he lodged with a companion who followed the same avocation … He had been in business and had failed. This much was evident from the fact that his pockets contained an old cheque book, of which all the counterfoils but three were filled; and a pathetic commentary on the disaster by which he had been brought to take up peddling as a means of livelihood was supplied by an entry in his pocket book, which appeared to be the draft of a letter sent to his wife. It was in these words: “My own darling, I am utterly ruined. Good bye. God bless you forever. Your loving but heart broken …” Even the name appended to this touching farewell was illegible. … Yesterday, a few hours before the inquest opened, the Chief Constable (Mr Farndale) received from Inspector Stiggles, of Bow Street, the following telegram: “The body of man is that of M H Hay, whose friends reside at 39 Church Street, Kensington. Wife is now at Hastings, but family will send on as soon as possible to identify.” This information was forthcoming as the result of a visit to the bank in High Holborn, but it was manifestly not conclusive, since the deceased might not be the owner of the cheque book found in his possession




The Birmingham Daily Post, 11 January 1893: CHILDREN. ATTITUDE OF THE POLICE. The publicity given in the Daily Post to a painful case of juvenile depravity in Christmas week has caused the police a good deal of trouble. Detective Inspector Van Helden was brought back from his home in Holland, where he had gone to a fortnight's holiday; other detectives who were present during the scene we recorded have been questioned upon it, and the Chief Constable has made enquiries from the divisional superintendents. The result was embodied in a report which Mr Farndale presented on Monday to the judicial sub-committee, and is to be perceived also in a certain nervousness which appears to affect the behaviour of the detective force in their relations with journalists. The report was submitted to the Watch Committee yesterday morning, when Councillor Wilders presided, and there were also present mayor Alderman Parker, Alderman heart and Councillors Brfinsley, Whateley, and Bishop.


The Shields Daily News, 10 February 1893:




Mr JOHN REDMOND, resuming the debate on the Address, moved his amendment humbly representing to Her Majesty that the time had come when the cases of all prisoners under the Treason Felons Act who are and have been many years undergoing punishment for offences arising out of insurrectory movements connected with Ireland may be advantageously reconsidered …He especially instanced the case of Day, as to whom, he recalled the statement of Mr Farndale, of the Birmingham police, who had informed the local Watch Committee that it was in his knowledge that the explosives found in Daly’s possession were ‘planted’ upon him.


Mr CLANCY seconded the motion. He joined in the expression of the belief that Daly was an innocent man. Did the Chief Secretary or the Home Secretary believe that if Mr Farndale had given the evidence at the trial in Warwick which he and given since, Daly would have been convicted?




Mr ASQUITH, in replying on behalf of the Government, assured the mover that he entertained no fear that the action which had been taken would embarrass the Government,. The Government welcomed the opportunity to speak plainly on the subject (Ministerial cheers) … A number of documents were found at Daly’s lodgings, showing he was undoubtedly a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and had taken an active part in its proceedings. Daly was released after eight and a half years penal servitude because he had had sufficient punishment …


Mr POWELL WILLIAMS said that Mr Farndale had told him he did not believe the bombs were placed upon Daly by an agent provocateur. The statement of the Home Secretary would be welcomed by the whole country


Col NOLAN said .. The reason why successive Governments had refused to investigate Mr Farndale’s statement that the bombs were placed in Daly’s possession was the fear that if proved it would be a very great scandal against the English police

The House then divided, when there were:


For Mr Redmond’s Amendment – 81

Against – 397

Government majority: 316


In another more detailed report on the parliamentary proceedings in the Birmingham Daily Post, 10 February 1893:


… Mr ASQUITH … Now I will deal in a sentence or two with Mr Farndale. I have no jurisdiction of any sort or kind over him. He is a servant of the Birmingham Corporation. Mr Farndale has been questioned as to the statement Alderman Manton attributed to him, and he has declared it to be purely imagination. If so, what becomes of the suggested testimony of Mr Farndale that Daly was a victim of the police. The truth is Mr Farndale, who was the head of the police, was considerably annoyed that the arrest of Daly, in whose innocence at the time he did not believe, should have been procured not by the Birmingham, but by the Irish police


Mr POWELL WILLIAMS said … the contradiction was made to the Watch Committee, of whom at Mr Farndale was the servant, and he at the time and as early as he could, repudiated that statement of Alderman Manton to the effect that he, Mr Farndale, considered that Daly was an innocent person. What the Honourable Member said was that the Chief Constable of Birmingham had admitted, first of all, that those bombs were placed upon daily by an agent provocateur, and secondly, that he knew him to be an innocent man. To all those statements he could have he could give on Mr Farndale's behalf an emphatic contradiction.


Mr HARRINGTON: Does the Honourable Member pledge himself that he has the authority of Mr Farndale to say that he did not make the statement that these bombs were planted on daily by a member of the Irish police?


MR POWELL WILLIAMS said he was not authorised in any way to state (laughter). How could he be authorised within 10 minutes to make a statement for Mr farndale. But he would tell the honourable member and he would tell the house what Mr farndale had stated to him. He said to him that those bombs were not in his opinion placed upon daily by an agent provocateur.


The Scotsman, 23 January 1893:




James Frances Egan was, by order of the Home Secretary on Saturday afternoon released from Portland Prison, where he had been a convict for several years past … James Frances Egan arrived in Birmingham at 1.43 this (Sunday) afternoon). In London, on Saturday evening, he visited the National Liberal Club … He was very reticent towards the representatives of the press, but expressed his indebtedness to the Irish political party for their efforts towards his release, and especially he is grateful to Ald Manton and Mr Farndale for the part he understood they had taken 


South Wales Daily News, 25 January 1893: RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS. INTERVIEW WITH J F EGAN . SENSATIONAL STATEMENTS. WHY HE WAS IMPRISONED. CLAIMS TO BE “VICTIM OF A POLICE PLOT”. … I never despaired, because I knew perfectly well that what I had heard of the disclosures by Alderman Manton, and the action taken by Mr Farndale in honestly exposing the affair, would bring the public to see that a gross injustice had been done to me


York Herald, 18 February 1893:




Mr W REDMOND asked the Home Secretary if he would order a fresh investigation into the allegations made against the police by Alderman Manton, and question Mr Farndale, the Chief Constable of Birmingham upon the subject.


MR ASQUITH said so far as the matter was a personal one affecting Alderman Manton and Chief Constable Farndale, he had no right to interfere, so far as it affected the innocence or otherwise of Daly, the allegations had already been fully investigated, with the result which he stated to the House the other night (hear, hear).


Mr W REDMOND asked the right hon gentleman whether, in view of the opinions held by 80 Irish members out of 103, he would have a personal interview with Mr Farndale, and grant a fresh investigation into the case.


Mr ASQUITH did not think any useful purpose would be served by his having a personal interview with Mr Farndale. He was in possession of all the facts of the case.


Mr J REDMOND gave notice that in Committee of Supply he would press for further investigation.


Jane Farndale died suddenly in Stockton on 18 July 1893. The Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 29 July 1893 reported: Deaths … FARNDALE – on the 18th inst, at the house of her cousin, Mrs Hodgson, at Stockton on Tees, Jane, wife of Joseph Farndale, Chief Constable of Birmingham, formerly chief constable of Chesterfield.


The Northern Guardian (Hartlepool), 21 July 1893: SUDDEN DEATH AT STOCKTON. Mrs Farndale, wife of Joseph Farndale, chief constable of Birmingham, died suddenly yesterday at Stockton. The deceased lady had been in ill health for some months, and had been in medical treatment in London. About a fortnight ago she came to visit some friends who live in Yarm Lane, Stockton. She had a relapse yesterday afternoon and suddenly died. The deceased lady was 53 years of age.


The Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail, 21 July 1893: The Stockton police received information last night of the sudden death of Mrs Farndale, the wife of the Chief Constable of Birmingham. The deceased lady, it is stated, had been in ill health for some months past, and went to Stockton to stay with some friends.




The Birmingham Daily Post, 24 January 1894: A STRING OF OBJECTIONS. Mr Stanbury Eardley appeared at the Birmingham Police Court, yesterday, for Herbert Brooks, of Osler Street, cabman, summoned under the city bye laws for not being constantly in attendance on his cab at a public stand in Bath Row … Having elicited that the summons was taken out by Mr Farndale the chief constable), Mr Eardley urged that the informant ought to appear either in person or by counsel or attorney. On being told that the usual course was being followed, he replied, “The ramshackle procedure followed here does not affect me… Mr Eardley then said that he must call for the report on which the summons was applied for, but was told that he must subpoena Mr Farndale to produce it


The Birmingham Daily Post, 20 February 1894: NEW CENTRAL POLICE OFFICES. The Central Police Offices in Corporation Street adjoining the Victoria Courts, are rapidly approaching completion, and in a few days the removal of the scaffolding will give an uninterrupted view of the building … The police offices are entered into by the first door in Newton Street, opening into an entrance hall, which is to be fitted with benches for the convenience of that portion of the general public who may have business at the offices. From the hall, doors open to the rooms to be occupied by Mr Farndale and by Superintendent Wilcox and the clerks and a lobby adjoining the hall leads to the general store room and other apartments. An elaborately constructed staircase from the hall gives access to the first floor, where accommodation is found for the detective department


The Birmingham Daily Post, 9 March 1894: ALLEGED MILITARY SCANDAL IN BIRMNGHAM. There are indications that the closing days of the Bagot Street Factory as a Government Establishment will be attended with some excitement. It is alleged that for a long period certain officials of the factory have been receiving pecuniary premiums from workmen applying for situations there, and that the practice having come to the attention of the war Office, Lieutenant and Quartermaster Locke and Sergeant-major Murray have been placed under arrest pending an investigation by court martial. Locke and Murray have been in charge of the corps of armourers from which men are selected from time to time to act as armourers to the various regiments – positions for which, on account of their remunerative character, there is a great deal of competition … The greatest secrecy had to be observed in the conduct of the enquiry, which was placed in the hands of Colonel King-Harman. He was advised by the Secretary of State for War to seek the aid of the Chief Constable,. Mr Farndale was made acquainted with the nature of the complaints, and the assistance he offered was readily accepted


The Morning Post, 14 March 1894:




MR REDMOND … Having referred to the fact that Mr Farndale, the Chief Constable of Birmingham, was still of the opinion that the explosives found on the prisoner Daly had been ‘planted’ upon him by an agent in the pay of the Irish police, the hon and learned member said he had an entirely new case to bring under the notice of the Home Secretary. It was that of a man called Curtin Kent, a labourer and an illiterate man, who could not by any possibility have been a principal in the dynamite conspiracy … He was put on trial with the other me and, although the only evidence against him was that he had written to Gallagher and got £5 from him, he was convicted and sentenced to penal servitude for life …


MR ASQUITH reminded the House that the general considerations which affected this question were fully debated a year ago, when he expressed at considerable length and in much detail the views of her Majesty’s Government. …


The Aberdeen Evening Express, 25 April 1894: A “MOOSTONE” MYSTERY IN REAL LIFE. By a curious combination of chances a valuable diamond which was lost more than 20 years ago at Birmingham has been discovered, and is now in the possession of Mr Farndale, the chief constable. Some days ago one of the workmen in the employ of Messrs Taunton, safe manufacturers, was engaged in repairing a safe, and came across a piece of paper in which was a large diamond, estimated to be worth at least £100….


The Birmingham Daily Post, 16 July 1894: LIFEBOAT SATURDAY IN BIRMINGHAM. The procession was timed to leave Cambridge Street at half past two, and a quarter of an hour later the signal was given, and Mr Farndale led the way through the centre of the city … The streets were lined by two hundred police officers, who, together with the one hundred in procession, had volunteered for the duty. Mr Farndale was in command … The streets were crowded with people … and it was often with great difficulty that Mr Farndale and his mounted officers could force their way through


The Birmingham Daily Gazette, 28 July 1894:




The Home Secretary has given his decision in the case of George Frederick Burbidge, who was convicted in March last of a theft of a sovereign by means of a trick. Burbidge was arrested on information given by a servant, who swore his identity. He protested that the girl was mistaken and set up an alibi, which did not, however satisfy the court … The Home Secretary was of the opinion that the pardon should be allowed.


His solicitor wrote that his client wished to publicly express his gratitude … and lastly to Mr Joseph Farndale (Chief of Police) for the exhaustive inquiries he caused to be made, and which largely contributed to the eminently satisfactory conclusion of this extraordinary case


The Birmingham Daily Gazette, 18 August 1894: ROYAL VISIT TO BIRMINGHAM. All the arrangements for the visit to Birmingham of their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York on September 8 are ow completed … Their Royal Highnesses will arrive at the city boundaries on the Castle Bromwich Road at noon, and will be met by an escort of the 17th lancers, the Chief Constable (Mr Farndale), and mounted police


Joseph Farndale was responsible perhaps for the British habit of forming an orderly queue. The Birmingham Daily Post, 18 April 1942. THE START OF QUEUES. A correspondent writes: The new Order making it compulsory for six or more persons to form a queue when boarding bus or tram recalls the origin of a similar disciplinary measure in Birmingham nearly fifty years ago. In the autumn of 1894 Henry Irving came to the Prince of Wales theatre. Prices for all parts of the house, with the exception of the gallery’ were doubled. All Birmingham, so to speak, made for the gallery door, and there was a terrible commotion! When this had happened on two successive nights, Irving instructed his manager, Brian Stoker, to see the chief constable about it. “Tell the Chief Constable,” he said “that outside my theatre in London we have adopted the system of a queue, two by two, and that it works very well”. Mr Stoker carried this message to the chief constable, and Mr Farndale agreed to make an experiment. He sent along members of the force, Mr Edwin Bennett, later Chief Superintendent, among them, and they arranged the first queues. But not without difficulty. Some roughs attempted to rush the entrance hall and according to Mr Bennett, five watches were found in the gutter. Birmingham gradually got accustomed to the queue habit, but not before Sir Charles Rafter brought a prosecution for disorderly conduct against some who attempted to break through. Much of the voluntary queuing outside Birmingham shops today may be traceable to the initial steps of half a century ago.



The Birmingham Daily Post, 18 January 1895:




The manner in which the case against the landlord of the Edgbaston Brewery Tavern, Lee Bank Road, dismissed by the magistrates on Wednesday, was got up by the police will on Monday be the subject of an investigation by the Judicial sub committee, who will report to the Watch Committee, and will probably also communicate with the Treasury. At the conclusion of the case on Wednesday, Mr Wilcox, the deputy chief constable, who was present during the magisterial censure, ordered the officers engaged in the case to proceed to the Chief Constable’s office. The circumstances were briefly narrated to Mr Farndale, who forthwith suspended Inspector Parker and Police Constables Nicholls (69B) and Flattery. The discrediting of the evidence of the police in a case of this kind is particularly unfortunate at the present moment.


The Stage on 25 April 1895 reported that during the Shakespeare Birth week, Joseph Farndale was a guest at the Shakespeare Commemoration Dinner in connection with the Birmingham Dramatic and Literary Club held at the Midland Hotel, New Street, Birmingham. The Shields Daily Gazette on 30 April 1895 reported that at the same dinner, when ‘Dagonet’ was unable to find a gold pencil lent by Captain Rodgers of the Prince of Wales’ Theatre and wanted to make a note in a hurry, then Mr Farndale, the amiable Chief Constable of Birmingham kindly lent me his, and I lost that somewhere, and then my old friend Mr Wight the postmaster, lent me his, and I mislaid that, and so it came about that when the time arrived for me to speak I had borrowed and secreted about me some half dozen gold pencil cases, I had made notes all over my menu and backs of envelopes collected from the company, and not one word that I had written was I able to read.


The Birmingham Daily Post, 25 April 1895 reported that Joseph Farndale was a guest at the inspection of the new smallpox hospital at Little Bromwich.


The Whitby Gazette, 24 May 1895:




The Birmingham Daily Argus of the 11th inst, has the following, anent the chief constable of Birmingham, Mr farndale, a Sleights man:


A good story reaches us from the Birmingham police force, viz, that a common constable, a humble member of the rank and file, has had the temerity to lodge a report against no less a personage than his commanding officer. The constable is a young officer who is not been very long in the force, and it would seem that he is burning to distinguish himself in some unprecedented way. There can be no doubt he has succeeded, and it may be safely asserted that the number of men in the force who would have had the courage to take such a step is very small indeed. The officer was on duty in Harborne Road, when he saw his commander in chief, who much effects equestrian exercise, approaching on his steed. It would seem that the animal proved refractory in some way, for it became subject to a sharp chastisement from its rider. The constable appears to have considered that the chastisement exceeded do bounds, so he pulled out his little notebook and pencil, and made an entry to the effect that his superior had beating his horse about the head more than was justifiable, and looking upon his chief as no more privileged and hit this respect than common John Smith the civilian, he reported the matter in writing to the Superintendent. This put the divisional officer in a quandary. What was he to do with the report against his chief officer? To pass such a thing on to the central office seemed like sacrilege. Yet it was made in the books, and he could not get rid of it otherwise without committing a serious breach of the regulations. So he came to the conclusion that he had no alternative but to send the report, with his other reports, to the headquarters. There it has gone and it would be interesting to know what happened there when the report was given. A live, smoking bombshell would probably have created no more profound sensation. Presumably the report will come before the judicial subcommittee at their meeting on Monday, and it will be very interesting to know the issue of it. We can imagine Mr Farndale, who is about the last man against whom one might expect such charge to be made, reading the report with blended feelings of admiring surprise, comical annoyance, and roll amusement. He must admire the Spartan sense of duty of his young officer, must feel annoyed that he should have fallen into such an error, and experience amusement at the humour of the whole business.


The same paper, in its issue with the 14th inst, says:


A mild sensation was created on Saturday by the appearance of the ‘day by day’ paragraph, in which was related the audacious act of a zealous police constable who was no respecter of persons, and carried his judicial severity to the extent of reporting the chief constable. Members of the watch committee are reported to have derived considerable entertainment from the tale of the incorruptible policeman, and Mr Farndale undoubtedly relished the pigment humour of the whole thing. The only cause for regret is that the dignified procedure befitting ‘the smartest force in the Kingdom’ has prevented the joke being played out. Had the facetious disposition of Alderman Edwards only being allowed to express itself upon the subject, and Councillor Ostler invited to sharpen his pretty wit at the constable’s expense, there would have been a delightful half column of quips and cranks for the jaded reader these summer-like days, which indisposed one for the exertion entailed in wading through the parliamentary reports. The Chief Constable did not report himself for cruelty to animals at the meeting of the Watch Committee this morning, nor was he reduced in rank from first to second class. His honour, and his horsemanship, have been vindicated. The indiscretion of the zealous policeman has been explained. The moral of the whole matter is that the shying of a horse at a perambulator is not exactly a justification for reporting the rider for cruelty. Too much indulgence of the horse’s whim might have led to the horse and rider being injured by colliding with a wall, or passengers on the footway being trodden under foot. On the whole, the chief, has more reason to complain of his horse than his horse to complain of him. Sometimes since, when there were not any perambulators or other infernal machines in the way, it fell in Bennetts hill, causing the rider to injure his arm. That animal appears to share the slight disrespectful authority which the constable of inst.


The Birmingham Gazette, 10 June 1895 reported the visit of His Highness the Shahzada, the second son of the Ameer of Afghanistan: In the central drive between Railway Stations, there was an escort of 25 mounted police, under the command of the Chief Constable (Mr Farndale).


The Tamworth Herald, 9 November 1895: The opening meet of the South Stafforshire Hounds took place on Tuesday at the cross roads, Bassett’s Pole. … Among those present at the start were …, Mr J Farndale




The Birmingham Mail, 4 February 1896:






At Solihull today … Gascoine & Co, horseless carriage builders was summoned as the owner of a locomotive used on the public highway for not having a person on foot preceding the locomotive by 20 yards as prescribed by section 3 of the Locomotives Act 1865, and section 29 of the Highways and Locomotives (Amendment)  Act 1879.


Police Constable Clifton stated that on Saturday morning, the 22nd December, he was on duty in Stratford Road, Shirley, and saw a motor car, or horseless carriage, travelling in the direction of Birmingham. There was no one in front of it to warn the public of its approach. The vehicle was travelling at the rate of five or six miles an hour; and it made a certain amount of noise, and steam was issuing from an exhaust pipe at the rear …


As it was only within the last five years that the vehicle had been used in England, the Legislature could not in fact, or in imagination, have known of a horseless carriage when they formulated the Acts referred to, and therefore the regulations could not apply. …


Mr McCardie: Yes, and if you wanted to take a little trip of 30 or 40 miles, taking in the three neighbouring counties, it would cost you £30, besides the wages of the three men to drive, where only one is wanted, and another useless person to go in front.


The Clerk: Going as fast as it does too, the man in front would have to go on a bicycle (Laughter)


Mr McCardie: Oh yes, it is manifestly absurd. Fancy all the expense I have mentioned when the machine only costs a half penny per mile for propulsion. Besides, I notice that the tires would have to be no narrower than three inches, and that would spoil the vehicle altogether, I contend that it in no way answers the definition of a locomotive, and that the Bench are entitled to dismiss the summons. I may add that Mr Farndale, the chief of the Birmingham police, has stated that he would not allow any proceedings to be taken against such carriages


In the early 1890s the first cars to be driven on the roads in Britain were imported. In 1895, the first man to own and drive a car in Britain was Ebvelyn Ellis. It is estimated that by 1895, there were still only about 15 cars in Britain, imported from abroad. By 1900, the number had risen to about 700. Work to build the first motor car in Britain began in 1892 by Frederick Bremner, a gas fitter and plumber. His vehicle first ran on the public highway in 1894. Fords started to arrive in Britain from about 1908.


The Locomotives Act 1865 was also known as the “Red Flag Act” and sipulated that self-propelled vehicles should be accompanied by a crew of three; if the vehicle was attached to two or more vehicles an additional person was to accompany the vehicles; a man with a red flag was to walk at least 60 yd (55 m) ahead of each vehicle, who was also required to assist with the passage of horses and carriages. The vehicle was required to stop at the signal of the flagbearer. The Highways and Locomotives (Amendment)  Act 1878 was an Act to amend the Law relating to Highways in England and the Acts relating to Locomotives on Roads and for other purposes.


At the same time his nephew, Joseph Farndale (FAR00463), Chief Constable of Margate Police, was involved in a charge against a motor car driver for exceeding a speed of two miles per hour.


Joseph Farndale recommended a system for registration of bicycles in 1896, as reported in the Birmingham Mail, 28 April 1896:


The Home Secretary and Cyclists.


Proposed further legislation.


The Home Secretary has just issued a circular to the Chief Constables of counties and boroughs on a matter which will give rise to a great deal of discussion in the cycling world. Sir M White Ridley explains that he has received various complaints with regard to cycling in the streets, and that from the nature of the objections laid before him, he has felt prompted to make a general enquiry as to the present cycling system, and ascertain whether further legislation is essential to check reckless riders being a danger to the community. The Chief said police are therefore invited to express an opinion on the desirability of amending the present law, and they are further requested to add any suggestions they may think expedient.


Mr Farndale has had this circular under careful consideration, and it is understood that he has replied very fully as to the prevailing state of affairs in this district. Probably in no other city in the Kingdom has the popularity of the cycle reestablished itself with such rapidity and so generally as in Birmingham. Unfortunately this circumstance has had the effect of producing an increased number of foolhardy scorchers, who are a nuisance to everyone, and reckless riders who, unmindful of their own risk, pay no heed to the safety of others. The inevitable result of the presence of these riders has been a considerable number of accidents under great many complaints.


The laws at present in force are stringent enough to suppress those wheeling offenders if the police could only put them into operation. Therein lies the difficulty. When a pedestrian has been upset, and may be injured by a negligent or furious cyclist, if the machine does not happen to be injured, the rider pedals off post haste. If it should happen that a policeman appears on the scene in time to prevent the cyclist disappearing, the rider is asked for his name and addressed. Experience shows that in 99 cases out of 100 wrong names and addresses are given.


Then again, what method is there of dealing with the scorcher? A policeman trying to stop him would probably damage the rider and the machine, and as a consequence be amenable to an action for damages. The scorcher takes advantage of the circumstances, and the wail from the pedestrian has now become so general that intervention has been practically forced on the authorities. The question is, how to remedy existing evils? As already stated, the Home Secretary has courted suggestions, and it is suggested that Mr Farndale has recommended that a system of registration should be put in force. It is contended that every rider should be licenced, that his machine should bear an official number, and that he should carry this number together with an indication of the police district from which he held in some conspicuous place on the cycle. It is said that this would entail no hardship because the fee for registration would be nominal, and number offenders would have anything to fear from such regulations. It is further argued that it should be made an offence for a cyclist to give a wrong name and address. This is the import of the suggestions which have been forwarded from Birmingham.


When the Home Secretary has received replies to the whole of the circulars it is thought that he would proceed to frame an amendment to present laws relating to reckless wanton and negligent cycle riding.




The Newcastle Chronicle, 22 February 1897: Several Chief Officers of Police are cooperating with Mr Farndale, the Chief Constable of Birmingham, to get an Act passed this session in Parliament to obviate the defects of the present law in regard to the unlawful possession of property, and Sir JB Stone MP at Birmingham, has already obtained leave to introduce a Bill, which, I feel sure, will receive general support, for until the police are better armed than at present, they cannot, with any effect, suppress the large number of robberies which are annually committed in all large commercial centres.


1897 was the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, celebrating sixty years since her accession.


The Linlithgowshire Gazette, 1 May 1897:




A meeting of chief constables of counties, cities and boroughs in Great Britain was held on Saturday afternoon at the office of Mr Farndale, Chief Constable of Birmingham, to consider the most suitable form of celebrating the Queen’s reign. It was reported that the Scottish police had decided to join the national scheme … It was decided to draw up an illuminated address congratulating Her Majesty on her historic accomplishment


The London Evening Standard, 8 July 1897:






Much enthusiasm was manifested in Birmingham yesterday on the occasion of the visit of Princess Christian, as the representative of the Queen, to open the new General Hospital. Along the route of the royal procession the streets were gaily decorated, with Venetian masts at intervals, and garlands of flowers....


After the formal receptions the trumpet sounded, and their royal highnesses proceeded ... the procession was headed by Chief Constable Farndale and mounted police and was formed in the following order...


As the royal visitors entered the Council House, a salute was given by a detachment of the Bedfordshire regiment, which formed a guard of honour...


Her Royal Highness, in reply, said “It gives me very great pleasure to visit the City of Birmingham on behalf of the Queen, my dear mother, and in her name I thank you for your loyal and beautiful address. Her Majesty desires me to express the great gratitude with which she bears of her people at Birmingham having made this latest addition to the hospital...


The Liverpool Mercury, 29 September 1897:




At the meeting of the Birmingham watch committee yesterday, Councillor Baker drew attention to what he described as the practice of scorching on the Moseley Road, his object being to ascertain whether the Chief Constable (Mr Farndale) was prepared to adopt measures to check the indiscretion of offending cyclists. The wood pavement, he said, was an irresistible incentive to most people, and the practise complained of was becoming a source of serious danger to the public.


Mr Bishop: “Perhaps Councillor Baker does not know what ‘scorching’ is. They don't ‘scorch’ on the Mosley Rd.”


Mr. Baker: “Oh don't they?”


Mr Bishop: “Well what do you call ‘scorching’?


Mr. Baker: “I would call ‘scorching’ going at 12 miles an hour.”


Mr Bishop: “They don't go at 12 miles an hour.”


Mr. Baker: “What! Not on that wood payment pavement I think they do.”


Mr Farndale said the matter was one of some difficulty for the police to deal with, in as much as it has recently been held in the law courts that though a police officer could summon a scorcher he might not lay his hands on him to stop him. Two or three years ago when there were complaints of ‘scorching’ in Broad Street, policemen were provided with bicycles to capture the offenders, and they simply had to ‘scorch’ after the ‘scorchers’ until they overtook them.


Mr Bishop had no doubt the chief constable would give the matter every attention. Mr Farndale was a nice, quiet rider himself, as he could bear witness.


Mr Farndale: I followed the example of the chairman of the judicial committee, Mr Bishop, who goes at a reasonable pace.


The subject then dropped.




The Edinburgh Evening News, 12 January 1898: FOOTBALL AND TEMPERANCE. Interviewed in reference to the marked increase of drunkenness in Birmingham, the Chief Constable, Mr Farndale, said that good wages had most to do with the increase. He had been struck by the fact that rainy Saturdays, which prevented indulgence in outdoor sports, usually meant a great increase in drunkenness. The popularity of football, generally speaking, has been the means of diverting a good deal of interest from the taproom.


By March 1898, Joseph Farndale was ill again. The Birmingham Daily Post, 18 March 1898 reported:


We regret to hear that Mr Farndale, Chief Constable of the city, is lying seriously ill at the Grand Hotel. An attack of chill or influenza contracted at the Charity Sports, on Wednesday week, was followed by pneumonia, and at one time his condition was considered critical. Under the care of Dr Hutchinson, the crisis was tided over, and, although very ill, Mr Farndale was yesterday reported to be out of danger. Late last night Mr Farndale was progressing very favourably.

The Birmingham Mail, 18 March 1898:


On enquiry at the Grand Hotel this morning, we were informed that Mr Farndale’s condition shows considerable improvement.

The Edinburgh Evening News, 19 March 1898: Mr J F Farndale, Chief Constable of Birmingham, is lying seriously ill.

The Leamington Spa Courier, 4 June 1898: Major J L Swain, Commanding the North Western Military District, recently communicated with the Chief Constable of Birmingham, in which he advised Mr Farndale that the Secretary of State had given instructions for the formation of a scheme for posting placards calling out the Army Reserve forces if required, and asking Mr Farndale to state whether, in the event of such a contingency, he would be prepared to render the military authorities his full assistance. There is no Act compelling the Constabulary to assist in the work of mobilisation, but Mr Farndale readily offered his services. In answer to his reply sent to the authorities, he received a communication asking what number of posters would be required for placarding the various chapels, churches, post offices, and other public places in the city, and this point is now under consideration. It is roughly estimated that in Birmingham and the district there are something like 20,000 reserved men of all classes. The National Association for Promoting the Civil Employment of Reserve and Discharged Soldiers and Naval and Military Pensioners has had about 11,000 men on its books since its foundation in 1886, and it does not deal with the whole of the reserve. Should the reserves be called up the postal and police services would have to sacrifice many good men, and various places of amusement, restaurants, and hotels, would be deprived of well-built and finely developed doorkeepers. Last season the society mentioned found employment for 359 men; of these 256 belonged to the reserve and 106 of them went to the post office...

The Birmingham Mail, 6 December 1898: THE ILLNESS OF THE CHIEF CONSTABLE. Further enquiries this morning show that the health of the Chief Constable (Mr J Farndale) has completely broken down, and it is likely that his stay at Bournemouth will extend up to Christmas. During his absence Superintendent McManus will have a general supervision of the districts, while Superintendent Morgan will have control of the inside office work.

The Birmingham Daily Gazette, 29 December 1898: It is gratifying to hear that the Chief Constable (M Farndale) has benefitted by his stay at Bournemouth, and that he will resume duty tomorrow.



The Birmingham Mail, 10 March 1899:






The report of Chief Constable relative to the state of crime in the city during the past year has just been issued, and the statistics it contains make, as is usual with these annual reports, interesting reading. In the first place Mr Farndale states that the authorised strength of the police force on the 31st December last was 700, and 16 additional constables. The actual strength was 700; Their nationalities being 617 English, 44 Irish, 26 Welsh, 12 Scotch, and 1 Dutch; the average height being 5 feet 10 1/2 inches. During the year 3 constables were transferred to the additional strength, and 55 left the force, viz, 6 superannuated, 16 were called upon to resign from his conduct or inefficiency, 28 resigned at their own request, and 5 died, including the late Deputy Chief Constable, 67 men joined the force during the year. There were 138 members on the superannuation list.


The Birmingham Mail, 11 March 1899:






We regret to announce that the Chief Constable of Birmingham (Mr. J Farndale) is lying seriously ill at his residence in the Hagley road. His health has for some time past being unsatisfactory, but no such serious developments as those which have unfortunately ensued were anticipated. Last night, Mr Farndale was seated in his dining room when immediately following a somewhat violent sneeze, he had an apoplectic seizure, and lost all power of speech, and the use of his right side. In their concern, the household at once sent for Dr Cyril Hutchinson and Superintended Moore of the Ladywood division, and upon arrival of these gentlemen Mr Farndale was carried upstairs and placed in bed. His condition was most critical and at one time it appeared extremely doubtful if you would live the night through. However owing in no slight degree to the unremitting care of his medical attendant and the watchfulness of the nurse, whose services had been requisitioned, the patient's condition this morning showed an improvement, and enquiries at noon today showed that the progress had been so well maintained that the patient had in a measure recovered his speech.


The Birmingham Mail, 13 March 1899:




It was at one time feared that Mister Farndale’s illness would interfere with the arrangements for the Birmingham assizes, which had been announced to open tomorrow. The chief constable's house becomes on such occasions the judge’s lodgings, but the danger which would attend Mr Farndale’s removal makes it unlikely that his house will be available for the accommodation of the judges on the present occasion. It had been suggested that unless suitable lodgings can be found for them, the Birmingham assizes may be merged in the county assizes, which would mean that all the persons who are required to attend the Victoria Courts would have the expense and inconvenience of attending at Warwick instead. It now appears, however, from enquiries made in official quarters that the Birmingham Assizes will be held at the usual as usual at the Victoria Law Courts tomorrow....


The Sheffield Independent, 15 March 1899: Mr Joseph Farndale, the chief constable of Birmingham, whose grave illness threatened to involve the transference of the city Assizes to the old county town of Warwick, is a man with an honourable and interesting past. His cousin, who still resides and works in the midst of those rural scenes of Yorkshire which the smart member of the Farndale family quitted to earn fame and fortune, tells that young Joseph Farndale was at work in the fields one day, at the tail of the dung cart, when some word of blame brought his natural dislike of the occupation to a head, and throwing down the fork, he explained, “I'll go for a policeman!” No sooner said than done. He joined the force in a neighbouring town that very day and soon became a particularly capable constable. From Middlesbrough Farndale passed to Chesterfield, now well on the path of rapid promotion. He was Chief Constable of Leicester for a few years, and then obtained the valuable Birmingham appointment. Mr Farndale has brought the Birmingham City force to a high pitch of smartness, efficiency, and discipline.


The Birmingham Mail, 15 March 1899: THE ILLNESS OF MR FARNDALE. On enquiry we learn that the Chief Constable was a little better this morning, and that the improvement which was noticeable was maintained in the afternoon.


The Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald, 18 March 1899: The health of Mr Joseph Farndale, the popular and brilliant Chief Constable of Birmingham, is causing the greatest anxiety. I earnestly hope to be able to report better new next week. Mr Farndale has many friends in Derbyshire, which he made when Chief Constable of Chesterfield.


The Worcestershire Chronicle, 18 March 1899: Mr Farndale, chief constable of Birmingham, is lying seriously ill, through the breaking of a blood vessel, consequent upon violent sneezing.


The Derbyshire Times, 8 April 1899: I regret to hear that there is not much improvement in the health of Chief Constable Farndale, of Birmingham.


The Nottingham Evening Post, 14 April 1899:




The Chief Constable of Birmingham, Mr Farndale, had a narrow escape from serious injury yesterday morning. He was being driven in a closed brougham to the city to discuss police matters with the superintendents for the first time since his serious illness, when the horse, a high spirited animal, bolted in Broad Street, owing to the snapping of one of the reins. A futile effort to stop its progress was made by police constable Goldby, who caught at the shafts, but was struck on the chest by the horse’s head, and thrown back. At the corner of Easy Row the carriage was brought into collision with a cart, and Mr Farndale’s coachman, Thomas Terry, was thrown violently from the box. Even this check, however, did not stop the horse, which dashed round the corner into Paradise Street, where a few yards to the right it collided with an oil float, and was brought to a standstill at the edge of the pavement. Mr Farndale escaped with nothing more serious than shock and injury to the nose by broken glass. Terry, the coachman, had his leg fractured.


Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough, 15 April 1899: Mr Farndale, Chief Constable of Birmingham, is to be commiserated with on the curiously bad luck which is dogging him. He recovers from a serious illness, only to be involved in a carriage accident, which might have had dangerous results. Like Bret Harte’s miner, the Chief Constable has struck a streak of bad luck. Let us hope it will soon change.

The article refers to the novel by Bret Harte called The Luck of Roaring Camp.

The Derbyshire Times, 22 April 1899: Chief Constable Farndale of Birmingham, is so much improved in health as to be able to resume his police duties.


The Birmingham Mail, 25 April 1899: The Chief Constable (Mr Farndale) has been granted leave of absence for a month in order that he may take a holiday to recuperate his strength after the recent serious illness through which he has passed. While he is away his official duties will be discharged by Superintendent McManus, the acting Chief Constable.


Finally Joseph Farndale was forced to resign due to his continuing illness in May 1899. The Hull Daily Mail, 30 May 1899 (also reported in Dundee Courier, 30 May 1899): Mr Joseph Farndale has resigned the Chief Constableship of Birmingham in consequence of ill health. He has occupied the post for 17 years.


The Dundee Courier, 30 May 1899: Mr Joseph Farndale, for seventeen years chief constable of Birmingham, in which office he followed Major Bond, has resigned his position owing to prolonged and serious ill health, which has necessitated frequent vacations in the last few years. His retirement allowance will be £500 per annum.


The Birmingham Mail, 30 May 1899 reported:






As was intimated in the Mail last evening, the chairman of the Watch Committee, Mr Waters, at the meeting of that body this morning, announced the receipt of a letter from Mr Joseph Farndale, resigning his position as chief constable of the city. The letter which was read by Mr Holton, the clerk to the committee, was as follows:


Chief Constable’s office, 29th may 1899


To the chairman and members of the watch committee.


Gentlemen, It is not without feelings of sincere regret that I feel it incumbent upon me to tender you here with my resignation as chief constable of the city of Birmingham. The present state of my health is such that I feel I cannot do justice to so important to post any longer, and my medical advisor insists upon the necessity of entire absence from the worries of administrative work. I have been a chief constable upwards of 30 years, 18 of which have been in connection with the Birmingham police force, and in severing my connection I cannot do so without here expressing the deep sense of gratitude I feel for the many kindnesses and extreme courtesy extended to me during my term of office by the members of your committee.


I beg to remain, Gentlemen, your obedient servant, J Farndale, chief constable


Councillor Waters moved that the letter be received, entered on the minutes and referred to the judicial subcommittee. He would just like to say that he was sure the committee would regret very much indeed the fact of Mr Farndale’s resignation, and also that the resignation was brought about, although he had been chief constable for many years, not by old age or length of service, but by the fact of illness, which they all regretted. That Mr Farndale had been an excellent servant to the committee, they must all agree. They would all miss a very familiar figure from the committee, and the town would regret the loss of one who had served them so long and so faithfully in connection with that committee which he had so well served. He hopes that Mr Farndale would be able for many years to enjoy the superannuation for which he so well deserved.


Alderman Hart acceded to the resolution, and said that every member of the committee would agree with the remarks of the chairman. He was, he thought, the only member of the Watch Committee who was a member of the committee when Mr Farndale was appointed. He had the honour of being chairman of the committee at the time, and he had been in close touch with Mr Farndale during the 18 or 19 years which had elapsed since then. He did not think the town ever had a better servant, and he was quite sure that during the retiring chief’s regime the morale of the force had become very much higher than it was previously. It was a much larger force, and it had a reputation which was known all over the country. He had never known a man more sensitive to what he knew to be right and honourable than the retiring chief had been, and he was sure the feeling of the town council, as well as of the committee and the city, would be one of regret.


The Lord Mayor said he had known Mr Farndale intimately for a very much shorter time than the other members of the committee, but during the last two years he had seen a great deal of him. It had been in times of pressing anxiety with regards to various questions, and he could not but be struck by the great care Mr Farndale took, the anxiety he showed to remove anything like a ground of complaint with regard to the efficiency of the force. He was a most conscientious man, and they would be fortunate if they found one who could fill his place as worthy as he had. They could only hope the fact of his retirement would lead to the restoration of the retiring chief to health, and … they hoped that Mr Farndale would live for many years to enjoy his retirement.


Alderman Edwards said that he felt sure that the committee would be very fortunate if they succeeded in obtaining a successor worthy of Mr Farndale, and the resolution was carried.




Mr Joseph Farndale was appointed chief constable of Birmingham on the resignation of Major Bond in 1882. Prior to his selection out of some 90 candidates, Mr Farndale had occupied the position of chief constable at Leicester, where he had served for 10 years He is a native of the North Riding, Yorkshire. It was about 1863 when he first became connected with police work. He joined the force in his native Riding at the early age of 19. He remained there, however but a short time, joining the Middlesbrough force, where he soon attained the rank of Inspector. Some seven years afterwards, Mr Farndale was appointed chief constable of Chesterfield. Here he remained for 2 ½  years when he was selected to a similar position at Leicester, where, as previously stated, he remained until his appointment to Birmingham. In this city Mr Farndale’s reputation was enhanced by the breaking up of what was known as the Ledsam Street dynamite conspiracy. The arrest of Whitehead in Ledsam Street in April, 1883, and the subsequent capture of Daly and Egan in the same month of the following year, are matters of local history. In consequence of the part he played in the arrest of these men the Watch Committee, with the approval of the then Home Secretary, increased Mr Farndale’s salary by the sum of £100 per annum.


Filling the vacancy, preliminary steps.


Upon the completion of the business of the Watch Committee, the reporters were requested to retire and we understand that upon their withdrawal the meeting resolved itself into a special meeting of the Judicial subcommittee for the purpose of receiving Mr Farndale’s letter, which had been referred to them by themselves sitting as the Watch Committee. The vacancy, or impending vacancy was discussed at some length...


The Hull Daily Mail, 30 May 1899:




His resignation will be received with regret not only by the members of the Watch Committee and the citizens, but the whole of the police force with whom he was very popular.


Mr Farndale's salary is £900 a year, and he is entitled from length of service to a superannuation of 2/3 of this amount. This morning's paper.


Mr Farndale is a Yorkshireman, and commenced his police career in the ranks at Middlesbrough. We like to hear of men rising from the ranks.


The other day we were stimulated with the story of Hector MacDonald, one of the heroes of Omdurman, who, from the ranks, had risen by sheer merit and sterling worth to the highest rung in the military ladder.


This morning the name of another man is honourably prominent, because he is ending his career in a distinguished position. He also has risen from the ranks.


The retiring chief constable of Birmingham has had a career which is worth studying in these degenerate days. It is full of instructive points. Mr Farndale is a man of strong individuality. Yet he invariably got on well with his Watch Committees. He was their servant as well as their master. He was competent, and therefore would not be dictated to. He was respected, because he had the courage of consistency. He would perhaps not have been happy in Hull.


The story of his early life is quite picturesque. Mr Farndale was a farmhand. He was driving the plough one weary day when his employer came up, and farmer like, complained of his work. Young Farndale had a vigorous and independent spirit and was pining for a more active and satisfying field of labour, and throwing down what he had in his hand he said he would go off and be a policeman. What an accident of fortune!


He made good his words at once, and entered upon a career which he has unquestionably adorned. The path of the chief constable of a large city is often beset with difficulty and perplexity! It is also one of grave and constant responsibility. An efficient, fearless, and fair minded chief constable is a boon that a large town like Birmingham cannot afford to rate cheaply. But Watch Committees have often a great deal to answer for, and strong chief constables are not popular everywhere.


At the early age of 26, Mr Farndale was appointed chief constable of Chesterfield, and from that comparatively unimportant town he went to Leicester. He was not then 29 years of age. He remained at Leicester for 10 years, and then obtained one of the plums of the profession. He was appointed chief constable of Birmingham when still in his thirties. It is admitted that he has greatly improved the police administration there, and that he has shown market ability in dealing with large crowds of people. His discovery of the Ledsam Street dynamite conspiracy at Birmingham one him much favour at the Home Office; And even Sir William Harcourt did not withhold very graceful appreciation.


Chief constables of large towns who have risen from the ranks are rare. It is one thing to be chief constable of an obscure borough and quite another to be responsible for the security and public morality of a city of the size and character of Birmingham. Nor is the man who has risen from the ranks always a success in high office. The retiring chief constable of Birmingham, however, was not demoralised, he was strengthened by success. If success could always be born with good sense and fortitude it would often be a spectacle more gratifying to contemplate.


The South Wales Daily News, 30 May 1899:




Mr Joseph Farndale, for 17 years chief constable of Birmingham, in which office he followed Major Bond, formerly chief constable of Cardiff, has resigned his position owing to prolonged and serious ill health, which has necessitated frequent vacations in the last few years. Mr Farndale is a Yorkshire man, and commenced his police career in the ranks at 26. He was appointed chief constable of Chesterfield over a force of 17, and after three years became chief of police at Leicester, whence he went to Birmingham. His retirement allowance will be £600 per year.


The Birmingham Mail, 2 June 1899:


The watch committee and Mr Farndale's resignation.


The report of the Watch Committee to be presented at the meeting of the City Council next Tuesday contains the letter, already published, from Mr Farndale, resigning the office of chief constable of the city. The committee state that they have received Mr Farndale's resignation much regret, and they desire to place on record their appreciation of the conscientious and efficient manner in which he is always discharged his duties of office.


Mr Farndale was appointed in 1882 at a salary of £700 per annum. At that time the total strength of the police force was 520, as against 700 at present time. The area of the borough was 8,420 acres, as against the existing area of 12,705 acres. The population was 400,774, the estimated population at present time being 514,955. The committee proposed to advertise for candidates for the office of chief constable, at a salary of £800 per annum, without allowances of any kind, and to appoint the candidate whom they deem most eligible for the office.


The Leicester Chronicle, 3 June 1899:






At a meeting of the Birmingham judicial subcommittee, on Monday, the chairman of the Watch Committee, communicated to his colleagues the fact that he had received a communication from Mr Joseph Farndale resigning his position as chief constable of Birmingham. Mr Farndale's resignation is due to the counsel of his medical advisor, who, in view of the nature of his recent illness and his incomplete recovery, regarded the step as imperative. The announcement was received with unanimous regret. Mr Farndale was eligible to retire on a pension several years ago, but it was his own desire to remain in harness sometime longer, and the Watch Committee cordially approved of this course.


Mr Farndale has always been popular with the citizens of Birmingham, and enjoys the distinction of having been the most efficient officer of that the local police force has had since it came into existence. His relations alike with the City Council, the police, and the public have from the commencement of his association with Birmingham been of the most cordial character. Mr Farndale who is a native of Yorkshire has been connected with police duties from his boyhood. At the age of 19 he became a constable in the North Riding Constabulary, from whence he removed to Middlesbrough. His fine presence, combined with a high degree of intelligence, led to his rapid promotion, and it was not long before he attained the rank of Inspector.


He had only seven years police experience when the vacancy occurred in the police in the post of chief constable of Chesterfield, and to this Mr Farndale was appointed. The Chesterfield force was only a small one, the borough having a very limited area, but it afforded Mr Farndale administrative experience which was of great value to him. He was, we believe, at the time of his appointment, the youngest chief constable in the Kingdom. Mr Farndale remained at Chesterfield for only 2 ½ years, but he had he had secured a standing which led to his appointment to the far more important position of chief constable of Leicester. How he composed himself there is shown by the terms of the testimonial given to him by the Mayor of Leicestershire at the time he became a candidate for command of the Birmingham police force. The Mayor of Leicester wrote: “Mr Farndale is a thoroughly practical man, and an excellent disciplinarian. Towards the men he is considerate and firm, and has won their entire confidence and respect. Throughout the town, by the authorities he is fully trusted and highly esteemed.” While at Leicester Mr Farndale's salary was twice increased each time by the sum of £100. Several of the leading officers who served under him there rose to important positions in other forces, and the Leicester police became known as one of the best organised bodies in the provinces.


Mr Farndale succeeded the late Major Bond as Chief Constable of Birmingham, and his services in connection with the dynamite conspiracy will be remembered. He has won the esteem of the citizens of the Midland metropolis, and will retire on an allowance of £600 a year. On his leaving Leicester, it may be added, he was presented with a silver salver and purse of £200, the members of the police force testifying to their goodwill in an illuminated address.                                    


 The Coleshill Chronicle, 3 June 1899:




Joseph Farndale, the chief constable of Birmingham, has inconsequence of continued ill health placed his resignation in the hands of the watch committee. About two months ago Mr Farndale had an apoplectic seizure, from the effects of which he has never thoroughly recovered, and he has not since been able to take up his duties. Acting on medical advice he has decided to retire. His resignation will be received with regret not only by members of the Watch Committee and the citizens, but by the whole of the police force, with whom he was very popular.


Mr Farndale’s salary is £900 a year, and he is entitled from length of service to a superannuation off two thirds of that amount. He rose from the ranks and commenced his police life in the Middlesbrough force. At the early age of 26 he was appointed Chief Constable of Chesterfield, and 2 ½ years later was given the command of the Leicester force. After remaining there 10 years, he was, in February, 1882, selected by the Birmingham watch committee, out of 90 candidates, as chief constable of Birmingham, a position which he has since filled with credit to himself and satisfaction to everyone. He has done much to improve the police administration and has always shown marked ability in dealing with large crowds of people. …



The Derbyshire Times, 3 June 1899: Mr Farndale’s reputation was enhanced by the breaking up of what was known as the Ledsam Street dynamite conspiracy. The arrest of Whitehead in Ledsham street in 1883 and the subsequent capture of Daly and Egan is in the same month of the following year are matters of history. In consequence of the part he played in the arrest of these men, the Watch Committee, with the approval of the then Home Secretary, increased Mr Farndale’s salary by £100 per annum. Sir William Harcourt, in writing to express his approval of the action of the committee, said, “I desire to testify the very high opinion I have formed at Mr Farndale, the Chief Constable of Birmingham, throughout the whole of this matter and in other transactions of a similar nature, in which I have received from him valuable assistance Not only the public of Birmingham, but those of Leicester and Chesterfield, who know Mr Farndale’s worth, and have had the pleasure of his friendship, will wish that in his retirement he may be restored to health.


The Western Times 31 May 1899: The resignation of the Chief Constable of Birmingham (Mr Joseph Farndale) through ill health will cause a vacancy in a post to which a salary of £900 a year is attached. Like the Chief Constable of Exeter, and many of the best men at the head of the police force, he rose from the ranks. He was Chief Constable of Chesterfield at the age of 26. Mr Farndale’s reputation was enhanced by the breaking up of what was known as the Ledsam Street Dynamite Conspiracy. The arrest of Whitehead in Ledsam Street in 1883 and the subsequent capture of Daly and Egan in the same month are matters of history. In consequence of the part he played in the arrest of those men the Watch Committee, with the approval of the home secretary, increased Mr Farndale’s salary to £100 per annum. Sir William Harcourt, in writing to express his approval of the action of the Committee said, “I desire to testify the very high opinion I have formed of Mr Farndale, the Chief Constable of Birmingham, throughout the whole of this matter and in other transactions of a similar nature, in which I have received from him valuable assistance.”


The Leeds Times, 3 June 1899: Mr Joseph Farndale has resigned the Chief Constableship of Birmingham in consequence of ill health. He has occupied the post for 17 years.


The Derbyshire Courier, 3 June 1899:




By an Old Crow


The popular chief constable of Birmingham, has, in consequence of continued ill health, placed his resignation in the hands of the Watch Committee, last Monday. Mr Farndale has been the head of the Birmingham police force for 17 years and during that time he has won the esteem in respect of the whole community. Among Mr Farndale's most notable professional triumphs was the capture in 1883 of the notorious Whitehead-Gallacher dynamite gang - a capture affected under circumstances that reflected the highest credit on the sagicity, vigilance and ingenuity of the chief constable and his detective staff. Yorkshire has the honour of producing and training the famous Birmingham chief who joined the North Riding Constabulary at the age of 19, and who was afterwards stationed at Middlesbrough. In a surprisingly short time he attained the rank of Inspector, and after only seven years of experience of police duties he was appointed chief constable of Chesterfield, subsequently holding similar appointments Leicester and Birmingham.


Under the new regulations, Mr Farndale is entitled to a retiring allowance of £600 a year.


At the time of Mr Farndale’s appointment the Chesterfield force comprised only 17 men, but to put even that number in charge of a young man of 26 might have been regarded as a risky experience had it not been for the conviction of the watch committee that Mr Farndale was older than his years, and that his capabilities only required testing to be abundantly manifested. During the 2 ½ years he remained in our midst, Mr Farndale formed many friendships, among them a close and abiding one with the then chairman of the Watch Committee, Alderman Wood, who always entertained for him the highest regard. From Chesterfield Mr Farndale went, after a short space of time I have mentioned, to take the command of the Leicester force, which was at that time eight times as large as that of Chesterfield. He soon won golden opinions there.


A former resident of Leicester has borne testimony to the esteem which Mr Farndale has held. “During the whole time of his residence in Leicester,” says this gentleman, “Mr Farndale was a model public official. He reorganised the police force of that ancient borough with both tact and courage. While he made the men both smart and active, he never allowed them to become officious or interfering. He made the police popular with the people. He himself had the happy knack of winning the good opinion of all sorts and conditions of men. The magistrates learned to respect the man who knew the criminal law better than the lawyers. The Town Council felt the outmost confidence in a zeal which never relaxed, and a discretion never at fault, and it was said that the general public gave up bolting their doors and baring their windows, as the thieves had too much respect for the vigilance of Mr Farndale's constables. In all his social relations of life, Mr Farndale was found a good companion and a trusty friend.”


On leaving Leicester Mr Farndale was the recipient of a silver salver and a purse containing £200 which the members of the police force presented to him with a handsome illuminated address.


In February 1882, Mr Farndale was selected out of a batch of 90 candidates for the responsible office of the Chief Constable of the Birmingham force, the fourth largest force in England, and subsequently when the chief commissionership was vacant at Scotland Yard his name remained on a very small and select list. In 1880 he was presented by Sir John Jaffray on behalf of a number of prominent people of Birmingham with a gracefully worded address and a cheque for £403. I have already referred to his exposure of the dynamite conspiracy, with regard to which he received a well deserved compliment from Sir William Harcourt, then home secretary. Describing Mr Farndale in 1888, a writer in “Birmingham Places and Faces”, after speaking of him as a man of great ability observes: “To begin with, he is solid physically. He weighs fifteen stone and a half and has immense shoulders and depth of chest. He gives his directions in a fine sonorous voice, with great calmness. Some chief constables are military men, who still retained the military imperiousness. Mr Farndale differs from this state of officer. He has never been a military man, and he has never even belonged to a rifle corps. He certainly never learned the over beating method which a certain member of the military so much admires. I am sure that Mr Farndale’s many friends will join me in wishing that he made enjoy for many years the rest and leisure which he so well deserves.


The Halifax Courier, 3 June 1899: A CHIEF CONSTABLE’S RESIGNATION. Mr Joseph Farndale has resigned the chief constableship of Birmingham in consequence of ill health. He is occupied the post for 17 years. Mr Farndale is Yorkshireman, and was made chief constable of Leicester when he was only 26 years old. He is uncle of chief constable Farndale, of York, who was formerly inspectorate Halifax. His retirement allowance will be £600 per year.


The York Herald, 10 June 1899: The serious and prolonged illness of Mr Joseph Farndale, which causes his retirement from the office of chief constable of Birmingham, will be regretted by many of the older inhabitants of Middlesbrough, to whom he was well known. Mr Farndale was a native of North Riding, and commenced his distin