About First Police Station (HT)
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By the late 1700’s, Rochford Hundred was in disarray. With over 1500 people living in Rochford, crime, corruption and scandal were rife.
Essex needed a police force, so in 1840 the Essex County Constabulary was formed with 100 officers to cover the 14 districts. Rochford was allocated two constables and the divisional Superintendent was posted at Rayleigh.
The first uniform was based on that worn by the Metropolitan Police. Constables were issued with a blue dress coat with embroidered collar, dress trousers, ‘undress’ trousers, a waterproof greatcoat with embroidered badge, a pair of boots, a pair of shoes, a cape, a top hat, rattle and a stock and clasp. Uniform buttons were inscribed ‘Essex Constabulary’ and a crown and numerals were worn on collars. The top hats were reinforced enough to allow an officer to stand on them. Officers were immensely proud of their truncheons that were emblazoned with the coat of arms. At night they preferred to take a heavy cudgel cut from the hedgerow to avoid damage to these prized possessions.
In 1846, Rochford’s first Police Station was built. This Victorian building in North Street was able to hold prisoners in two tiny cells in the basement. The police station was in use until 1919, when a much larger building was opened in South Street.
The original police station is now a convenience store but the two pokey prisoner cells remain in the basement. The ancient black cannon at the right-hand side of the building is said to date from 1813 and to come from the Napoleonic Wars. It was installed to prevent damage being caused by horse-drawn vehicles turning at the corner of the building.
|17 North Street
|Historical, Point of Interest, Rochford