Police pensions online
Ancestry digitises large collection of records from the Met
Ancestry has released almost 70,000 Metropolitan Police pension records from 1852 to 1932, the first time these have been available online. The original records are held at The National Archives.
Among the notable names of inspectors, officers and constables who served the capital that appear in the records are the most senior members of the Jack the Ripper investigation unit. Frederick Abberline, for example, who had been the chief inspector on the case, resigned in 1892 aged 49 with an annual pension of £206, 13 shillings and four pence (the equivalent of £24,000 today); inspector Edmund Reid (the main character in the BBC/Amazon TV series Ripper Street) retired in 1896 with a pension of £117 (£14,160 today), aged 49. Another well-known name in the collection is Jonathon ( Jack) Whicher, one of the founding members of Scotland Yard’s Detective Branch in 1842. His investigation of the 1860 Constance Kent murder was explored in the book and film The Suspicions of Mr Whicher.
The registers include information about the officer’s length of service, whether he retired or was discharged, his pension amount and who the next of kin beneficiaries were. Also included is the place of birth, marital status and parents; from 1923, the records also give the birth and marriage details of the spouse.
The collection reveals how the Metropolitan Police was made up of men from across the country and even further afield: Cornwall, Wales, Lancashire, Ireland, the Isle of Wight and even Australia are listed as places of birth.
The records typically reveal the reasons for retirement or discharge. Illnesses such as lung disease, infirmity, ‘giddiness in the head’ and loss of vision often feature. A Constable Sawyer was pensioned off in 1855 at the ripe old age of 45 for ‘being worn out and unfit for further service’ after 15 years on active duty.
The records are available for Ancestry subscribers to search or browse at http:// search.ancestry.co.uk/search/ db.aspx?dbid=61310.