Books about East Kent, East Asia, East Prussia and more

Watch and Ward

A History of Margate Borough Police 1858 to 1943

by Nigel Cruttenden

"Watch and Ward" is a comprehensive history of Margate Borough Police from its inception in 1858 until its amalgamation into Kent County Constabulary in 1943. It covers the origins of the modern police force, detailing the influence of local councillors, JPs, solicitors and freemasons, as well as central government and world events such as the Boer War and two subsequent world wars.

Alongside its new prosperity, the up-and-coming Victorian seaside resort also had an underbelly watched over by the boys in blue. The borough's residents and visitors encountered issues similar to those of today, ranging from nuisance dogs and speeding vehicles through to mental health, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and assault — even the occasional murder. This book therefore also serves as a social history of East Kent, offering local, social and police historians copious material for research. Whenever an incident occurred in Margate, a policeman would be lurking nearby: a police man, indeed, as there were no warranted female police officers until after amalgamation. Women did however also play an important role within Margate Police, as the book shows.

This is also an invaluable reference work for genealogists or other enthusiasts researching family history in and around Thanet. Family Trees are all very well, but they do not put the flesh on the bones, and even internet searches are quite limited. Full indices make it easy for modern Margatonians and Thanetians to check whether their ancestors might have been 'involved' with the police — on whichever side!


Nigel Cruttenden worked for Kent Police for over forty years, thirty of those as a warranted police officer. This experience taught him to research thoroughly, with painstaking attention to detail, and combined with a long-standing interest in the History of Margate, enabled him to create this rare resource. One of its aims is to remember the forgotten policeman of Margate, and he honestly believes he has found every attested constable who served in the force, including their biographies, pictures, deeds… and misdeeds.



Format [in preparation]
Published [in preparation]
ISBN 978-1-915174-03-1
Length [in preparation]
Available All good booksellers, including Amazon


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