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Will it snow this winter?

During the year I have received several messages through this blog, all have been interesting. Thank you. Several messages were interested in Dorset Police and these contacts I have passed on to Ian who hopes to be bringing you a history of the Dorset Police force and the Policemen who walked our streets, in 2018. Other messages were members of the Beck or House family, I have loved meeting you on line and hopefully in person in 2018. Wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Sylvia Photo of May taken at Blandford Police Station most likely during WW1

Photographs of Beaminster Police station 1920 to 1925

This week I thought I would share some of the photographs that were taken at Beaminster Police Station during the 1920s.  These are not dated but would have been taken during the time Grandad Beck, his wife Rebecca and daughter May lived there, from November 1919 to August 1925.  In August 1925 Grandad Beck, and his wife moved to Bridport, I wrote about this here.  The Station was not only a working Police Station, containing the visitors office, Court room, Police cells etc., but a home to the Superintendent and his family. It also contained separate accommodation for a Police Constable and his family.  A Sergeant was also based in Beaminster and had separate accommodation in the town. In 1925 Sergeant and Mrs Symes  lived in North Street, Beaminster while PC and Mrs Diment lived in a 'cottage' at the back of the Police Station. Grandad Beck and his family had their accommodation on the first and second floor, overlooking the main road through Beaminster.

Supt. Beck in uniform with his wife in a pony and trap
Grandad Beck with his wife Rebecca

The station had stables at the back, Grandad Beck kept one, maybe two horses here. I have been told that he had two horses for his trap, possibly due to the steep hill between Beaminster and Lyme Regis (about 15 miles). By 1920 some Superintendents, from Dorset Police Constabulary, where using their own cars to get around their area but Grandad Beck kept his horse and trap. Later, possibly from the time he moved to Bridport he used a taxi. I previously posted about this here.

Uniformed Supt. on horse
Superintendent AP Beck on his horse at Beaminster Police Station
The gates to the road are behind him


Beaminster Police station as a home

The Police Station didn't have a garden but the Beck's made good use of the available space to grow plants and keep chicken.

2 ladies with a hen and chicks
Rebecca Beck and the other lady is possibly a Policeman’s wife who lived at the station

I am amazed at the size of these beans, I can only assume this is the result of lavish helpings of horse manure.

One lady up a ladder picking beans
Rebecca up the ladder, with her daughter May. In the background the same lady as above?[/caption]

Several of the photos show a dog, I am assuming that this was May’s dog. There are photographs of May with dogs after her marriage taken at Wytherston Farm. In a couple of the photographs show a baby,  I wonder if this was the child of the PC based at Beaminster station.

Union Jack flags flying above a table set for tea
May and Rebecca on left, with a dog under the table, Grandad Beck in centre.
The identity of the other two ladies and baby is unknown

Working Police Station

Besides the visitors to the Police Station, and the local court room, all the local Policemen from Bridport Police Division would have gathered here at regular intervals. Below is a photograph taken of the Bridport Division, probably in 1925 shortly before Grandad Beck and his wife moved to Bridport.

19 police officers plus one lady
 BACK ROW: PC 119 Walter Henry BAILEY (Netherbury); PC 25 William Burt PAUL (Lyme Regis); PC 164 Robert BOOL (Chedington); PC 66 George PEACH (Bridport); PC 81 Herbert Russell PAULLEY (Bridport); PC 175 Alfred John WINTLE (Chideock); PC 33 George Charles Knight DIMENT (Beaminster).
MIDDLE ROW: PC 64 William Charles Henry CARTER ; PC 71 Fred NORRIS (Corscombe); PC 107 Francis G VATCHER (Bridport); PC 31 William J JONES (Bridport); PC 2 Albert STANLEY (Powerstock); PC 141 Henry SUMMERS (Loders); PC 144 Arthur E CLARKE (Thorncombe); PC 123 George MASTERS.
FRONT ROW: Sergeant Freddy CARTER (Lyme Regis); Sergeant George Henry KING (Bridport); Mrs Rebecca Beck; Superintendent Arthur Percy Beck; Sergeant Frank SYMES (Beaminster).

Many thanks to Ian for identifying these policemen as far as possible.  From the Newspapers we have tried to put, in brackets, where each of them is stationed. Ian is researching Dorset Police and we are both hoping that any readers with information about the Dorset Policeman around this time, will be kind enough to contact me.

I can’t resist to end with one last photograph.  Rebecca and May are leaning out of the court room window, Grandad Beck is up the ladder and sitting in the doorway is the unknown lady and her baby.  The window partly opened over the entrance to the yard, is the Beck’s kitchen window, still used as a kitchen for the youth centre that now occupy the building.

2 ladies leaning out of window, gentleman up ladder. Lady and baby in doorway
Beaminster Police Station c 1920-1925

All original content by Sylvia Collins is copyright protected.


  1. Amazing - thank you so much for sharing - I have worked at what is now the youth club for 27 years and seeing these pictures mean so much. Paula

  2. Thank you Paula for taking such good care of the building and for showing me around. It is lovely to see the building being used for such a good cause, I know Grandad Beck would approve.

  3. […] this post Photographs of Beaminster Police station 1920 to 1925  I wrote that Grandad Beck may have had two horses to get his trap up the steep hills. From the […]

  4. My grandfather was Herbert Russell Paulley Dorset Police number 81 I have pictures from his time in Wales in the General Strike and I am conducting a search for them. I would love to send you a copy of my photo of Herbert in uniform and would love to have a copy of the group photo featured here

  5. Joan,
    Thank you so much for getting in touch with me. I have a copy of the group photo of Dorset Police at the general strike but I haven't seen any others. I would love to hear more about your grandfather and his time in the police. I will send you an email.

  6. Lovely photo's Sylvia of Bridport Division
    My grandfather was PC George Peach 66

  7. Thank you Bill for leaving a comment. It is brilliant that so many descendants of the policemen who served with Grandad Beck have read my blog. Ian Swatridge is writing a more detailed account of the Dorset Police, have you been in contact with him?

  8. Thanks for this info Sylvia.
    Do you happen to know Ian's e-mail address. My father Geoffrey Peach also rose to the rank of chief inspector, retiring at Blandford. Dad is 87.
    Best Regards

  9. Bill, I have sent you and Ian an email.

  10. My dad was Police Sergeant Harold Dore (no 201) and we lived in the front house from about 1960 whilst my uncle PC Ivor Walsh lived in the house at the rear. Our bathroom was used by court when it was in session. I think another policeman, PC John Bishop lived in a police flat nearby.

    In around 1962, the houses and police station were flooded, our furniture was ruined, car washed away and we had no electricity for some weeks. Eventually a new police station was built, half a mile towards Bridport at Southgate on the site of the policemen's allotment.

  11. Peter, thank you for your comment. I am so pleased to hear from you, can you tell me more about the layout of the station? Where were the cells? I enjoyed writing this blog so much, that I am now writing a novel set in Beaminster.

  12. From the front door of the front house a passageway ran through to an internal door leading into the rear house. Off to the left of the passageway was our back door, seen in the photograph of a mounted Superintendent Beck. Next along was a small office; and beyond that 3 or 4 cells. I think the windows in the photograph of the Bridport Division are the cell windows. Further along still was a larger office. I remember the cells were whitewashed with a wooden bed and a wooden framed toilet. I recall too the heavy doors, black on the outside with a spy-hole for looking in at the hapless inmates. My dad used to say the cells were usually full on the evening of a full moon! I remember that Policemen used to go home with the cell keys in their pockets so my dad attached them to an old flat iron... but the policemen still went home with them!

    I have a few photographs and other memories of the buildings if you want further information.

    Good luck with your novel, and best wishes.

  13. Peter,

    I am sorry that it has taken me so long to reply. Thank you for all this information it is very helpful to build up a picture of the station when Grandad Beck was there. I would love to hear more and see some more photographs. I did send you an email but not sure if you received it. Please let me have more memories and the photos would be really appreciated.

    Best wishes Sylvia

  14. Two years on and I am just replying! It was a pleasure and so lovely to meet you. I have just read your blog and it is wonderful. Our charity is hoping to make the building back into a wonderful community centre so I hope it will remain standing for many years to come.

  15. Paula, I am so lucky that Grandabeck took so many photographs and that they are still in the family. I wish your charity can keep the old police station at Beaminster for the town and future generation. I look forward to meeting you again soon.

  16. I am a member of the Stalbridge History Society who last year held a 4-day exhibition to mark 100 years since the village was sold by the then Lord Stalbridge who owned almost all of the properties. One of the properties I researched was No 1 Westminster Cottages, (The Police House), and I was able to find some information from the 1939 Register I found Herbert Russell Paulley was resident at No 1 with his family. On the 16/17th November we are staging the exhibition again but with a follow up on some of the places and people. I see from the information you have on your grandfather they served together. We would be pleased to know if you have any more information on his that we could discuss.
    Derek Loosen

  17. Pc123 George Masters was my grandad. I believe he was at Litton Cheney around this time.certaily that is where my dad spent his early years and he was born in 1926 so would be around the right time. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  18. Joy, sorry for the delay in approving your comment. Thank you for adding to the story of the police in this area. I enjoyed writing this blog and am delighted when people leave me a comment.


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