Sunday, September 12, 2010

Monster Policeman lands on New Cross, 1845

An odd tale from this day in 1845 - a model of a policeman floating over London. The last sentence says a lot about popular dislike of the new police force at that time. Minerva Place, where the 'monster' landed, was seemingly where 104-110 New Cross Road now stand.

A "Monster" Policeman (Times, September 12 1845)

'On Tuesday evening the inhabitants of Brixton, Walworth and Peckham, were considerably amused by the aerial gambols of a "monster" policeman, who was seen floating about the air for some time, and who at length fell upon the roof of a house in Minerva-place, Old Kent-road. It appears that Mr Bass, a gentleman of fortune residing in Kent-terrace, Lyndhurst-road, Brixton, has been in the habit of letting off small balloons from his pleasure grounds, for the amusement of his friends. Latterly he has caused the construction of a figure of 12 feet in height in glazed paper, with head, neck, arms and legs, and painted in colours to represent a perfect fac simile of a "peeler", with truncheon in hand; and on Tuesday night he (Mr Bass) had caused this figure to be attached to a pilot balloon, and so arranged it that it should drop from its companion upon the former attaining a certain altitude.

The experiment was very successful, and, upon ascending, the figure of the peeler had an exceedingly ludicrous appearance, and seemed as if in the act of being hung. On attaining a certain altitude the figure dropped from the balloon, when its appearance became much more comic and laughable. It had been so constructed as to maintain an erect position, and its various evolutions in the air were truly ludicrous. It gradually descended, until at length it fell on the top of one of the houses in Minerva-place, Old Kent Road, and was secured by police constable 146 P, who on Wednesday restored it to Mr Bass. It was fortunate it had not fallen to the ground, for had it done so, no exertions of the police would have prevented the public from seriously damaging the representative of the law'

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