Source Four (a): ‘A letter regarding the Metropolitan Police Force’ 1830

A letter regarding the Metropolitan Police Force’. Catalogue ref. MEPO 2/9653.


Herne Hill 

April 22, 1830 



We are all so keenly interested in the good management and efficiency of the New Police, that I feel myself reluctantly bound to inform you of the misconduct of the Superintendent in this division of Brixton by being on Duty on Thursday night in a state of intoxication. [drunkenness] 

If this is the first time you have had a report of this Gentleman of an unfavourable nature, I by my name may not be mentioned, should you think proper to caution him. But should it be otherwise I have no objection to substantiate [support with evidence] my statement, much as I should regret being called on for that purpose.  

Mr. Chamberlain [the Superintendent] is an entire stranger to me, and I have no means of having his general character or I should perhaps have taken a different course. 

I am Gentlemen, your most …

E. Bicknell

My country house is in High Street, Newington Butts [Small village or hamlet, now an area in the London Borough of Southwark.]  

« Return to Crime and Punishment: Robert Peel
  • Where does the writer of this letter live? 
  • What complaint is being made against the policeman in this letter?  
  • How is the policeman described? 
  • What unique insights can a personal letter provide as a historical source that other documents may not provide?