Hello, Hello, Hello.
One of the many abiding memories that people of a certain age have that we seem to keep throughout our lives is the old fashioned ‘Bobby on the Beat.’
These selected and rather special policemen both lived and worked just one area and that was always where they lived. One such place was Whitehawk. This was, in the main a council estate that housed some of the poorer people of Brighton. Whitehawk lay to the east of the centre of Brighton and was served by a good bus service enabling people to get to work. It also suffered from the first air-raid in 1940, which did considerable damage and with a number of deaths and seriously injured people. It also had its share of criminals, as did most council estates throughout this country.
On these estates in the early days the local bobby was regarded with some degree of awe by most people, especially the youngsters. Mind you, in those days he was very approachable but don’t think he was a soft touch. He certainly commanded a great deal of respect from within the community that he served. They were picked by their Superintendents for their tenacity, friendliness and the skill of talking to people in such a way they wouldn’t antagonise them. They were supervised by the sergeant in the first instance but once he had given his approval they were then working that area forever or for some reason they wished to be moved away.
These days the police service is entirely different. In modern policing they have much more difficult problems to solve. There is little doubt that policemen/women seem to be regarded differently these days. Many may believe that the old fashioned Bobbies had a much more enjoyable life ‘on the beat.’
Living in the community
Something that has changed in more modern times is the fact that many more local policemen actually lived in the community they served. For one reason, police houses were included in the plans when these council estates were planned and built. They proved to be a very successful thing to do. A semi-detached house on these estates would have a police box attached and were connected to each of the two houses. It was so easy for the Bobby to go to work, just open ‘a door’ and he was at work, – so easy.
A very positive relationship could be developed between the local Bobby and the community at large. In a very short time the ‘Law Protector’ pushing his twenty-eight inch wheel, ‘sit up and beg’ pushbike became a very regular sight on all our estates. This style of beat policing was still carried out well into the 1950’s and just into the 1960’s.
The Council estates of Moulescombe, Whitehawk and Manor Farm were all policed this way right from the very start of these estates being built.
In the 1950’s one of the policemen working the Whitehawk Estate was Police Constable Frederick Deacon who moved into the Police House at the bottom of Manor Road with his wife and family in 1949. He stayed there for the next six years, enjoying his time there. He shared the beat at that time with police Constable Des Woodjetts as well as Police Constable Roy Storey. All three of them in later service proved to be ‘Police Characters.’ Very well liked and highly respected.
Police Constable Freddy Deacon
Police Constable Freddy Deacon served as a policeman for a total of 32 years and in all that time he was never late for duty, -or was he. Well to say he was never ‘late, isn’t quite true as once he was all of 2 minutes late, When it is said he was too late that means that he booked on 13 minutes , before the start of his shift. In reality you were supposed to book on with the Police telephone Operator 15 minutes before the start of you tour of duty. But in real life terms you were not late. He was very dedicated to his job and in the main enjoyed being a policeman throughout his service.
His widow, Rosemary told me that she well remembers the time when they lived on the Manor Farm Estate, six happy years, with great fondness. In particular the friendliness of the people that Constable Deacon served. She went on to explain how her husband got to know and respect the local people, of course it was the sort of respect that worked both ways.
Police Constables George Boxall and George Oakley,
Over the years and before the 1950’s there were of course other policemen who, not only served, but were also an integral part of the community, there are still some people around who remember such policemen as Police Constable George Boxall and Police Constable George Oakley, who were legends in their day. These policemen were never short of clipping a cheeky boy around the ear, even worse a very swift move with their boot against the backside. Well frowned upon by many these days. However, the treatment worked and if they complained to their parents they were treated worse from them. In general the people of these estates were quite well behaved.
All these policemen, and others of the 1950’s era were very dedicated officers, as are those who police the areas today. They are all very dedicated people, dedicated to try and keep us all on the ‘straight and narrow’ pathway. These times are generally regarded as the golden age of real communities. These were times soon after the Second World War when some commodities were still on rations. Maybe it was a ‘Golden age’ for those people who as kids, were brought up during the Second World War, and the odd clip around the ear you never forgot. Was it too bad to receive that sort of summary punishment, it may have hurt for a little while, in fact it did hurt and so what do you think?
Police Constable Freddie Irving Deacon joined the Brighton Borough Police Force in 1946, aged 24 years. He was born in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada on 30th March 1922. He served in The Merchant Navy from 1936 – 1945. (One of the most dangerous and important Forces to have served in, during WWII.)
Frederick Irving Deacon passed away on the 11th March 1993, a few days short of his 71st birthday.
Police Constable David Rowland joined Brighton Borough Police Force in June 1958 and attended the Police Training College near Folkestone prior to working on the streets of Brighton. He too worked Whitehawk Estate while he was still a probationer. It had become a lot rougher in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. However, there is something about Whitehawk hat draws you into its heart. He got to absolutely love the place and most of the people who lived there.
This was written by Fred Netley (date unknown) Fred was a local Politian and Councillor who did a lot for the people who lived on the Manor and Whitehawk estates and many are still very thankful for what Fred Netley did for them over the many years that he served. He doesn’t enjoy very good health these days.
Other information was added by Rosemary Deacon and author, David Rowland.