Frederick Goodyer (1808-1876)

Frederick Goodyer was appointed as the First Head Constable of Leicester Borough Police in February 1836.

Frederick Goodyer 1836
Frederick Goodyer c.1836

Frederick’s Great Grandfather John Goodyer was Mayor of Guildford in 1729. His Grandfather served with the rank of Captain in the British Army, this was during the war that carried on to maintain the supremacy of George III over the American Colonies. Frederick’s Farther Landen Goodyer had a responsible post in a Fire Office.

17th March 1808 – Frederick Goodyer was born.

1829 - Frederick joined Sir Robert Peel’s New Metropolitan Police force in London making him one of the very first Police officers, where he would serve under Colonel (later Sir Charles) Rowan and Richard Mayne.

23rd October 1831 – Under Warrant 11051, he was attached to ‘A’ Division which policed Whitehall and surrounding area. This division was under the Superintendencey of John May who also acted as Staff Officer from a station house in Great Scotland Yard.

22nd January 1836 – Frederick first appeared in Leicester after travelling from London in a Stage Coach (the Midland Railway didn’t appear until 1840), where he headed up the Leicester Borough Police force after being recommended by the Home Office. This post would see Frederick paid £100 a year (£1. 18s. 6d. a week) There were initially 5 Sergeants (paid £1. 1s. 6d. a week) and 45 Constables (paid 18/- a week) appointed that were recruited from advertisements in the 9th and 16th January editions of the ‘Leicester Chronicle’ - According to the minutes of the Leicester City Watch Committee (January 1836).

The 14th Century Guildhall was used as Leicester’s First Police Station. Extensively modified for police requirement, it included 3 cells and a house for Frederick and his family.

10th February 1836 – The 50 men that Frederick had were sworn in at the Town Hall before the first Mayor of the Reformed Corporation, Thomas Paget who was also a banker and former Member of Parliament.

11th February 1836 – The 50 new policemen started their duties, they were dressed in Blue tail coats and top hats, armed with truncheons and carried rattles to summon assistance.

7th December 1839 - After 3 successful years in the post he left to become Chief Constable (paid £250 a year) of the newly formed Leicestershire County Police force.

19th August 1842 – A political movement consisting of Chartist extremists and a gathering of 500 industrial strikers armed with stones and bludgeons marching form Humberstone Gate (Leicester) to Loughborough through Belgrave and on to Mowacre Hill. They were overtaken and challenged my Frederick and a contingent of Regular and Special Constabulary officers, strengthened with a mounted troop of the Leicestershire Yeomanry. The marchers split up and ran in all directions chased by constables across fields and ditches. Four men were arrested but the leader escaped. Long after this clash, it was referred to as ‘The Battle of Mowmacre Hill’. During the same day similar outbreaks of mass disorder broke out at Loughborough and at the Royal Oak on the Leicester Road en-route to Mountsorrel.

1843 – Frederick over saw the building of Station Houses and Strong Rooms at Hinckley, Lutterworth, Melton Mowbray and Bottesford.

January 1857 – One of the most significant events for Frederick was the visit of Britiain’s first H.M. Inspector of Constabulary, General William Cartwright. Everything passed off very smoothly although the General advised the introduction of the rank of Inspector and that Superintendents should also undertake the duties of Weights and Measures Inspectors (disposed of in March 1951).

June 1876 – Frederick gave notice to the Police Committee of his retirement after 45 years in service, which 36 of those years were in the County of Leicester. He was 68 years old and by this time the Force had become and establishment of 134. At the request of the justices he agreed to remain in office for a further 3 months and instruct his successor in the many duties connected with the management of the Force.

In appreciation of his outstanding service both operationally and administratively, the Police Committee referred to his attention to detail in the preparation of the Constabulary accounts and concluded: ‘We believe that every member of the Court of Quarter Sessions will cordially join at the loss of an officer who has done so much to raise the tone and maintain the discipline of the important Force under his command’.

12th September 1876 – During the Tuesday afternoon, Frederick died from a severe heart attack. He would later be laid to rest in Welford Road Cemetery, Leicester.


Gravestone at Welford Road Cemetery hinckley police station
Gravestone at Welford Road Cemetery(left/top), Hinckley Police Station (right/bottom)

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