Sunday, 22 January 2012

22nd January 1812: London police magistrates & Bow Street officers arrive in Nottingham

On Wednesday 22nd January, 2 Bow Street magistrates - Nathaniel Conant & Robert Baker - arrived in Nottingham with 8 Bow Street police officers. Nottingham was now looking to London and central government for solutions to detect and apprehend Luddites.

Conant had travelled to Nottingham in early December 1811 to give his opinion to Government of the situation there, and had left shortly afterwards having downplayed the disturbances. Indeed, there were press reports of Bow Street officers being present much earlier at the commencement of rioting in Nottinghamshire in early 1811, although not much is known about their involvement beyond the mention in the press.

For the authorities, there seemed to be a wish for 'third time lucky', and Conant wasted no time in sending a preliminary report to the Home Office on the evening of their arrival:
We beg to inform you that We arrived at this place to day and have seen Mr. Coldham the Town Clerk from whom we learn that the County Magistrates had a full meeting here on Monday, at which the Lord Lieutenant and Lord Middleton attended, and a large subscription was entered into to promote the detection and prosecution of these delinquents. The two nobleman above named have subscribed 500£ each and some of the magistrates 100£

And you may be assured that no assistance on our part or of the force we have with us shall be wanting in the furtherance of any mode that can be desired to take the Aggressors in the fact.—We propose if it appears desirable to the Magistrates to get our Men sworn in as Special Constables both for this County and Derbyshire that they may be ready to act at any moment opportunity may arise

Every thing has been perfectly quiet in this Town during the last Week

No very formidable outrage as even taken place in the Town, and from the beginning they have not been numerous — every thing has been done with the utmost privacy and there is some reason to think that many instances the sufferers themselves connive at the injury altho’ they are thrown out of their present employ by it

In the short time we have had for enquiry, we do not learn that any thing particular has occurred in the near adjacent Country within a few days — And so far as we could learn in our way here, no material outrages have even occurred to the South of this place

The letter is an extract from the actual report, which has been copied by a Home Office clerk and can be found at HO 42/119.

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