Edward William NASH – a family story
My maternal Great Grandfather, Edward William NASH was born on the 17 November 1876 at 27 St George’s Street, Battersea, Surrey, England, United Kingdom 1. The son of George NASH (b 29 January 1827) 2.
A working life
In 1891 Edward William NASH was already working (aged 15) as an errand boy. The family story indicates he started work at 13 years of age, loading crates. It must have been at this age he started to smoke, only giving up some 60 years later. In his 70’s he had a lot of pain in his legs due, he stated, to his smoking 3.
Edward William had other plans for his career and decided to join the Metropolitan Police. He was turned down at first as he had flat feet. Undaunted, and (according to my aunt) taking hot and cold baths he was finally accepted. This isn’t a cure I am aware of for flat feet! Anyway in 1899 he became a police officer. His examination for the police shows the following 4:
28 February 1899 Examination of Edward William NASH for situation of Police Constable:
+ Age 22 years
+ Height: 6 feet, Weight: 12 stones 10lbs
+ Chest: 36 1/2 inches
+ Complexion: Fair
+ Eyes: Grey
+ Hair: Brown
+ Marks: None
+ Trade or calling: Porter (Warehouse)
+ Single; Children: No
+ Residence: 95 Castle Street, Battersea SW
+ With whom last employed: Brandt Co, 84 South Lambeth Road
+ Date of appointment 1st May 1899
+ Number of warrant 85089
+ Promotions: Sergeant 21 October 1905, Station Sergeant 27 April 1912, Inspector 6 March 1915, Resigned 1 May 1924.
He collected more pension than he had working years.
A favourite story, told and retold by my family was when he had a bicycle lit only with an oil lamp. Every-time the wind blew in the direction of the lamp, it went out. One day he turned the corner, the wind blew his lamp out and his Sergeant caught him without his lamp on (a serious offence). Just as he was stopped his Sergeant’s lamp went out too and Edward William stated assertively “Sir, your light is out”. Thus preventing a reprimand 5.
Family memories 6
By all accounts Edward William was a good dancer, he took his daughter Doris Mary dancing when she was 18 years old. He was also a very good sportsman, particularly enjoying a game of tennis. He played partners up to 52 years younger when in his seventies. He enjoyed discussing tactics with his granddaughter using the cutlery from the table to show the layout of the court, the net, lines and positions. I wonder who was the salt and who was the pepper pot?
Edward William was a very well kept man, he always wore a hat due to being bald, or maybe he got used to wearing a helmet as a policeman. He was distant though, “a real Victorian” my aunt would say, addressing his granddaughter as ‘GIRL’. He hated Marmite, and shuddered on seeing his daughter making sandwiches with such a thick layer – a technique I have perfected.
He lost his home during World War II, and his granddaughter remembers him and his wife standing on their doorstep in Horncastle Road, Lee, London, England, United Kingdom telling his daughter (in a very matter of fact way) that they had been ‘bombed out‘. His wife was buried for a while in the basement with their cat Mickey (a tabby). Remembered fondly as a lovely cat that held its paw under the dripping tap to get a drink of water. My aunt remembers visiting the house earlier that same day:
“we visited them and she insisted we didn’t go home as the bombing was awful, however my mum decided to take us kids home as she had a dreadful feeling – that evening the house was bombed. I remember the house as being very tall, and cold near the top! We stayed in the kitchen where it was warm. The house was on Lewisham Hill and my grandmother was very house proud. Her son Edward David had to take his boots off in the scullery. I remember gas lamps, an old dresser and a narrow garden. Along the path were wild strawberries – we used to hunt for them. At the bottom of the garden was the hut for the toilet, covered in roses.”
Edward William appears in the UK census on 31 March 1901 in Greenwich, London, England, United Kingdom 7:
+ Edward NASH, aged 24, Police Constable
The Census of 1881 for Battersea lists George NASH (54 years) a house painter with his second wife Jane (54 years) and daughters Jessie (8 years) a scholar, Emily (5 years) a scholar and sons Edward William (4 years) and Alfred C (2 years) all born in Battersea, Surrey, England, United Kingdom.
Edward William, like his father married again following the death of his first wife Polly. Louisa PARKER (no connection to my PARKER line) was a lady he had apparently known for a number of years, perhaps as part of his beat as a policeman 8. There is a hint of a scandal here!
A full life
The final family story involves me, but I was of course far to young to remember this myself. My aunt takes up the story:
“After visiting him in hospital when you were 2 or 3 years old, you commented that I hope Grandad has his teeth in when meeting God. You had spotted them earlier, in a jar by the bed.”
Edward William NASH passed away on the 17 November 1969 at the age of 93 in Lewisham, Kent, England, United Kingdom 9.
A final mystery
I have a treasured photograph, in a wooden frame of Edward William NASH with his colleagues, titled “Metropolitan Police, R Division, July 1919”. On taking the photograph out of the frame (out of curiosity) I found a pencil sketch of East Bergholt Church, copied by John Church, May 1852. Who is John Church? What connection does John Church have to my family tree? Does anyone have John Church in their family tree?
Further sources for your police ancestors
You’ll need to identify the Police Force your ancestor belonged to, this usually corresponds to the Geographical location in which he lived.
There were up to 20 Railway police forces, as well as County, City and London (City and Metropolitan).
The survival of records is patchy as the records of individual forces are not classed as public records, therefore there is no law meaning they have to be retained (apart from the Metropolitan Police and Royal Irish Constabulary).
+ My ancestor was a Policeman, Anthony Shearman catalogues material and its location
+ Book: The British Police – Martin Stallion and David S Wall
+ check the website of the record office in the geographical area identified for deposited records
+ oldbaileyonline.org (in case ancestor is mentioned in a case)
Robert Parker is a Genealogist and Trainer, based in Cambridgeshire. He delivers courses, coaching, talks, and research services for those interested in tracing their ancestors. See myfamilygenealogy.co.uk for further details. Contact Robert to discuss your requirements without obligation. What stories could your ancestors tell?
1 Source: Birth Certificate, 17 Nov 1876, Battersea, Surrey; paper photocopy
2 Source: C FROST, 2007
3 Source: V HATTON, granddaughter
4 Source: Public Record Office, Mepo 4/415, Examination of a candidate for the situation of a Police Constable
5 Source: V HATTON, granddaughter
6 Source: V & M HATTON, granddaughters
7 Source: UK Census 1901, RG13_Pc-538_Fo-14_Pg-19, Edward William NASH
8 Source: M HATTON, granddaughter
9 Source: V HATTON