Attractive Victorian Printed Cartoon of Punch & Sir Robert Peel's 'Peelers' Chasing Robbers 1850s


Fine antique early Victorian print of Punch who's smile is being pulled up by two wood elves upon whose branches are two of Sir Robert Peel's 'Peelers' chasing robbers with their truncheon and rattle circa 1850.

The concept of modern policing has its roots in pre-Victorian England, when the British home minister, Sir Robert Peel (1778-1850), oversaw the creation of London’s first organized police force. Before Peel’s 1829 reforms, public order had been maintained by a mix of night watchmen, local constables and red-coat-wearing army soldiers, who were deployed as much to quell political troubles as to deal with local crime.

The first thousand of Peel’s police, dressed in blue tail-coats and top hats, began to patrol the streets of London on 29th September 1829. The uniform was carefully selected to make the ‘Peelers’ look more like ordinary citizens, rather than a red-coated soldier with a helmet.

The ‘Peelers’ were issued with a wooden truncheon carried in a long pocket in the tail of their coat, a pair of handcuffs and a wooden rattle to raise the alarm. By the 1880s this rattle had been replaced by a whistle.

Size: 17.5 x 9.5 cm approx

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