Derbyshire Record Office

A little while ago, we were alerted to the fact that a book of 1830s Belper nightwatchmen’s reports was up for sale. We asked the seller to send it to us so we could see if we wanted to buy the book and the answer was definitely yes!

The book details nightly goings-on in Belper between 1833 and 1836. At the time, the cotton spinning company of W G & J Struttemployed2,000people in its Belper mills. With so much invested in the town, it also ran its own mini police force in the shape of half a dozennightwatchmen.As well as checking the water levels and the new-fangled gas lighting, the nightwatchmen also silently patrolled the town to apprehend any ne’er-do-wells.

A Nightwatchman with his lantern, as depicted by George Woodward in this cartoon from 1800

The book gives a revealing glimpse into what went on in Belper after dark, giving…

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