Albert Edward William Clarke

Albert Edward William Clarke was my great grandfather on my fathers side of the family. He served with the Northamptonshire Constabulary from 1 December 1899 until he retired on 6 October 1931.

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On joining the force he was described as a native of Welton, Northamptonshire and during his service he served at Kettering, Oundle, Paulerspury, Daventry, East Haddon, Northampton, Pottersbury and Naseby. On retirement he held the rank of Sergeant and was described as having an exemplary character.

The 1901 census shows Albert, aged 24, living alone at Police Station House, London Road, Kettering. His occupation is shown as Police Constable. The 1911 census shows Albert living with Louisa at Factory Road, Potterspury, Paulerspury. His occupation is given as Sergeant of Police.

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The photo above is a postcard sent by Albert on 7 June 1911 to Mrs A E Clarke (my great grandmother), Police Station, Pottersbury, Stony, Stratford, Bucks. On the back it reads: ‘Dear Lou Hope you are all well pleased to say I am alright, not quite as busy as on Monday. I do not know yet if it will be Sunday or Monday we shall leave here with love to you all. Ted’.

I also have a book of common payer given to Albert  by Louisa. At approximately 5cm by 9cm I can barely read the writing but on the inside front cover it says ‘From Lou, to Albert, Xmas 1889. In loving memory of the past’.

Albert is remembered at St Martins Church, Welton by a plaque that records that he and a number of other local men carved the pulpit.

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The newspaper article below appeared in the Northampton Mercury on 2 August 1918. It records Albert Edward William Clarke as a Sergeant in Naseby. He had been summoned by the Daventry Board of Guardians who sought a maintenance order for his mother Mary Ann Clarke.

Northampton Mercury, 2 August 1918

Albert’s retirement was reported in local newspapers and stated he had ‘repeatedly been called for duty when royalty had visited the county at Althorpe and Castle Ashby in 1907 when the present King and Queen, Prince and Princess of Wales, visited there. During the last three hunting seasons the Sergeant has been in charge of the police who were on duty at Naseby Hall and Thornby Grange when the Duke and Duchess of York and Princess Elizabeth were in residence.’

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At the time of his death it was reported that he ‘knew personally both the present King and Queen and the late King George and Queen Mary, for during his police service he was called upon to undertake the duty of guarding their Majesties. This was when King George and Queen Mary stayed at Althorpe several years ago and when the present King and Queen were at Naseby Hall and Thornby Hall as Duke and Duchess of York.’

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More photos

Governess to the King of Iraq

Dorothy Clarke, later Faber, was the eldest child of my great grandparents Albert and Louisa and she encouraged my interest in family history, sending me photos and other bits and pieces. Although born in Northamptonshire, I only remember her living in a big house in York that she shared with her sister Molly and two sausage dogs. The house overlooked the white horse cut into the hillside on the North York Moors.

One of the most interesting things Dorothy sent to me was the letter below from a Miss Lennox-Carr of Piccadilly (according to the biography of the historical novelist Georgette Heyer, Miss Lennox-Carr ran a registry office for governesses), recommending Dorothy for the post of governess to the young King of Iraq. I don’t believe that Dorothy took up the offer but nevertheless it is a lovely piece of family history.

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In January 2022 I was contacted by Tony Walker who had seen this blog post.  He had come across a document for Miss Carr’s agency when sorting through some some historical papers and asked if I would like a copy. The document can be viewed below.

Terms and conditions for Miss Lennox-Carr's Ladies' Employment and School Agency.