This charming photograph of a Constable and his family outside one of the Constabulary’s early police houses, has recently come to light courtesy of their great great grandson.
The officer in the picture is John Dilley (born 17th June 1878 at Watton in Hertfordshire) who served with the Hertfordshire Constabulary between 1906 and 1911, before he and his family emigrated to Australia.
He died on 19th January 1965 in New South Wales.
The house itself was in the village of Tewin and appears to be typical of those which served as both local police stations and accommodation for village Bobbies for over 150 years across Hertfordshire.
In 1912 the county’s Standing Joint Committee responded to a growing need for Police accommodation by launching a project to build more police cottages.
Only three were completed before the programme was put on hold for the duration of the First World War.
The scheme resumed in 1918, but was woefully slow at producing the number of homes needed.
Consequently, by 1925 barely a third of the Force’s 294 married men lived in a Police Station or Police Cottage.
The remainder joined a long list of names awaiting police accommodation; a situation which lasted until the 1960’s.
The situation improved in the latter half of the twentieth century and by 1970 Hertfordshire’s Police Committee owned or rented 852 homes, meaning eighty per cent of the Constabulary’s workforce could be accommodated in a police house.
The allocation of police housing to serving officers was formally discontinued in Hertfordshire in 1995.