Guided Tours of Richmond

Each Tuesday from 4th July until the 26th September 2017 at 12 noon join Councillor Barry Heap, as the Victorian Policeman Charles Manley, for a tour of the town centre of Richmond. The tour takes up to one hour and finishes in the Town Hall.

In 1839, Richmond Council recruited their first policeman from Liverpool Police Force. His name was James Whiting who was paid one guinea a week to maintain law and order in Richmond. After two years both Whiting and his successor, Frank Galliers, gave up their positions. Galliers had been unable to cope with the influx of Irish navvies who had been brought into the Richmond area to assist in the construction of a new railway spur to connect Richmond with the Stockton to Darlington line.

When the navvies were paid off in Richmond Market Place, there followed an orgy of drinking and fighting. Galliers resigned and in desperation Richmond pleaded for assistance from A Division of the Metropolitan Police in London. The Chief Commissioner sent one of his best men, Charles Manley. Charles had joined some 12 years before and was tall but of slender build. He was "Positive" in his Scotland Yard ideas.

On arrival, he wounded local sentiment by his refusal to wear Richmond Police uniform and insisted he wore his Met uniform due to his origins. He knew no fear and scorned to turn tail or avoid disturbance. He knew why he had been sent to Richmond and was determined to keep law and order on the navvies payday. He was unflinching as he interfered in the half drunken fights of the navvies and ordered them about their business. They in turn set about him and there was always more of them. Manley often came off worst, but the next payday, there he was again ready to do his duty as if nothing had previously happened.

A culmination of injuries eventually forced PC Manley into swift decline and to the end he refused to give in. He died at his post and was buried on the 2nd January 1845. The town of Richmond recognised the great service done by PC Manley and were equally embarrassed by the result of their plea to the Met. Fortunately for Charles Manley's widow a substantial subscription was organised for her benefit by the Town Council.