Major John J Greig C.B., J.P., Chief Constable of Liverpool


he late Major Greig, who died so long since as December 2nd, 1882, aged 75 years. The present Chief Constable, Capt. Nott Bower, and some 700 members of the Force and Fire

Brigade, of all ranks, attended the funeral.


Major Greig belonged to an old Scottish family, which settled many years ago in Edinburgh, and which was held in high repute in that city. His father occupied a Government appointment in Midlothian, and the Major was born in Edinburgh, in 1807. While still a young man he entered the army, soon reached the rank of Lieutenant, and in that capacity served with his regiment (the 21st Foot) in Canada and the West Indies. He obtained a Captain's commission, and on his retirement from the army was appointed Staff-Officer of Pensioners for Liverpool and district.


When Mr. Dowlin retired from the position of Head Constable, Major (then Captain) Greig was appointed to that

important position, on the 27th March, 1852, at a salary of £650 per annum, which was raised from time to time until it became £1,000. During the period the Major was at the head of the city Police, the Force attained a high state of efficiency, and he was ably seconded in his command of that body by such experienced Officers as Messrs. Quick, Ride, Brennan, L. Kehoe, Sibbald, Kissack, and Hancox. While he was Head Constable the Fenian troubles began. Liverpool for a time was the hotbed of the conspiracy, several of the head centres being resident here. In recognition of his services in connection with this affair he was appointed C.B. on the 14th October, 1867.


In consequence of failing health, he sent in his resignation as Head Constable to the Watch Committee, in October, 1881. After his resignation, the Major chiefly resided in the Isle of Man, and in the winter months in the South of England. Shortly after his retirement he was appointed a Justice of the Peace for the city. Major John J Greig C.B., J.P was the Chief Constable of Liverpool from 1852 to 1881. (Police Review and Parade Gossip, 18 October, 1895)



Above: Liverpool City Police Merit Badge


n extract from the 1944 edition of Liverpool's manual of general orders & instructions:


An Officer, Sergeant or Constable who has been awarded a badge for any specially meritorious act wears it on the right cuff.


The badge has a Liver, the word "merit" and a number, to indicate the number of times the badge has been awarded.


A Sergeant wears a "Liver" above his chevrons after completing five years in the rank with freedom from punishment.


A Constable wears one, two, or three stripes upon his right cuff, after 10, 15 and 20 years' service respectively, but the wearing of these stripes is dependent upon freedom from punishment.


"Freedom from punishment" means freedom from punishment for the period of service mentioned. 10 years' service meaning 10 years from any date continuously free from punishment, in like manner 15 and 20 years' service means continuous years free from punishment. Thus, if a Constable is punished after 10 years' service, he cannot earn the second stripe until he completes a further continuous period of 15 years' good service, and so on.


When stripes have once been earned they will not be forfeited on punishment, unless the losing of the stripes is especially laid down as a part of the punishment.



Liverpool City Constable with a single service stripe, c1890/1900 (Submitted by Dave Jones)



Liverpool City Constable J Price wearing summer issue tunic with two service stripes, late 1930s



On the subject of when service stripes ceased to be worn, it seems that they were allowed to lapse gradually. After a given date they were no longer awarded. However, those who had them could wear them if they wished and of course as the men retired the stripes disappeared. (Submitted by Dave Wilkinson)


Superintendent James Nimrod Race, Chief of Liverpool Mounted Police, wearing the full ceremonial dress of 1898



Liverpool City Police Fire Brigade (Submitted by Alan Swain)



Liverpool City Police, Constable 580 (Submitted by Ray Ricketts)


Police Lanterns: Liverpool 1900


Accidents having occurred to persons travelling by night on horseback or in carriages and particularly in districts where there are no lights, by Constables suddenly turning the light of their lanterns full on the person approaching them, and thus frightening the horses, this practice should be avoided, unless in cases of accidents, or when desired by the person concerned.


If the light is turned on previously the Constable should let it remain on so, until the horse has passed, as turning it off too suddenly may produce the same effect as if it was suddenly turned on.


Standing Instructions Liverpool City Police c1900



Liverpool City Police, Inspector (Submitted by Ray Ricketts)



Liverpool City Police, Sergeant 1C (Submitted by Ray Ricketts)



The photograph below was taken in Liverpool on August 8, 1911 during a period of extreme civil unrest. It shows a group of Liverpool City Police Officers being transported through the city in an armoured motor vehicle, surrounded by a detachment of fully armed soldiers.




These desperate measures became necessary when the British industrial situation reached a critical point during a nationwide strike by stevedores, railwaymen, carters and other transport workers. Much of the country was brought to a standstill, with the northern industrial cities particularly badly affected, and with very real fears of widespread famine.


The situation had escalated when the Home Secretary, Mr Winston Churchill, took a tough stance against strikers, whom he accused of endangering the country’s industrial wealth and putting other men’s jobs at risk.


Liverpool was wracked by riots in which at least two men were shot dead. Three warships were sent to the Mersey in which a long line of passenger liners and merchant ships were waiting to be unloaded at the city’s docks, which were then among the most important in the country. Naval detachments from these ships were on standby to assist the troops and hard-pressed police to contain the situation in which an estimated 200,000 people had taken to the streets. The city was totally without electricity because coal was prevented from reaching the power stations.


In London, fuel shortages led to buses being taken out of service, and all Police leave was cancelled.


The unrest continued throughout August, with 50,000 troops assisting the Police in London alone. On the 29th an inquest on two strikers shot dead by troops in Llanelli returned verdicts of justifiable homicide.


The situation was not helped by extremely hot weather, which persisted throughout the month. It was reported in London that 2500 children had died because of the soaring temperatures.


Truncheon with silver band which has been engraved “Liverpool City Police. Riots. August 1919" (Submitted by Dave Jones)


Below: PC 157 A, Mathew Bryce Leitch, on duty at Liverpool’s landing stage during the 1930s and Liverpool City's LSGC (Long Service and Good Conduct) medal awarded to Constable Leitch.



(Submittd by Alan Leitch)










Pre-war photograph of the Liverpool City Police Driving School taken in Sefton Park





Two Liverpool City Constables at shift changeover in the early 1960s (Submitted by Alan Leitch)


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