Policing Shildon in the 19th Century
Policing the Town.
Old Shildon had a Police office by 1868 controlled by the Bishop Auckland Police Division. We may assume that the building in Main Street, now a community centre served as the police station from that time until its closure the 1970ís, with perhaps a sergeant allocated living quarters and three or four constables stationed there. Any reinforcements would have been drafted in from Bishop Auckland.
In photographs taken around 1900, some policemen are pictured on horseback; but these were probably officers of senior rank, carrying out crowd control, or ceremonial duties.
In civil uprisings and the like, such as the 1911 engine drivers strike (Knoxís strike) where the engine drivers were in dispute with their employers, such was the scale of disorder that the militia in the form of the Hussars were called upon to restore and maintain order.
They patrolled the streets and the track bed, and maintained a presence in the railway works, station, and signal box and were stationed on the bridges to prevent strikers stoning blackleg drivers who were operating the engines.
Signalling was by means of semaphore in line of sight, with the command post established on the roof of the Richmond street offices.
The Hussars were billeted in the town from time to time, and displayed their military and equestrian skills annually at the Shildon Show.
In 1984 the original Police station became the home of the Shildon Community Centre, with a new Police office being built a few years previously and all police housing in the town dispensed with.