Whittington (Derbyshire) - Retirement of Inspector Sharpe in 1911

This information was collected by Jayne Smith (formerly McHugh), during her “One Place Study” of Whittington. It was previously part of her North West Derbyshire website.
Contributed by Tony Sharpe, © Copyright 2003.


Thanks to Tony Sharpe for providing this information.

Inspector Sharpe

A high tribute as an efficient police officer was paid to Inspector Sharpe at the Chesterfield County Police Court on Saturday, when as a member of the Derbyshire Constabulary it was his last appearance.

The congratulatory reference to the Inspector's retirement was made by the presiding magistrate, Mr. C.P. Markham, who observed that he had been informed that it was the last time they would see Inspector Sharpe in his capacity as Inspector.

He had been in the force 31 years, twelve of which had been in Chesterfield, and during the whole of that time Inspector Sharpe had always been a great friend, not only to the criminal class, but also to the magistrates and the police. The manner in which he had discharged his duties, and [had] given evidence always commended itself to their notice, and if ever there was any mitigating circumstance he would bring forward in favour of the delinquent he always erred on the side of justice, and it was with regret that they would not see him there again.

Addressing the Inspector, Mr. Markham added that they wished him every happiness and prosperity in his retirement.


One of the best known police officers in the Derbyshire Constabulary is Inspector Sharpe of Whittington Moor, who, after having performed that most arduous, and exacting of work - police duty - for 31 years, retired with the closing hours of September on a well-earned pension.

Born in Northamptonshire, Inspector Sharpe received but scant education, and upon attaining the age of twenty, he got married to a young lady whom he had known from boyhood, and joined the Derbyshire County Police Force on April 9th, 1880. He gained his first experience at Darley Dale, where he remained for one year and eight months, when he was transferred to Brassington, in the Wirksworth petty sessional division.

Here, the energetic officer had many exciting encounters with desperate poachers at Hopton, but when a Derbyshire Times representative asked him for particulars of his most exciting experiences, he declined on the ground that the information might possibly cause some unpleasantness to those concerned in the affairs.


After a sojourn of eight years, the subject of this brief sketch went to Longford, on the border of Staffordshire, and amongst his smart captures might be mentioned those of several burglars and a sheep stealer.

About this time, many of the Ashbourne people were particularly bitter against the local police in consequence of what was then known as the “Bentley Poaching Affray”. It appears the police, aided by a gamekeeper, arrested a number of men whom they believed to be poachers, and they were committed for trial. A conviction was recorded, and later inquiries resulted in the men being found innocent, and at the request of the Home Office they were discharged. So intense was the feeling of many of the Ashbourne people that they refused to allow the police, although strong in numbers, to take the prisoners who had been sentenced to the terms of imprisonment, to gaol, and they were consequently detained at the police court until after 12 o' clock at night.


Eventually several police changes took place in the Ashbourne district, and P.C. Sharpe, who had directed affairs with a smoothness which was truly remarkable, was promoted to Sergeant and he will ever remember the time he experienced on taking his goods to his new station. He was received by a howling mob, who, however, did nothing more serious than to boo.

He remained at Ashbourne for eight years, during which time he earned the respect and esteem of everyone by his kindly tact and forbearance and sterling good sense. If evidence were needed of this it was to be found in the fact that on the retirement of the local superintendant the magistrates endeavoured to get him promoted to that position, but such promotion was impossible, as he had not attained the rank of Inspector. Captain Holland took the earliest opportunity of promoting his astute officer to an inspectorship, and on October the 1st., 1899, he was transferred to Whittington Moor, which district he has been in charge of ever since.


In whatever position he was placed, Inspector Sharpe could accomodate himself to the circumstances of the moment, and he will be well remembered by those people who sought to get a living without working for it at the historic Chesterfield races.

While the “sport” had to be wary of the touters, sharks, and tricksters relieving him of his superfluous cash, these “gentlemen” had to be particularly wary of Inspector Sharpe. Although the three card trick is banned, gangs worked whenever they could to induce innocent youths to try their hand at “spotting the lady”. It must be said in favour of the “three card gentry” that if they displayed so much cleverness in honest walks of life as they do in the swindling tricks they would get on.


Thanks to the effects of that skilled officer, Inspector Sharpe, and other members of the Derbyshire Constabulary, it is satisfactory to note that the three card trick is not played so much as it was, and it is not nearly so profitable a game as formerly, but there is enough to be made out of it to warrant the operation of a gang of eight of these rascals at the recent Chesterfield races. Inspector Sharpe has also had cases of thimble-rigging and throwing the dice.

During his twelve years Inspectorship, Inspector Sharpe has had many family woes poured into his wiling ear, and he has given many a kindly word of advice.

A curious coincidence is that Inspector Sharpe recieved his promotion on October the 1st., that he came to Whittington on October the 1st and that he finished his work in the force on October the 1st.

Another interesting fact is that while at Brassington he was instrumental inaugurating a teetotallers cricket club, and he is now becoming the landlord of the “Black Swan” at Whittington.


......with high esteem, and the best of wishes, not only of the members of the force, but of the law abiding citizens in the Whittington district, will go out to him in his well merited retirement from the force.

Prior to the commencment of the business at the Chesterfield police court on Saturday, D.C.C. Faulkner, on behalf of the men in the Chesterfield county area, presented Inspector Sharpe with a Double-Curb Albert.

It may be added that Mrs. Sharpe's brother is Inspector Palmer, of Melbourne who joined the force twelve months after her husband.

Information provided by Tony Sharpe. Reproduced by courtesy of Jayne McHugh.

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