Briefly a policeman
worked a 12 hour day and 6 days a week but was never really off
duty. He was allowed one day off a week - if there were
no calls. The policeman had no waterproofs, only a cape,
and wore a flat hat. His transport was a bicycle, which
he had to provide himself. The police had a system referred
to as "Points"; three nights every week, between the
hours of 12.0 midnight and 2.0. a.m. the policeman bad to cycle
to Worthenbury or Holly Bush or Overton to meet a policeman from
In the mid 20s, the Foot and Mouth Disease"
was exceptionally bad in the Maelor area. The police were
on duty almost 24 hours a day, sometimes they were not able to
get home for 7 to 10 days as they were on duty at the farm gates.
Whilst they were killing and burning, the policeman had
a large bath of disinfectant in which visitors had to dip their
feet, they had a canvas cover and an old fashioned sofa and a
brazier. The police slept at the farm gates and then moved
from one farm to another.
The policeman used to spend a lot of time on
the Overton corner until an hour after the pubs had closed, to
see that there was no trouble or late drinking.
Farming in the old days was very different,
the police did not receive many complaints from the farmers, and
cattle were of very little value compared with today. Many
of the farmers had between 200 and 300 milking cows and women
from the village would go milking twice a day.
Some of the incidents which come to mind :-
The police were often receiving anonymous letters, which people
thought were put in the waste paper basket, actually they were
taken up to Mold once a month, where they were dealt with. These
anonymous letters usually came from wives, whose husbands were
excessive drinkers - hoping the Chief Constable could do something
about it. There was one particular case when someone from
Worthenbury wrote to the Chief Constable telling him that dances
were held in an old Army Hut which was next door to the pub, they
went on until between 2.0. and 3.30. a.m. and some of the men
used to slip out after closing hours into the pub for drinks until
well after midnight. The result was, the Inspector from
Overton together with a policeman from Bronington called at Bangor
and asked Mr. Parry to accompany them on their bikes to Worthenbury
when they knew a dance was being held there. The three policemen
hid their bikes behind some bushes and then hid behind the pub
to watch and catch the culprits after hours. Someone had
spotted the police and told the dancers so naturally no dancers
went into the pub that night. The three policemen lay in
hiding until 3.0. a.m. and then decided to go home. In the
meantime someone had pinched the three bikes and the three policemen
had to walk home to their respective villages. The next
day the three bikes had been put back to where they had originally
Mr. Parry always walked round with a stick -
and he used it. There was often trouble with children whose
favourite prank with elderly people was the button the window
tied with cotton and tapping on the window, very annoying to the
people inside the house. Use of the stick was the best way
to deal with this sort of trouble - but is not allowed today.
There was one occasion when a boy climbed on a large barrel
to put a button on a window, the barrel was nearly full of water,
the boy slipped arid fell into the barrel of water. The
boy bad had his punishment for that day.
There were many incidents connected with the
river and to refer to a few: there was the case of the man who
was sleeping rough on the river bank who during the night must
have wandered into the water and been drowned. He must have been
in the water for some considerable time before it was reported
to the police that there was a dead man further down the river.
Young Tom Parry, who was in his early teens at the time,
went with his dad to find him; Young Tom ran ahead and called
"here he is dad"; dad said "help me to pull him
out". Young Tom got hold of his boot and the whole
foot came off. How did young Tom feel? He said he
could not sleep for a week after that. The police rolled
the body into a sack sheet, then onto a cart and took him up to
Worthenbury and put him in a shed which was an outbuilding of
the pub. They had an Inquiry to identify the body, the police
having first washed the body down and put it on a trestle table.
The police found the man's brother who came down to identify
him, and who seeing that the dead man was wearing a good pair
of boots, asked "are you burying the boots with him or can
I have them". The police replied "If you would
like to take the boots off you can have them".
Drowning's averaged about one or two a year
in the River Dee.
There was another incident of a fisherman who
had put his rod down on the ground and put the hook between his
teeth whilst he sorted out another "Fly". Someone
came along the bank and caught the end of his rod which pulled
the hook through his lip. The fisherman was brought down
to the police station where he was put on a couch. Mr. Parry
got out a pair of pliers to cut off the end of the hook and then
draw it back putting Iodine all over the lip and hock. Mr.
Parry was not very light handed, he fairly gave the fishermen
a bit of gyp.
In the old days the river used to rise very
quickly; for instance, many years ago a party arranged to go to
the panto' at Wrexham on the 6.0. p.m. bus, but when they returned,
some three hours later, the river had risen approximately eight
feet and flooded the village. It was impossible for the
bus to get back into the village, the passengers were brought
into the village on a horse drawn lorry and then had to wade through
the water to get to their homes.
In the 20s there was an abundance of rabbits
in the Bangor area and the floods, which averaged 3 or 4 times
a year, tended to reduce them. The floods drowned many and
hundreds climbed on bushes to get out of the water. Local
men went out collecting rabbits - dead or alive - took them home,
dried them in front of the fire, put them on their bikes and took
them to Wrexham where they were sold.
In 1926 the Dee River Board, which was made
up of Riparian Landowners, bought off the local net salmon fishermen.
They also cut down the trees which provided shade for the
fish. To stop the net fishermen poaching the river at night
large concrete blocks with steel hooks were put in the river to
foul the nets.
In 1964 the village experienced the biggest
flood ever recorded. This was caused by two days continuous
rain in the Dee catchment area and the misuse of the Bala Lake
Flood Prevention Scheme. This flood proved a blessing in
disguise because the Rural District Council called an emergency
meeting with the River Board which was attended by the Secretary
of State for Wales. After a tour of the village, inspecting
the damage, the Council put forward two schemes for discussion;
the first to remove the old railway embankment to allow a free
flow of water in times of flooding; the second to build a new
inner embankment. The River Board would not agree to the
removal of the railway embankment because of the possible increased
flooding of the lower reaches of the river The new inner embankment
scheme was agreed. The Minister of Stake asked the River
Board representative why this had not been done before, he replied
because no one had asked for it!!! The scheme was given
priority and completed at the cost of £16,000.
Events at the Race Course. The race horses
and the public used to arrive by train, race-goers from Wrexham
and other districts often had to walk, as there were few buses
in those days. At the Races there were always plenty of
tricksters; one popular trick was called "Crown and Anchor",
they would put a canvas sheet on the ground and invite the public
to gamble and put money down: there was a shout of "police"
and the trickster would pick the cash and canvas sheet and disappear.
The biggest trouble the police had to deal with at the Races
was the "Pickpockets", quite a large number of them
which the police became aware of from the very large number of
wallets - empty- handed in after the races; after emptying a wallet
the thief would throw it into the hedge along the roadside. On
one occasion over 50 wallets were handed in at the Police Station.
The pickpockets were quite professional and followed the
races from course to course. It was believed the pickpockets
were working for the Bookies, who, when they were paying out,
used to watch which pocket the winners put their money in, and
then tip off the pickpocket who would then follow the potential
victim. The pickpockets were very slick.
The Pubs used to cater well on race days - at
the Royal Oak in particular - they would put a trestle table up
outside the pub on the pavement, put 4 large barrels of Beer on
trestles, a tap on the bottom of the barrel and a large white
enamel jug, and put out the beer as required by the public. The
Oak" reckoned to pay their Rent and Rates out of race day.
The new development off the Worthenbury road
was referred to as the "RACE COURSE" site because Sir
Edward Hanmer (Bart), who was Chairman of the Rural District Council,
and a great race going man, had asked that all roads leading into
the development should be named after race courses such as, HAYDOCK,
SANDOWN, WORCESTER. CHESTER WAY, etc.
Many years ago a man going to see his lady friend
on a misty winter night walked along the railway line; when he
was near a cattle bridge, which had no railing, he heard a train
coming and made for the side of the bridge but finding no railing
fell over the side on to the ground beneath. A lady passing
by heard his shout for help and got into touch with the police.
The police got the local taxi up to the first cattle arch
near the station where the man was found; he had broken his leg
in the fall and had been trying to walk causing the broken bone
to pierce his leg and his trousers. Mr. Parry, who had to
be a "jack of all trades", used a home made box splint
to set the leg before the man was put into the taxi. On
the way to hospital the man started "yelling like hell"
- he had got cramp in the other leg.
It is likely that in the early twenties the
population of Bangor was nearly as big as in the late 1970s. In
those earlier days everyone appeared to have very large families
- some in double figures. Families lived in quite small
houses with one or two bedrooms - many slept "head to toe';
sleeping must have been very difficult.
The policeman's life was never an easy one;
they had a diary to compile daily recording every event that took
place locally such as the registration of cattle, sheep dipping
etc. Every small detail had to go down in the diary.
Sadly, Mr. Parry, probably as the result of being
involved with out of foot and mouth disease, contracted a serious
blood infection and died aged 46 in 1938.