Since March The Littleport Society has been unable, due to the Covid-19 pandemic to hold any open meetings, or committee meetings, and the Archive & Collection at the Barn has also remained closed. However, the Society has continued to function. We have continued to produce our quarterly magazine, keep our website and Facebook page updated, fulfil book orders, and answer enquiries, and we are pleased to announce a new 2021 Then & Now Calendar will be available soon.
In fact since lockdown the number of enquiries through our website regarding family or local history has increased, and some of the family history queries have given our genealogical team some real challenges. One of the local history queries regarded the old Police Station in the High Street, which many older residents will well remember.
The Isle of Ely Constabulary was established in 1841. Two constables were stationed in houses in Littleport, and there was an old lock-up on the west side corner of Globe Lane and Wellington Street, to house offenders awaiting to go to court at Ely. The lock-up fell into disrepair and prisoners were regularly breaking out, so it was decided to establish a Police Station in High Street in 1871. The station contained a house for a resident constable, later a sergeant, and two cells. The station survived until 1964 when it was replace by the present building, now private dwellings.
The Society has also continued to receive donations of items to the Archive & Collection, and also purchase interesting items when they come up for sale. One item recently purchased at an on-line auction was the bronze Gallantry Medal awarded to Edward Cooper in 1878.
Edward Cooper was born in Littleport in 1848, the son of Thomas Cooper, a blacksmith, and his wife Sarah. Edward joined the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class in February 1868. Later he was employed as a Boatman in the Coast Guard from December 1877 and was one of five men of H.M. Coast Guard, of Aberdovey, Milford Haven, who assisted in rescuing the crews of the smack Lerry, of Aberdovey, and the coaster, Elizabeth Ann, of Cardigan, when both vessels were in distress during a storm, near Godwick, on the 8th November 1878. The Chief officer was awarded a silver Board of Trade Medal Medal, whilst the remainder were awarded bronze medals. Edward Cooper was Shore Pensioned in July 1884.
The Littleport Society can be contacted through our website, just Google The Littleport Society, and we should be top of the list.