Saturday, 1 January 2011

From Work House to Metropolitan Police...the story of Page Mayes Janeway

Page Mayes Janeway was born in 1875, in Royston, Hertfordshire, the son of George Janeway born in 1841 and Mary Ann.  In 1871 George was a fossil digger - labourer.  Sadly in 1880 he died, at just 41, leaving Mary Ann to raise their family.  Clearly they fell on hard times as according to the 1881 census, Mary Ann was living with her sister and brother in law, the Mannings, at Wicker Hall, Therfield, where he was a gardener and Mary Ann, was a jobbing gardener.  Her children: George 11, Walter 9, Page 6 and the baby Eliza Ann just 1 year old, were in the Royston Union Workhouse.

Bassingbourn/Royston Poor Law Union built the Workhouse in 1836, following much protest from the local community.  The picture here shows the Workhouse some years ago when it was being demolished.
Thankfully by 1891 Mary Ann had married Frederick Chalkley and Page had a step father.  The children were reunited with their mother and they all lived in Royston.  Frederick was a stone dresser and Page was an agricultural labourer.

By 1901 however Page's life had changed dramatically.  He was living as a boarder at 450 Commercial Road, Stepney, with a family called Court, Mr Court was a police officer, as was Page and three other PCs boarding there, all in their 20s.

1901 was an important year for Page, now 27,  as on 8 December  he married a 30 year old widow, Emily Russell, who had been living at Trafalgar Road, East Greenwich.  He was then living at at 522 Commercial Road, so still a near neighbour of the Courts. They were married at St James Church, Ratcliffe, Stepney.   Emily's father was Joseph Webb an Ostler and was a witness at the marriage, George, deceased was listed as a fitter.

Years passed and Page, now 37, and Emily moved to 86 Station Road, Epsom.  In 1911, Page was still with the Metropolitan Police.  He had his 13 year old step daughter Helen living with them, and they had two children Leonard 4 and Olive just 3 months old.  It is sad to note that Emily had had 6 children, only three were still living.

It was in 1919 that disaster struck!  Page was serving at the Epsom Police Station.  Following the war there were a number of overseas servicemen awaiting repatriation.  Included were 400 Canadian troops, living in Epsom.  In June police were called to a disturbance at the Rifleman Pub in East Street.

Two Canadian soldiers were arrested and conveyed to the Police Station.  Servicemen followed clamouring for their release.  Policemen went out and dispersed them, however later hundreds of men marched on the station.  Bricks, stones and wood "rained on the police line and the mob surged on the police station".  During the riot Sergeant Green charged into the crowd and was hit on the head, he died the following day.  Page was also injured!

Policemen guarding the Police Station after the riot

This shows the Police Officers at Epsom Police Station - including Sergeant Green and PC Page Janeway

Later the Police Officers who defended the station were presented with gold medallions, onto which was inscribed
 "As a token of public appreciation of the gallant fight by the Epsom Police 17 June 1919"

This is not quite the end of Page's story though!  He died just over seven months later on 2 February 1920.  The Metropolitan Police, Book of Remembrance states:

"PC Page Mayes Janeway died of cancer aggravated when injured in the Epsom Police Station Riot in 1919"

"We are not Manslaughterers - The Epsom Riot and the Murder of Station Sergeant Thomas Green" by Martin Knight
ISBN - 13:9781907183140       Publisher Tontobooks
The book mentions Page Mayes Janeway, and lists cancer in the glands of the neck and cardiac failure as the cause of death.  It also describes how Page had received a commendation in 1904 and tells how he was buried next to Thomas Green in the Epsom Cemetery.


  1. hi, just found this, as I am trying to find out more about my husband's family. His great grandfather was once of the policemen involved - PC Porter. My mother in law still has my husband's great grandfather's watch/medal which was given to him after the riot . What is strange is looking at the picture of the policemen, my husband is the spitting image of his grandfather 3rd row back and 3rd from the right] ... very spooky!


    Shullie H Porter

  2. I am thrilled this was of interest and that you have identified one of the policemen on the picture, thank you so much for commenting