Alfred Parke HAMILTON
d. 9 Apr 1933  


The Ilford Guardian, Friday April 14, 1933



As Police Inspector and Councillor.

A Courageous Figure.

It is with profound regret that we have to record the death, which occurred after a short illness at his residence, "Larigan", 15, Coventry Road, Ilford, on Sunday, at the age of 67, of Councillor Alfred Parke Hamilton.

His last illness was of comparatively short duration. His absence through ill-health was mentioned at the last meeting of the Borough Council, when a message was sent by his colleagues wishing him a speedy recovery. There was little indication then that the indisposition was of anything but a temporary character. He was suffering from influenza. Pneumonia supervened, however, and despite devoted attention, the end came on Sunday morning.

The news came as a great shock in the town which he had served so long in his two capacities, first as the Sub-Divisional Inspector of the "K" Division Metropolitan Police, and latterly as a member of the Borough Council.

Fearless Outspokenness.

The vigorous personality and fearless outspokenness of Councillor Hamilton was well known, and his was a figure which will be much missed in the Council Chamber. Since his retirement from the police, the late Councillor had devoted most of his time to his Council duties, and was one of the most regular in attendance, both at the Council meetings and at the various Committees on which he sat.

Of Irish birth, Councillor Hamilton was a man of exceptional courage, a trait which he carried into his Council work, but he was at the same time exceptionally kind-hearted and did much good in a quiet and unostentatious way. He was born at Ballyfarnon, in the County of Roscommon, Ireland, his parents being farmers. The farm was called "Larigan", the name which marked his Ilford residence. At the age of 21 he came to London, where he joined the Metropolitan Police Force. After thirty-six years' service, he retired on the 30th August 1925, having been Sub-Divisional Inspector at Ilford for over seventeen years.

Arrest with a broken jaw.

When he arrived in London, he was given his first taste of night duty in the neighbourhood of Wormwood Scrubs Prison, and had not been in the force long when he met his first adventure. A prize-fight was staged on his beat, and he received information of it. He sent for assistance, but found it necessary to act before it arrived. He interfered, and the prize-fighters and their supporters attacked him. His jaw was broken in two places, but although suffering from these and other injuries, he chased the offenders for two and a half miles and eventually arrested a man.

At the West London Police Court, the father of Sir Henry Curtis Bennett, K.C., who was a magistrate, was so impressed by Hamilton's devotion to duty that he said "You are possessed of the pluck which has made England great," and gave him a cheque from his own pocket. He also appealed to the people of Kensington for an expression of their appreciation, which was forthcoming.

In addition Mr. Hamilton was rewarded from the Bow Street Reward Fund.

Later, he applied for dock guard duty, and was successful subsequently in dealing with many cases of smuggling. It was while here that he gained promotion to the rank of Sergeant, and was married.

Subsequently, he made a personal application to Sir Charles Howard, then Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police for a transfer and secured it, promotion then coming rapidly.

17 Years at Ilford Police Station.

He came to Ilford in April, 1909, as Sub-Divisional Inspector. His first important case was va murder at Chadwell Heath, where he secured the arrest of the murderer.

Due to retire during the War, he was offered a lucrative position in private life, but, feeling that his duty was to his country, he stayed on.

Saved Life in Air Raids.

He saw very considerable service during the air raids, particularly at Manor Park, where considerable damage was done. On one occasion he worked tremendously hard with special constables, and saved three lives, and for this action was awarded 10 at Bow Street and was offered an honour, which he declined.

As an Officer he was a strict disciplinarian, but very humane. He was a keen sportsman and inspired his men to great success in these activities. He also took a great interest in charity and organised many concerts.

During his career with the police Mr. Hamilton earned no fewer than twenty-seven commendations and rewards for devotion to duty.

His Council Services.

Councillor Hamilton was elected to the Council on the 1st November, 1926 (the date of the first Borough Council Elections) as a member for the Clementswood Ward, having obtained the second highest number of votes for the three vacancies in that Ward, viz., 1.371, his first period of office being for two years, expiring on the 1st November, 1928.

On the 9th November, 1928, he was re-elected a member of the Borough Council for the Clementswood Ward having secured 1,559 votes, for a further period of three years, and on the 9th November, 1931, he was again re-elected a member of the Borough Council for the Clementswood Ward, having secured 1,799 votes, for a further period of three years ending 1st November, 1934.

He was a member of the following standing committees of the Council, viz.:- General Purposes, Works, etc., Public Health and Legal and Parliamentary. Also the following statutory committees, viz.:- Education, Maternity and Child Welfare, Allotments and Rating. He was also a member of the following Education sub-committees, viz.:- School Staffing, Advanced Instruction, Works and Finance.

The late Mr. Hamilton was a Deacon of the Cranbrook-road Baptist Church and had always taken a keen interest in the work there.

He leaves a widow and four sons, Peyton, Kenneth, Cyril and Donald, and one daughter Doris, all of whom are living in the district.


Mayor's Tribute at Special Council.

A special meeting of the Ilford Borough Council was held at the Town Hall on Monday evening, when the Mayor, Alderman C.W.Clark, J.P., presided, and there were present:- Aldermen F.D. Smith, F.H. Dane, H.G. Odell, B.S.J. Pitt, G. Gunary; Councillors C.B. Blow, T. Braithwaite, H. Billington, Mrs. Carrell, C.A. Farman, R.J. Dixon, W. eke, A.D.B. Harding, Mrs. B.A.L. Harding, C.F. Jay, W.E. Meade, W.A. Parfitt, H. Smith, O.Waters, R.S. Daniels.

Mr. A. Catto, Mr. JJ. Taylor, amd Mr. Lonergan, of the Education Committee, were also present.

The Town Clerk, Mr. Adam Partington, explained that this was a special meeting of the Council convened under Standing Order 3 on the instructions of the Mayor. Members were notified by telephone or memoranda, and he had to announce that Alderman Davey and Councillors Bisson, Heath, Shipman, Griggs, Elborne, and Wetton were unavoidably prevented from being present.

The Mayor asked for suspension of the Standing Orders to admit of the meeting being held. - This was agreed.

The Mayor remarked: "It is my unfortunate duty to have to refer to the loss the Council and the Town have sustained in the death of Mr. Councillor Hamilton.

"We believe him to have been a man of undoubted integrity and high principles, and who has carried out what he considered to be his civic duties fearlessly but never unkindly. One of the characteristics of our English civic life is that criticism of one who differed from us is never allowed to be destructive of personal regard. It is in that spirit we mourn the passing of our late colleague, Mr. Councillor Hamilton."

" I will ask you to pass a vote expressing our sincere condolences with his sorrowing wife and family. I will ask you to be upstanding for that purpose as a mark of our respect."

The Town Clerk, on behalf of the officials of the Corporation, asked to be associated with the Council's vote of condolence and expression of sympthy.

The Mayor then asked the Town Clerk if he would convey an intimation to that effect to the widow of their late colleague and the family, and that the vote be recorded on the minutes.

The Council then went into committee.


Impressive Civic Service.

Impressive scenes attended the funeral on Wednesday, when the Borough Council attended the church and the interment un their corporate capacity. The Mayor, Alderman C.W. Clark, J.P., attended, and was accompanied by all the members of the Ilford Borough Council who were available, while each Department was represented by one of its senior officials.

Members of the Metropolitan Police and the Ilford Fire Brigade marched in the funeral procession immediately following the hearse.

A service was held at noon at the Cranbrook-road Baptist Church, of which the late Councillor Hamilton was a Deacon. The service was conducted by the Rev. Mitchell Hughes. The hymn "Jesu, lover of my soul" was sung, and the Mayor's Chaplain (the Rev. C. Bernard Cockett, M.A.) read from the scriptures.

A short address was given in eloquent and touching terms by the Rev. Mitchell Hughes, and the service concluded with the hymn "Abide with me."

In view of the services rendered to the town by the late Councillor Hamilton, the interment took place in a special grave in the Council's Buckingham Road Cemetery, in a position on the West side of the oval-shaped flower bed opposite the Cemetery Chapel. The decision to place the grave at the disposition of the relatives was reached at the Special Council meeting on Monday.

The interment was conducted by the Rev. Mitchell Hughes.

The chief mourners were:- The Widow; Mr. and Mrs. Peyton Hamilton, son and daughter-in-law; Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Hamilton, son and daughter-in-law; Mr. and Mrs. Cyril Hamilton, son and daughter-in-law; Mr. and Mrs. Cumner, daughter and son-in-law; Mr. Donald Hamilton, son; Mr. Peyton Hamilton, brother; Messrs. Henry, Peyton and John Black, nephews; Mr. Geo. Cresswell, cousin; Mrs. Olivia Watson, niece, and son; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Winter; Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Merritt; and Mr. and Mrs. T.S. Smith.

The magnificent floral tributes included the following:- Mrs. A.P. Hamilton, "To my dearest from his broken-hearted wife"; Mr. and Mrs. J.H.P. Hamilton; Mr. and Mrs. A.K.L. Hamilton; Mr. and Mrs. C.R.P. Hamilton; Mr. and Mrs. L. Cumner; Mr. Donald Hamilton; Parke and Bryan; Mavis and Christine; The Minister and fellow Deacons of the Cranbrook Baptist Chapel; Ilford Ratepayers' Association; Dr. and Mrs. Percy Drought; S. Woods and Co.; Mr. and Mrs. J. English; Mr. and Mrs. H. Stock; The Mayor, Aldermen, and Councillors of the Borough of Ilford; Councillor and Mrs. Jay; Councillor and Mrs. Shipman; "A Few Pensioners who served under him at Ilford Police Station"; Mrs. Hayden, Mr. and Mrs. Hayden, and Miss Hayden; Mr. and Mrs. Banks; Mr. and Mrs. Hall; Miss Elsie Mills; Mr. and Mrs. David Tail; Mrs. F. C. Pike and daughter; Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Winter; Ilford Schoolmasters' Association; Mr. and Mrs. Tompkins and family; Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Hawes and Kath; Mr. and Mrs. Hodges and family; Mr. and Mrs. G. Coppen; Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Oliffe and family; Miss J. March; Ilford Sub-Division Police Athletic Club; Supt. H. Budd, Officers and Men of K Division; Mr.F.Coe and staff; Mrs. E. Stearn and family; John R.and Kathleen Harris; Mr.and Mrs. T. S. Smith; Mr. and Mrs. H. Gilbey; Cranbrook Road Baptist Football Club; Mr. and Mrs. G.Hasler; Mr.and Mrs. George Cresswell; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Winter; Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Merritt and Edward; The tenants at Oakhurst-Road; Mr. Henry Black and family; Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton Watson; and Councillor and Mrs. Dixon.

The funeral arrangements were reverently carried out by Messrs.Gilderson and Sons, Ltd., of Ilford.



April 12th, I933.

A Short Tribute from his Minister, Rev.Mitchell Hughes



It is not my custom to give an address on an occasion like this; words are such poor expressions of one's soul in deep places. The circumstances may demand it to-day, but I find it very difficult, because I would want to speak from the heart, and my heart is too full; for, you see, Mr. Hamilton was my friend with whom I shared more intimacies of the Spirit than anybody knows. Mr. Hamilton's public life was open for everybody to see, a man of big human interests and of profound sympathetic concern for the welfare of his fellows, giving himself to the government of our town's affairs in self-forgetting service. And the presence of the Mayor and Aldermen and Councillors here, who were sharers with him in the same unselfish ministry, is their sympathetic tribute to his memory. A fearless outspoken man, Mr. Hamilton was, as everybody knows, for life to him was no barren negative. There was no servile acquiescence in him, no timidity in facing odds, no shrinking from a conflict, and withal, no bitterness that cherishes resentments. As I knew him, he never did anything for self advertisement, of which he had a horror; his motives were the highest and free from mixture. And I believe that the testimony of everybody who knew him and shared with him the public duties of citizenship will consent to his uttermost sincerity in all he did and said for the sake of the town of his adoption.

But Mr. Hamilton's controlling interest was his Church; and there is no place where his memory may be so appropriately enshrined as just here, in this Baptist Church of Cranbrook Road. One of our Poets says something like this "God be thanked; a man boasts two soul-sides; one to meet the world with, and one to show his love." And our friend had these two qualities which make the estimate of a real man the quality of soul to face the world's outward affairs, and the quality of soul for spiritual retreat and faith and prayer and the understanding friendship of God's Church. The second last meeting he attended was at the Council, but the last meeting he attended was in this Church. I cannot trust myself to speak of what his loss means to us in this place ; but it is immeasurable. His personality and service were so essential to us here ; and the mystery of his removing is too deep for me. As Dr. Parker said in a similar case " such mysteries are naked swords; it is not safe to handle them." Mr. Hamilton had the responsibility among other things of superintending the Prayer Meetings in this Church. He was a man of prayer, and it is in the prayer of a man you get the index to the real man. Did you ever hear him pray? the rugged, honest, humble simplicity of his prayers. He brought you into the near Presence. He had vision, and vision is determined by character; our vision is according to the kind of heart we bring to it. And no man could pray as he prayed, without character; it was the cleansing of an inward heart that gave him his clarified vision of things unseen. (He knew how to keep the windows of his soul open towards Jerusalem.) A man too, as we knew him, and loved him here, of unfeigned good-will, a man of deep and strong sympathy and tender spirit, a man of sane and spiritual judgment. He knew life; he knew men. He was trained in a school where a man gets to know men; he was a Police Officer and Divisional Inspector; and his friends in that vocation are here also to do honour to his name. It has been said of one of the most delightful characters of the New Testament, that " he was a good man." And if it were mine to suggest a motto for him whose memory we celebrate, I should choose those very words about Stephen in the llth of Acts-"he was a good man" ; inwardly in character, and outwardly in all conduct. My own intimacy with him I cannot unveil, for we often touched deep things in private conversation; but I counted on him, and on his advice, and friendly spirit; and I shall miss him at every turn.

His works follow him, and will continue to follow him; and if I quote this poetry, it is not for rhetoric but as sober truth, that our friend lives-

"In pulses stirred to generosity,
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn
For miserable aims that end with self,
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars
And with their mild persistence urge man's search
To vaster issues."

Mr. Hamilton would deprecate all this explicit reference to himself. He would be the first to say-" Do not magnify me; magnify my Saviour." And that is where he is, amongst the cloud of witnesses, whose spirit will hover about us, making things sacramental, magnifying the Saviour. It is not " finis " we say about him; it is " initium " -a larger work begun, where there is no more death. We remember the stricken and sorrowing widow and family. No comfort of our words is sufficient for them; nothing is sufficient except the consolation of God. May they find the comfort of God's presence real to them now, and may their prayer be, to follow in the steps of one whose memory is so worthy to cherish, and whose life was such an uplifting inspiration to us all.


The Ilford Recorder, Thursday April 13, 1933


Nine Years on Ilford Council.


Stopped Prize Fight Single handed.

We regret to record the death, which occurred at his home, 15, Coventry Road, Ilford, on Sunday morning, of Councillor A, P. Hamilton, at the age of 67. Councillor Hamilton was taken ill with influenza on Tuesday, March 28th the night of the last Borough Council meeting, and pneumonia later set in and eventually caused his death.

For nearly nine years, Councillor Hamilton had been the " stormy petrel " of the Ilford Council. He was the central figure in many lively scenes and of all the members of the CounciI Chamber, he probably made the most speeches, his broad Irish brogue which 46 years' residence in and around London had failed to dim, much less eradicate, being, conspicuous always in debate. When he was elected to the Council in 1926 he asserted his intention to fight against waste and to advocate strict economy, and through the years until the night before his last illness, when he attended an Education Committee, he stood unswervingly to his course.

Municipal work being his only hobby he gave to it an exemplary attention and study, clinging tenaciously to what he construed as the right cause, and hammering steadily away for an explanation or justification of actions which he considered not in the best interests of the town. It was a matter of pride with Councillor Hamilton that he did not take a decided line of action until he had convinced himself by inquiry and research that it was the right one to adopt. Councillor Hamilton may, at times have been mistaken in his conclusions, but he never spoke "without his book", and he never neglected to examine closely and, if necessary, champion the many causes that were laid before him constantly by rate payers.

His energy in the pursuance of his work for the rate payers was extraordinary, and only made possible by his stout constitution. He was the most frequent attender at the meetings of the Rate payers' Associations that the Council numbered. He answered questions patiently and perseveringly, and when he did not know the answer he made it his business to find out, and he did find out.

In this and numerous other directions Councillor Hamilton served the rate-payers well, and the town and the Council are the poorer by his decease.

Born the son of farmers in Roscommon, Ireland, Mr. Hamilton was a farmer himself till he was 21, and then farm life palled, and he set out for London where he joined the Metropolitan Police.

His first duty was in the neighbourhood of Wormwood Scrubbs Prison, and he had not long been a policeman before he earned the first of the 27 rewards and commendations for meritorious service which came his way during his 36 years' service with the Force.


He stopped a prize fight all by himself!

It was on a Sunday morning that he got wind of the affair on his beat, and he sent for assistance. He found it necessary to interfere before the assistance could arrive, however, and he was set upon by both the combatants as well as their numerous supporters.

His jaw was broken in two places, and he received other injuries, but in spite of them he chased one of the fighters two and a half miles, ran him into a cul de sac and there arrested him.

For his pluck in this case he was commended by the West London magistrate (the father of Sir Henry Curtis Bennett K.C.) who gave him a cheque out of his own pocket and suggested that the local residents might consider the occasion a suitable one for tendering of some concrete mark of appreciation. They did.

P.C. Hamilton also received a reward from the Bow Street Reward fund.

Later he applied for a transfer to the Dockyard Police, a special branch, and secured it. He saw many years' service in this section, and became well versed in the ways of smugglers and dock thieves before gaining promotion to the rank of sergeant.

Afterwards he came to K Division and rapid promotion followed until he became Sub-Divisional Inspector at Ilford, and embarked on his eighteen years, tenancy of that office.

Mr.Hamilton's first important case in the Ilford division was a murder at Chadwell Heath in which case his prompt action secured an arrest.

He was due to retire during the war, and was actually offered a very lucrative position outside of the Force, but he felt that his first duty was to his country and he stayed on to bring the best out of the willing Special Constabulary.

The air raids gave him and his men great trouble. On one occasion, when houses at Manor Park were wrecked by a bomb. Mr Hamilton and his men, working with devotion and courage, were instrumental in saving at least, three lives and for his part in this he was rewarded with £10 at Bow street and offered an honour which he declined.

As a police officer. he was a worker and a sportsman. In the latter respect, his inspiration led to his men achieving great success in the sporting world. He took a great interest in charity and was responsible for raising large amounts of money for good causes.

He retired on August 30th, 1925, and was the recipient then of several tokens of the regard in which he was held by police and public.


In 1926, finding time hanging too heavily on his hands, he stood for Council honours and was elected. He was re-elected on a big vote in 1928 and again in 1931.

Among the committees of which he was a member were the General Purposes, Works, Public Health, Legal and Parliamentary, Education, Maternity and Child Welfare, Allotment, Rating, School Staffing and Advanced Instruction.

Mr. Hamilton was an ardent worker for the Cranbrook Baptist Church for many years and was a deacon there and an officer of the football club attached to the church.

The funeral service was held at the church at 12 mid-day to-day (Wednesday), the interment following at St.Mary's Cemetery.

At a special Council meeting held on Monday evening the Mayor (Ald. C.W. Clark) said:- " It is my unfortunate duty to have to refer to the loss the council and the town have sustained in the death of Mr. Councillor Hamilton."

" We believe him to have been a man of undoubted integrity and high principles, and who has carried out what he considered to be his civic duties fearlessly but never unkindly."

"One of the characteristics of our English civic life is that criticism of one who differed from us is never allowed to be destructive of personal regard. It is in that spirit we mourn the passing of our late colleague Mr.Councillor Hamilton."

" I will ask you to pass a vote expressing our sincere condolences with his sorrowing wife and family. I will ask you to be upstanding for that purpose as a mark of our respect."

The Town Clerk, on behalf of the Officials of the Corporation, asked to be associated with the Council's vote of condolence and expression of sympathy.