AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/1230
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Date(s): 1793-[c. 1814]
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.01 linear metres.
Name of creator(s): Colquhoun | Patrick | 1745-1820 | economist, statistician and police magistrate


Administrative/Biographical history:

Patrick Colquhoun (1745-1820) was appointed a police magistrate in 1792 and posted to the office in Worship Street, Finsbury Square. In 1797 he was requested by the West India merchants to protect their property on the Thames from pillage. He put into operation a scheme projected by John Harriott, and in 1798 the marine police office was established at Wapping, with Harriott as resident magistrate and Colquhoun as receiver. The office was unpopular at first, and a riot took place at Wapping in October 1798. However, the establishment quickly proved effective in bringing law and order to the river.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Patrick Colquhoun, police magistrate, comprising letter to Henry Dundas, Home Secretary, relating to a salary dispute, 1793; letter to Richard Ford, magistrate, relating to apprehension of a criminal, 1797; letter to William Wickham, Under-secretary of State for the Home Department, relating to the river police, 1798; letter regarding the Wapping riots, 1798; letters relating to expenditure, 1799.

Also autobiographical notes giving an account of 'family and public services', including a detailed chronological account of his public services, beginning with his early career in Glasgow, where he was Chief Magistrate. He accepted the position of a police magistrate in London "not so much on account of the salary which was small; but from a strong impression on his mind that by great attention to the duty he had undertaken to perform he would be able after a time to suggest measures for the improvement of a System(?), than which nothing could be worse." His various activities have included regulating public houses, and establishing the river police office, soup kitchens and a public school in Westminster. He has published treatises on these and other subjects which have been read widely, and many of his suggestions have been implemented. In many connections he has been styled a "public benefactor".

This document appears to have been composed with a view to publication. In 1818 Colquhoun's son-in-law contributed to the European Magazine "an exhaustive account of his useful and disinterested labours," (Dictionary of National Biography, Vol IV, p.860), and it is possible that this was written for that article. However, as the account of his services ends at 1814 (although he was a police magistrate until 1818), and the watermark is 1814, the earlier date seems the more probable.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

ACC/1230-1: Correspondence; ACC/1230-2: Autobiographical notes.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited in March 1974.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Records prepared May to September 2011.

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Personal Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"