Not Just A Desk Job

Never A Dull Moment For Constable Wallbank

Albert Wallbank served as a police constable in Carrington, Newcastle for seven years until March 1921, when he was transferred to Dudley, then a small seaside town.  The ink stand pictured dates to the 1920s and is believed to have been gifted to Constable Wallbank. Perhaps it was a farewell gift from the Carrington community, or a welcome gift from the people of Dudley for use in his new post.

Either way, when Constable Wallbank arrived in Dudley, he did not spend all his time at a desk. As the sole policeman stationed in this small but busy mining town, he was usually out and about in pursuit of law and order.

During his time in Dudley, Constable Wallbank patrolled the streets and beaches, checked hotels for licensing breaches,  and dealt with all manner of troubles including indecent language, drunkenness, thefts, shootings (both accidental and otherwise), assaults, suicides, motor vehicle collisions and other traffic offences.  He once hid himself behind bushes to spy on a man accused of indecency towards young women. He was called to help a shark attack victim and attended after an accident in Dudley’s coal mine.  He led an investigation when a body mysteriously washed up on Dudley foreshore and was embroiled in a murder mystery after a skeleton was found under scrubby brush in Little Redhead. Even on his quietest days, Constable Wallbank could be found giving evidence in court or walking house to house collecting Census data.

It’s a wonder he ever used this inkstand. The unfortunate reality for Constable Wallbank was that after every dramatic incident he was required to return to his desk, pick up a pen, dip it in ink and begin a detailed written report.