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Stand 83
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Rainford & Parris

Literature, modern first editions, children's illustrated, cookery.

Bow Street Runner, Chief Constable, Private Detective & Gatekeeper at the House of Lords.


The 1854 manuscript diary of Henry Goddard (1800-1883) together with first edition copy of Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner.


Henry Goddard is the only Bow Street Runner to have had his memoirs published. They were published in 1956 by Museum Press, with an introduction by Patrick Pringle.
Goddard enlisted in the Foot Patrol, the lowest paid of the Bow Street Forces, in 1824. He resigned in 1826 to become an officer at Great Marlborough Street Police Station, later rejoining Bow Street in 1834, where he remained until they were disbanded in 1839. Then in 1840 he became the first Chief Constable of the County of Northamptonshire. In 1849 he returned to London and worked in the Department of the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod at the House of Lords, first as a messenger and then as one of the three principal gatekeepers. At the same time, he continued working as a private detective.
According to the Northamptonshire Police Museum, Henry Goddard conducted the first tool mark comparison case involving a firearm, in 1835. A homeowner was shot and killed, and the servant was suspected of the crime. Goddard was able to identify a visible flaw in the fired projectile and trace the mark to the manufacturer’s mould. He also identified the paper patch used to provide a seal between the projectile and the gunpowder as having been torn from a newspaper that was found in the servant’s quarters.
Pringle relates that, 'Most of his private detective cases, came from John & Daniel Forrester, who continued to run a semi-official private-detective agency in the City of London for nearly twenty years after the Bow Street and other metropolitan police-office Runners had been disbanded. The Forrester brothers were the most famous detectives of their day, and the police-court reports in contemporary newspapers contain many accounts of their exploits. Had they published their story they would probably have acquired the same immortality as Vidocq in France or Allan Pinkerton in the United States'. There are many mentions of Goddard's meetings with the Forresters in this diary which includes entries concerning his fees & expenses for enquiries undertaken, among which are an affair involving a 'Greek Prince' and gold stolen from a ship in the East India Docks. Pringle's introduction to the memoirs specifically mentions that he had access to Goddard's 1856 diary from the family, but not this one of 1854.
In the recent BBC series 'Sherlock', Holmes is seen reading a copy of Goddard's Memoires in the episode 'The Reichenbach Falls'.
An intriguing diary of an incredibly interesting early detective.

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