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Broadside ballad entitled 'The New Police'


Verse 1: 'I'M one of the new police, egad, / The servant maids declare, / There's not a chap in all the force, / can sturt with such an air; / My gloves of white, my coat of blue, / My diginity increase, / And every gesture shows to you. / That I'm one of the new police.' This broadside is not dated and does not carry the name of the publisher or the place of publication.

'The new police' probably refers to the municipal police forces that began to be established in Great Britain in the 1830s. Robert Peel's Metropolitan Police Act of 1829 set up the first modern police force, in London, and the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 extended the provision for similar forces to be set up across the country. The new police was not universally popular, and the satirical poem on this broadside suggests that the force attracted corrupt and violent men, and that it was designed to spoil the enjoyment and leisure of ordinary people.

Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.

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Probable period of publication: 1835-1850   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(086)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The New Police'
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