Henry Solomon

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This article is about the police officer. For the MP with a similar name, see Henry Solomons.
Henry Solomon
Died 14 March 1844(1844-03-14) (aged 49)
Brighton, East Sussex, England
Police career
Department Brighton Borough Police
Rank Chief Constable

Chief Constable Henry Solomon (1794 - 14 March 1844)[1] was a police officer who became the first Chief Constable of Brighton Borough Police in East Sussex, England.[2]

Originally a London watchmaker, Solomon was appointed as Chief Constable — the highest rank in the force — on 18 May 1838,[3] which was a notable appointment in that period as he was a Jewish man.[4] He became the superior officer to two superintendents, three inspectors, twenty-four constables and a night constable — a total of thirty-one officers for a population of around 47,000.[5]

While interviewing a prisoner — 23-year-old John Lawrence, for theft of a roll of carpet — on 13 March 1844, Solomon was bludgeoned by Lawrence with a poker, causing a head injury from which he later died.[6] An appeal to which Queen Victoria gave £50 raised a large sum for the welfare of his widow and nine children.[2] Lawrence was found guilty of murder at Lewes Assizes and publicly hanged at Horsham.

Solomon is thought to be the only Chief Constable in the United Kingdom to have been murdered in his own police station.[7][8] His ghost reputedly haunts the basement of the building, now a town hall.[4][8] He is buried in the Florence Place Old Jewish Burial Ground in Brighton's Round Hill district,[9] where he has been considered to be the 'celebrity' grave.[10] In 2004, his was one of several local names to be chosen to appear on the front of a new fleet of buses in Brighton.[3]

The inscription on Solomon's gravestone reads: 15 years chief officer of police / of the town of Brighton / who was brutally murdered / while in the public discharge / of the duties of his office / on the 14th day of March 1844 / in the fiftieth year of his age.[9]


  1. ^ Erredge, John Ackerson. History of Brighthelmston, or Brighton as I view it and others knew it. Brighton: Lewis. p. 246. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  2. ^ a b "Henry Solomon" (PDF). Middle Street Synagogue, a part of Brighton's history. Friends of Middle Street Historic Synagogue. p. 19. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  3. ^ a b "New buses celebrate city's past". The Argus. Newsquest Media Group. 2004-04-02. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  4. ^ a b "Old Police Cells Museum". Sussex Police. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  5. ^ http://www.the-spi.co.uk/CASE%20FILES/OLD%20POLICE%20MUSEUM/History.html
  6. ^ Edmund Burke, ed. (1845). The Annual Register or a View of the History and Politics of the Year 1844. London: Woodfall & Son. p. 29. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  7. ^ "Lottery boost for police museum". BBC News. 2006-11-25. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  8. ^ a b "Tied to His Work". Notorious murders/Timeless classics. Courtroom Television Network, LLC., Time Warner. Archived from the original on 2007-12-23. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  9. ^ a b Sharman Kadish, Jewish Heritage in England : An Architectural Guide, English Heritage, 2006, p. 79
  10. ^ Singh, Tejvir (2004). New Horizons in Tourism: Strange Experiences and Stranger Practices. Cambridge, MA: CABI Publishing. p. 76. ISBN 0-85199-863-1. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 

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