Jenkins, William Haines (1859-1919)

From Constable to Superintendent

Transcription of Sketch in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by Rev. E.J.T. Bagnall

Primitive Methodists, in London especially, will rejoice in the promotion of one of their most loyal and worthy laymen. We believe Mr. W.H. Jenkins holds the unique position of being the only local preacher of our church who has risen from the ranks of ordinary constable to superintendent.

His career is most interesting. He joined the force at Stoke Newington in 1877, and has now returned to the same headquarters as superintendent, having control over the “N” Metropolitan Division embracing Holloway, Stoke Newington, Tottenham, Edmonton, Enfield and Walthamstow. He will have a thousand constables under his charge.

Since 1877, by dint of hard work and strict attention to duty, together with high Christian character, Mr. Jenkins has steadily risen in the force. First to the rank of sergeant, then in 1888 to third class inspector in the “W” division. In October of that year he became divisional inspector, and after six years was again transferred to Stoke Newington. In 1895 he rose to sub-divisional inspector (mounted) and was appointed to the “J” division, residing at Wanstead. Another promotion took place in 1900 to chief inspector of the “P” division (Peckham, etc.), and this year he has been selected by Sir E. Henry, the Chief Commissioner, as superintendent of one of the most important metropolitan divisions, thus completing twenty-nine years of service.

It is gratifying to know that the same energy and unfaltering devotion manifested in the police force are exhibited in his religious life. The genesis of one’s spiritual life is oftimes as difficult to discover as the secret source of great rivers, but Mr. Jenkins traces his conversion to years of prayer on his behalf by a saintly old lady, a true member of our church. He remembers his decision day in 1880 at old Surrey Chapel, and it is noteworthy that his promotion in the force has been coincident with the development of his spiritual life. As a young constable he joined Stoke Newington Society, becoming soon an active worker. He afterwards was stationed at Hammersmith and South Norwood until he returned to Stoke Newington for another term of six years.

During that period, as Secretary to the Trustees, he laboured assiduously in the erection of the new church at Abney Park, rendering invaluable service. Removing to Wanstead in 1895 where no Primitive Methodist Society existed, he kept up association with our church by taking appointments in adjacent circuits.

In 1900, on his promotion to chief inspector he joined the East Dulwich Society, Forest Hill Circuit. Here he is received with great acceptance as a local preacher, and he has won the confidence and esteem of all. His wife and family, too, have rendered great service to the cause. Mr. Jenkins is ever on the alert to win men for Christ, and manifests great tact and wisdom in this, as in his official work. In the Metropolitan Police Force he is regarded as a man of sterling character, and though a strict disciplinarian, has a kindly and generous heart. He has yet, we hope, many years of service ahead for God and men. In the accompanying photograph Mr. Jenkins appears in the uniform of chief inspector.


William was baptised on 13 February 1859 at Thatcham, Berkshire. His parents were William, a police officer, and Eliza Ann.

He married Emma Shipp (b1861) in the spring of 1884 at Fulham, London. Census returns and birth records identify seven children.

  • William Edward (1885-1973) – a civil servant, assay fireman at Royal Mint (1911)
  • Ernest Frank (1886-1965) – a ledger clerk (1911); an accounts clerk (1927)
  • Albert Henry (1887-1974) – a draughtsman (1911)
  • Herbert Victor (1889-1960) – a clerk (1911); a licensed values managing clerk (1939)
  • Frederick Gordon (1891-1960) – a clerk (1911)
  • Daisy May (1893-1977) – married Harold Bubbers, a clerk, in 1921
  • Gladys Annie (1894-1895)

William died on 16 December 1919 at Hackney, London.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1907/289

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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