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John James Magee

I see this great-grandfather as a tough man - he was a policeman after all, and I doubt you could follow that profession for many years without being tough.  You also needed to be tall (well at least 5ft 8 ins) and strong apparently.

His father was poor - a mere gardener and labourer, and he grew up poor, and, indeed, probably lived poor most of his life, though perhaps marginally more prosperously than his father Roger.  That life was spent on the south side of the River Thames from his Deptford origins to the rather better Peckham and Forest Hill of his middle and later years.  None of it was exactly salubrious though and he didn’t really live to a grand old age - he was 68 when he died - good enough for the time and place though.

It was unbelievably difficult to find a picture of a nineteenth century policeman - this one is rather good though.

John James Magee

born 14 January 1847 Deptford

married Catherine Eliza Warner 23 September, 1866 in Southwark

died 17 December 1915 in Peckham


Catherine Eliza (1869-?)

John James (1871-?)

Anny (1873-?)

William (1875-?)

Florence (1879-?)

Maude Beatrice (1884-1925)


Birth, death and marriage certificates

Censuses for the years 1851-1911

Daughter Maude’s birth and marriage certificates

Register of Leaving Police Force



Hebrew meaning ‘favoured of God’.  An all-time favourite name.  In his case he was probably named after his paternal grandfather.


Jon, Jonathan, Johan, Jean


Johnny, Johnno, Jack



Hebrew, from the same root as Jacob, meaning ‘supplanter’  Another all time favourite name.  In this case it was his father’s name.




Jim, Jimmy, Jimbo, Jamey