THE CAMINADA S O C I E T Y
President : Ron Webster MBE
The Caminada Society is open to male pensioners who have served in the G.M.P. and currently has a membership of 263. There is no financial subscription and each event organized by the Society is self-financing. Regular meetings take place on the first Thursday of each month at the Police Club, Hough End, commencing at 2 p.m. They are very informal social gatherings, a time for reminiscing and discussing welfare matters. New members are always welcome. Members and their guests also enjoy a number of lunches – sometimes featuring a speaker, often with a Police background - at Hough End throughout the year, the annual Christmas Lunch being particularly popular and well attended.
The Society takes its name from Jerome Caminada, the first Manchester Victorian detective who died in 1914. He is buried, coincidentally, near to the Police Club and his grave is maintained by the Society. The exploits of Caminada are described in graphic Victorian detail, in two lengthy autobiographical volumes. These books are out of print, but are obtainable on order from the public library. However, a potted version of some of the stories is available in paperback form published by True Crime Library. A review of this book by the Society’s late Hon. Life President, Charles Horan, is contained hereinafter. Several personal and service Caminada mementoes are exhibited at the G.M.P. Museum located in the old Newton Street Police Station in the city centre.
The first Hon. Life President of the Society, Charles Horan, was a Manchester detective for nearly 40 years, following his service in the Second World War. He retired in 1984 as the A.C.C. Crime from the G.M.P. and actually met two descendants of the Caminada family. One was a grandson, the late Nevil Francis Caminada of Cleveleys. The other was Jerome (Jerry) Charles Caminada, grandson of Louis Caminada who was a brother of the great man. Jerry was born in South Africa in 1911 and for most of his life was a journalist on the Times. Jerry became famous in his own right as the only war correspondent to be captured by the Germans in Belgium shortly after the outbreak of war. He subsequently escaped from a Polish prisoner of war camp and returned to England where he served in the Royal Navy for the remainder of the war. This is an epic tale, recorded in his book, ‘My Purpose Holds’, published by Jonathan Cape in 1952. Jerry died in 1985.
Incidentally, Granada T.V. had discussions with Charles Horan regarding a proposed drama series based on the Caminada stories, many of which were located on the actual site of the T.V. studios. Mr Horan agreed to act as an advisor to the programmes but sadly died in June 2009 and - although we understand that the studios have approved several scripts – the series has yet to reach our television screens.
“The Crime Buster”
Published by True Crime Library.
Charles Horan OBE QPM.
Late President of the Caminada Society.
This paperback is attributed to Jerome Caminada obviously because the contents have been directly drawn from his autobiography, ‘Twenty-five years of Detective Life’, Volume I published by John Heywood in 1895 and Volume II by Caminada in 1901.
‘The Crime Buster’ does not of course record all the cases included in Caminada’s autobiography, but it does accurately portray some of his most interesting investigations.
Afficionados of Caminada will still prefer to read the original work and savour the atmosphere of Victorian Manchester, which the transcription fails to convey.
‘The Crime Buster’ however, is an easily digestible introduction to the great Manchester detective and will probably result in readers who have never had access to the original works, making efforts to obtain sight of them.
The Life of Jerome Caminada
1. In the in the early1800’s, Italy consisted of a number of small States. They were constantly warring and poverty was rife. It was this situation that led to the migration of many families into Northern Europe. Francis Caminada of Lombardy was one of such immigrants. It is not known from which route he reached Manchester, although it is thought that he may have visited Ireland. In the event, it is known that in March 1843, he was a cabinet maker married to Mary Boyle living at 33, Peter Street, Manchester opposite the Free Trade Hall. It is known that Louis Caminada, the brother of Francis, was also a shopkeeper in Lees Street, off Great Ancoats Street, Manchester in 1822.
2. Infant mortality was rife in those days and it is not known how many children were born to Francis and Mary Caminada. It is however, known that a son was registered in the name of Ambrose, from that parentage on the 30th March. 1844. The child was born on the 15th March, 1844. There are no other children in that surname registered in that period of time and it appears that between the registration date and the baptism, the name was changed to that of Jerome. Examination of all the available documents and police records, reveal that Ambrose and Jerome are the same person with an identical date of birth.
3. Jerome Caminada was educated at St Mary’s School, Mulberry Street (adjacent to the Town Hall). The family worshipped at St Mary’s Church (the Hidden Gem), still an active place of worship, the Priest of which is presently a Greater Manchester Police Chaplain. It must be appreciated that the vast majority of people at that time, could neither read nor write and that Jerome was one of the fortunate ones. Upon leaving school, Jerome worked in industry at Mather & Platts and was a member of the police reserve, a forerunner of the Special Constabulary.
4. Jerome joined the Manchester Constabulary at the age of 23 in February, 1868. He became a Sergeant 3 years later in the newly formed detective department and was a detective for the whole of his service, retiring as the Detective Superintendent at the then age limit of 55 in 1899. Caminada was awarded an unprecedented pension of £210 per annum. He also received a special Resolution in appreciation of his long, energetic and zealous services. A copy of this document is displayed in the Caminada Annex at the G.M.P. Sports & Social Club, Hough End.
5. The exploits of Caminada are renowned and recorded in two autobiographical volumes published in 1891 under the title, “Twenty-Five Years of Detective Life”. The books received great acclaim amidst competition at that time from the fictional character of Sherlock Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
6. Details of Jerome’s private life are not well documented. It appears that he spent most of his early life as a single man, living in lodgings. The 1881 census shows him living at 4, Oxford Grove, Chorlton-on-Medlock. He was lodging with a 28 year old Scots born Police Constable, Peter Marno and his wife. Caminada, then 37 years, himself married later that year at the nearby church of the Holy Name in Oxford Road. His wife was Amelia Wainhouse and Caminada thereafter lived for some years with his wife and mother-in-law Mary Wainhouse at 22, Eastnor Street, Stretford. It was there that the following children were born :-
1. Louis Caminada Born 24.04.83 Died 08.07.84.
2. Mary Amelia Caminada Born 09.04.85 Died 17.05.85.
3. Charles Caminada Born 04.09.86 Died 25.12.86
7. Even in those days of high infant mortality, the Caminada family suffered greater anguish than most. However, on the 10th December, 1887 another male child was born and given the name Charles Bernard. This son survived and was indeed recorded as being present at the death of Jerome.
8. Jerome lived a further 15 years after his retirement and suffered from diabetes in the last 6 years of his life. He worked in self-employment as an Estate and Enquiry Agent and was also a City Councillor for the Openshaw ward. Jerome died at his home Mount St Bernard, 2 Denmark Road, Moss Side on the 10th March, 1914, just 5 days prior to his 70th birthday.
9. Nevil Francis Caminada was the son of Charles Bernard, born on the 31st March, 1925 at 2, Denmark Road which is now demolished. It was from that address that both Charles Bernard and for a short while Nevil Francis continued a career in estate agency. Nevil then moved to Cleveleys, Blackpool where he died without issue. It was Nevil who presented the Caminada revolver to the G.M.P. Museum, together with other memorabilia. A photograph of this presentation to Charles Horan, appears in The Caminada Story by Mr Horan..
10. Jerome Charles Caminada was a great-nephew of the detective and grandson of Louis (see para 1). Jerome Charles was born in Ladysmith, South Africa on the 18th April, 1911 where he was educated. Jerome Charles who was universally known as ‘Jerry’, spent a lifetime in journalism. He was captured in Belgium in 1940 whilst serving as The Times war correspondent. His subsequent escape through Europe was the subject of his book, “My Purpose Holds”, published by Jonathan Cape in 1952. Jerry Caminada became the Foreign News Editor of The Times. Jerry and his wife met Charles Horan (then A.C.C. Crime) at the G.M.P. Headquarters in 1982. He died on the 13th October 1985 in a London Hospital leaving two children, Charles and Belinda. Copies of a lengthy Times obituary are available to Caminada Society members, together with a copy of an article by Belinda Caminada appearing in The Times (28.9.92) entitled, “In the Footsteps of my Father; Modern Times”.
11. Contact has been made with a number of relatives bearing the surname Caminada, some of whom live abroad. This contact will be maintained. Any further information on the subject will be gratefully received.
Manchester’s Little Italy by Anthony Rea.
The Caminada Story by Charles Horan.
The Times Librarian
Autumn Lunch Caminada
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