"no watchman on Princes Street"

A Victorian Policeman, replacers of the Nightwatchmen
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA Victorian Policeman, replacers of the Nightwatchmen - Credit: Antony McCallum
Watchmen existed in Britain since the early thirteenth century and were one of the earliest forms of the country’s police force (after the establishment of a regular police force in the 1800s, the practice died out). On duty usually in cities at night, the watchman was armed with a lantern, drum or rattle and sometimes a truncheon-type weapon, and was responsible for keeping the peace in his neighbourhood.