"...and to him the Metropolitan
Police Orphanage owes its origin."
This acknowledgement in The Times obituary to Lt. Col. Sir Edmund Y.W.Henderson, K.C.B., Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis from 1869 to 1886 immortalises his name as founder of the charity we know today as the Metropolitan and City Police Orphans Fund.
Successive generations of London policemen and nearly 14,000 of their orphaned children have good reason to honour and cherish his memory, although the vast majority have probably never heard his name.
On 28th January, 1870 he convened a committee of five Superintendents to consider his memorandum
"...that there should be established a Widows and Orphans Fund and an Orphanage of small size for the benefit of children who have lost both parents."
On grounds of reduced cost an Orphanage gained pride of place. If his particular reasons for laying the foundation of the charity have become obscured by time, as would appear to be the case, perhaps one can safely attribute its origin to his reputed kindness, sympathy and understanding.
After all, he would know the conditions of Service of the 8,800 Constables and Sergeants serving in London in 1870. He would appreciate, too, that if a Constable died from injuries received in the course of duty, his widow received an annuity of £15 plus £2.10s.0d for each child and that in any other case she received a gratuity of £31 and nothing else. Widows pensions and allowances for children as we know them are 51 years away and welfare was practically non-existent.