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Today it is certainly used more by the old than by the young, and more in London than elsewhere. Abershaw swore more than ever that he was innocent, and called upon me to swear that I had seen him in the pit of the theatre during the whole of the performance; but I could neither take my affidavit to this fact, nor was Mr.
‘Stipendiary Magistrate’ is the correct title of the legally qualified magistrates in the provinces; it is sometimes abbreviated to the inelegant but affectionate ‘Stipe’, but this word, like ‘Beak’, has now acquired a rather dated sound. Scroggins [a police detective] a bit satisfied, nor would he be until he had the man up to Beak Street Police Court and examined by the magistrate.
But, against this must be placed the fact that, as the name for a watchman or guardian of the peace, BEAK boasts a much older usage.
Sir John Fielding, half brother of the author of , and an active Middlesex Justice in the last century, was popularly known as the 'Blind Beak' [c.
The name stuck, and still sticks, though less firmly than before.1750] ; but beyond this date no instance of this sense has been found.If, therefore, BEAK originally signified a policeman, it is difficult to discover any connection with the Saxon Until very recent years a very common expression to describe appearance before a magistrate, especially in London, was 'Up before the Beak', but the word and phrase now appear to be on their way out.In Soho, 19–21 Great Marlborough Street (off Regent Street and opposite Liberty's) is a J. Butler magistrates' court and police station of 1913, now converted into the Courthouse Hotel (with its own prison cells), and a short walk down Carnaby Street and a left turn into lively Beak Street brings you to a J. It could be possible that the judge or magistrate would be a man of high standing and authority and also a man of intelligence and learning in the community. Henley, 1890), the first example of its later use is in the name of "the Blind Beak," which was given to Henry Fielding's half-brother, Sir John Fielding (about 1750).
This genesis appears to be based on the later and secondary sense of BEAK, a magistrate, a meaning which it still retains.