Open main menu


OKE, GEORGE COLWELL (1821–1874), legal writer, born at St. Columb Major, Cornwall, on 8 Feb. 1821, was son of William Jane Oke. He commenced life as a solicitor's accountant, but by 1848 was acting as assistant-clerk to the Newmarket bench of justices. In 1855 he became assistant-clerk to the lord mayor of London, and in 1864 succeeded to the chief clerkship. Oke's knowledge of criminal law and of its practical application brought him a high reputation. He died on 9 Jan. 1874 at Rosedale, St. Mary's Road, Peckham, and was buried on the 15th at Nunhead cemetery. He married first Eliza Neile Hawkins (d. 1868), and secondly, on 20 April 1870, Georgiana Percy, stepdaughter of G. M. Harvey, of Upper Norwood.

Oke was author of many standard legal works, including:

  1. 'The Synopsis of Summary Convictions,' 8vo, 1858, better known by the title of its second edition (1849) as ‘Oke's Magisterial Synopsis' (14th edit. by Mr. H. L. Stephen, 1898).
  2. 'An Improved System of Solicitors’ Book-keeping,' 8vo, 1848.
  3. 'Oke's Magisterial Formulist,’ 8vo, 1850; (7th edit. by Mr. H.L. Stephen, 1893).
  4. 'The Laws of Turnpike Roads,' 12mo, 1854 (and 1860).
  5. 'The Friendly Societies’ Manual,' 12mo, 1855; withdrawn from circulation owing to its infringing the copyright of another work.
  6. ‘A Handy Book of the Game and Fishery Laws,' 12mo, 1861 (enlarged editions by J. W. Willis Bund).
  7. 'Justices' Clerks Accounts,' 8vo., 1863.
  8. 'London Police and Magistracy,' 8vo, 1863.
  9. 'Friendly Societies' Accounts,' 12mo, 1864.
  10. ‘The Laws as to Licensing Inns,’ 8vo, 1872 (2nd edit, by W. Cunningham Glen, 1874).

He wrote also 'The Magisterial Laws of London,' which was announced in 1863 to be published by subscription, but it never appeared.

[Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub.; Boase's Collect. Cornub.; Times, 10 and 12 Jan. 1874; Illustr. Lond. News, lxiv. 80 (with portrait); Graphic, ix. 124, 131 (with portrait); Law Times, 17 Jan. 1874, p. 207.]

G. G.