Mike McLellan

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Everything posted by Mike McLellan

  1. Without the benefit of a cup of coffee, a clear head, or any knowledge whatsoever, I'd have to guess that it is an unofficial representation of "Hermes'" wings. Maybe to commemorate service on the aircraft carrier?
  2. Riviting story of a young man's heroic sacrifice, gleaned from the edge of a quite common medal. Thanks to the Olde family of Cornwall, and thanks to you for sharing the story. The memorial is breath-taking. I've never seen it before.
  3. I'm sure that Mrs. Beevor undoubtedly reminded him, whenever the occasion allowed, that she had told him to slow down!
  4. That's not very encouraging news for a first-time poster. Can you be even more specific?
  5. Can you please elaborate for us non-experts?
  6. I've followed this thread from the start and have enjoyed the journey from beginning to end. Very enlightening and interesting. Thanks. I don't know how eager I would be to wear such a hat into battle, though.
  7. Holy cow!! What a great story to read and see. Thanks for sharing.
  8. May we see them?
  9. Igor, If you have time, please give us some basis for your conclusions. Just a word or two for the sake of rank amateurs / students like myself. Thanks, Mike.
  10. You've given us a valuable lesson in restoration of artifacts bordering on the 'priceless' range. Very informative. Thank you for sharing. Mike.
  11. What great reading! Constable Lodge should have received a medal for finding Christopher's hat under the stolen goods. Pretty convincing evidence, I'd say. Not guilty? That was a bit of a surprise. Sgt. Walsh's misadventure with the little girl, the butter thieves, and the dog hanging on to his trousers would make a great scene. I can almost hear the banjos. Anyway, a great bit of research. Thanks for sharing it. Mike.
  12. All things considered, it is a beautiful and important historical artifact. It is certain to be the center-piece to any collection. Mike
  13. Asking for advice prior to having such a rare artifact restored may have inspired more candid opinions. There are those who feel that any restoration to such a piece would be anathema to its integrity. It would be similar to re-blueing an antique gun or repainting an old faded truncheon. Feelings on either side of the argument would be passionate and both sides would have some merit. Asking for opinions after the work is done may stifle the argument. It would, after all, be a moot point, and, being gentlemen, we might be inclined to keep our opinions to ourselves. Cheers, Mike.
  14. I recently obtained a Parker, Field tipstaff at auction. I'll try to add pictures. It's (I think) silver-plated brass bearing the badge of Newcastle. The silver is almost completely worn, as is the gilding of the crown. The ivory (?) hand grip has a hair-line crack running its entire length. The tipstaff is engraved to T. WILSON, and the makers name and address is roll-marked in small print. I don't collect tipstaves, as such, but picked it up as "trading stock" for things that I'm interested in, namely, items of the Metropolitan Police. If anyone has any information or opinions that they would like to share, I'd be a grateful student. Also, if anyone has something from the Met, of comparable value, please keep in in mind. There is a Newcastle tipstaff in Mevyn's book that somewhat resembles mine. Thanks, Mike McLellan
  15. Thanks. I did consider Dublin, but I also felt that the castles were wrong (no flames), and the crown suggested the mainland. Mike.
  16. I know that you're not looking for "atta boys", but you get one none the less. Very commendable.
  17. Update! Well, as much of an update as I've been able to uncover, which isn't very much. Professor Google was able to provide a hint here and a hint there, but placing an artifact in the hands of an actual person is very difficult indeed. Presuming that this tipstaff was used between 1842 and 1877, based on the maker's mark, and searching for a T WILSON who was active in political circles around that time, produced only two possibilities. One was a Thomas Wilson who was a leader of sorts within the clergy. As he was active mainly in and about London, I ruled him out as a likely candidate. The only other possibility that the internet was willing to offer up was another Thomas Wilson. This one seemed promising, but with some serious reservations. Thomas Wilson (1773-1858) was born in Gateshead (actually Low Fell). He worked in the collieries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne as a child and was a serious student in Sunday School, which was the only institution for higher learning available to most working people. He landed a job in a counting house, and soon became a partner in the firm Losh, Wilson, & Bell, which was also located in Newcastlle. He was also a noted poet. In 1835, he was elected to serve as one of the Common Council members in Gateshead where he lived, across the River Tyne from his place of business. In addition he was also appointed to the post of Alderman, a post in which he served for eighteen years. He surely was entitled to display a tipstaff, and being a man of some wealth, he would have had the means to have a 'better than average' tipstaff. The problem I have in declaring a "match" is that the tipstaff bears the arms of Newcastle rather that those of Gateshead , as one might expect. Why? When I asked the folks at the Gateshead Heritage Group what they thought, I was told that my tipstaff had nothing whatever to do with the poet Thomas Wilson, because of the Newcastle Arms. I thought, at the time, that maybe their conclusion was swayed just a little by some friendly civic rivalry. The Tyne and Wear museum, for a small fee, conducts research on historical persons, etc, and after some digging, they weren't able to produce any other alternative theory. They did search the minutes of the Newcastle Council meetings of the time period and were not able to find any other T WILSON. A request for help from the Northumbria Police was not answered. Presumably, and understandably, they haven't the time or resources to investigate such a 'cold case'. Back to the Arms. Perhaps Mr. Wilson felt that the Newcastle arms appeared more regal than that of Gateshead, which at the time displayed the severed head of a goat. After reading about this man and enjoying his poetry, much of it in the Geordie Dialect, I have a feeling that he wouldn't have cared about appearances, regal or otherwise. On the title page in his book of poems, is a picture of the seal of the city of Gateshead, (an identical image is in the British Museum) showing a castle with three doors. As the Newcastle arms shows three castles with one door, maybe a mix-up in the initial order to Parker, Field & Sons, was to blame. Maybe we'll just never know. If there's a resource that I might try to take advantage of, please let me know. There is another alternative, but it's a long shot. During the Big-Band era of the 1930s, Benny Goodman aka "The King of Swing" had a terrific piano player named Teddy Wilson. You don't suppose…. Nah… Cheers, Mike.
  18. I see, after re-reading this post, that a fairly lengthy paragraph disappeared. The call to arms was in response to the unpleasantness at Clerkenwell Prison, resulting in a dozen deaths and many dozens of injuries. Thousands of Specials were recruited to bolster security at the prisons, the Central Criminal Courts, and the City of London in general. Like the disturbance twenty years prior, the Fenian riots illustrated how crucial the Special Constabulary is in a time of turmoil.
  19. I'm resurrecting this thread, rather than begin a new one, because I miss, very much, the debates that Mervyn inspired on a myriad range of topics, and the valuable information he patiently bequeathed to the rest of us. I have, in my collection, a truncheon quite similar to the one that he displayed above. They share some of the same elements, but I have reached a somewhat different conclusion about mine. There is no maker's stamp and it clearly is a one-off created by a fairly skillful artisan commemorating a gentleman's participation an a Special Constable, as well as, what I believe was, an earlier career as a Policeman with the Metropolitan Police. Thousands responded to provided much needed security for the prison system, the criminal courts, and the City of London in general. I've seen quite a few truncheons commemorating the events of 1868, but this one (and Mervyn's) are especially cool. Along with the London Arms and the Royal Coat of Arms with the garter, they both have a Shield displaying a Portcullis, which in addition to being a symbol of the Houses of Parliament as Mervyn pointed out, is also a symbol of the City of Westminster. Before the Metropolitan Police was formally granted its own coat of arms, it routinely used the Portcullis of Westminster argent on azure bound with a double Tressure flory and crested with a sheaf of 3 arrows (from the Peel family arms) and riband (See cup & saucer liberated from the Hendon mess hall). The Portcullis is bordered by M P which I feel confident represents the Metropolitan Police. The inclusion of the London Arms amidst an S C strongly suggests that the owner, after a career as a copper in the Met, answered the call for Specials to, once again, do his duty, and perhaps give one of those rapscallions from the Emerald Isle a good drubbing, should the need arise! As always, alternative hypotheses are more than welcome. After almost 50 years of unholy matrimony, I've become accustomed to being "proven" wrong. Cheers, Mike. By the way, it's -33F outside at the moment.
  20. A fake is meant to deceive someone in terms of value, age, or historical significance. Your badge is a skillfully made, probably private-purchase, device meant to adorn an officers hat. Whether it, or a companion piece, was ever worn on duty is anybody's guess. But, it is not a fake. Beautiful badge. My two cents worth.
  21. Very nice, and much, much more scarce than those of the "other" London agency.
  22. Yes, he would have liked it. He could be counted on to add an informative anecdote or two, as well. It's been a full year since he left.
  23. The knowledgeable folks had to leave. I'm the only one here, and my vote is: "Gordian Knot". The knowledgesble folks should be back today sometime!
  24. Nice. It resembles the South African helmet plates displayed by our late friend, Mervyn Mitton, in a thread I started a while ago. Very nice.
  25. Use the Search button at the top of the page. That should direct you to posts that might be of interest. Bye the way, welcome aboard. How about showing us what kinds of things that you've collected so far? You can start your own thread or hop aboard one that piques your intrrest. Mike.