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This interesting British Police Helmet probably belonged to the head Constable of Birmingham ( a large UK city) in the 1870's. Prior to that the police wore tophats, but in the 1860's Germany was the pre-dominant army and we copied their uniforms for our military - with the police in turn using the same pattern. Our present helmets are a direct descendent of the German helmet.

The spike on the helmet is unusual - the army used it for Infantry officers - but in those days a head constable was often made from retired army officers and this style was obviously a one-off choice. What is rare is that all the fittings (or, furniture) are made from silver. Most people will know that the chain around the helmet is the ceremonial way of wearing the chin strap.

I will put an original top hat on if it is of interest?

Mervyn Mitton

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Hello Mervyn,

That is a fantastic police helmet. I have a very small collection of police items, mostly Staffordshire. My only helmet is from there as well, thanks to a serving police officer and fellow collector.

I'm only one member but I would be interested in seeing more of your collection of UK Police memorabilia. The items in the background of your photo have also peaked my interest.

Please post more!

Regards

Brian

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Dear Brian

These old helmets just don't seem to be around any more - even the silver badge is worth a great deal. Since I am slowly disposing of my collection this helmet was in our shop - the medals that have shown-up are part of the back wall which is covered with them -so, they are not really part of my personal collection. I will put an exceptional Supt.'s 1900 cap on tomorrow.

Mervyn

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Hi Mervyn,

Thanks for the post. I have branched out to the early South African police forces and have collected a few items of headdress, badges, medals etc. Can you post something in that line as well?

My trip home has been postponed for a few days as I first have to go on a recce to another country.

Regards,

Will

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Hi Mervyn,

That is a fabulous helmet - thanks for posting the picture.

I will attach a couple of pictures of other forces senior officers helmets from my collection, the first being Newcastle and the second being Edinburgh City.

Neither are as old as your Victorian Birmingham Police but I reckon they date from around 1920 - 1930ish.

I'd welcome any comments or information anybody might have.

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As per my last post, I attach a picture of the Edinburgh City senior officers ceremonial helmet.

Unusually the fittings are all gilded whereas the standard rank and file officers ceremonial helmets had white metal fittings. Tom Archibald's book on the history of Lothian & Borders Police has pictures of senior officers wearing what appears to be this style of helmet albeit that they are in the background of the photograph and the detail of the helmet is not totally clear.

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Interesting that some helmets have the front peak trimmed in metal, as per the army officers version of the universal helmet. & that the peaks don't conform to the army's use of pointed peaks for OR's & rounded peaks for officers, some police senior officers having round, some pointed.

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Dear Jamie - you have a great collection - the condition of the ones you have shown are exceptional. Hard to say exactly for dates, however your Newcastle is prob. George V and therefore, could be as early as 1910. Edward crowns are often more angular. The Edinburgh one has a superb silver gilt plate - worth a fortune in itself.Do you have other police material ,or, have you specialised in headgear. Look forward to seeing other posts.

Mervyn

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