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Brian Wolfe

Staffordshire Police - a history and items from my collection

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Nick - I wouldn't doubt the plausability of your explanation for a minute - for myself, I always thought it was because the P.C. looked like something from 'toytown' !

There is another version of the Noddy - the 2nd. pattern. A friend of mine at Bethnal Green was unhappy with the height of the helmet and re-designed it to be lower and squatter - but, it still looked like a helmet - perhaps this is the type Simon refers to. Alan Harston submitted the design to CO and it was made standard and he received a cash award. I've lost track over the years, but I think he was a Supt. at retirement.

I do/did have an example - can't remember if I sold it to Ian - or, if it is at the flat. Let me know Ian ?

Edited by Mervyn Mitton

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Which reminds me! The Met' introduced a smaller version of their helmet plate to go on the lower profile Noddy helmets.

And if you're interested here is the Velocette in action.

Pathe newsreel

Edited by NickLangley

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Thought the link was great - the old vehicles always bring back memories. Sad to think that everyone in the footage is now well into their seventies - watch out 'kids' it will happen to you too !

Nick, you obviously have a Police background - let us into your secrets ?

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No, I'm not ex-job, though I've always had an interest in the history of policing. As a youngster I used to collect insignia from English city, county borough and borough forces and I'm thinking of resuming collecting after a thirty year hiatus.

If you enjoyed the previous clip here's an even better one from (IMHO) the finest police force in Britain.

Pathe News

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Nick

Another excellent clip, thanks, would your favourite Force have anythhing to do with where you live?

Love the Chief Constables medal ribbon by the way. :cheers:

Simon

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Nick

Another excellent clip, thanks, would your favourite Force have anythhing to do with where you live?

Love the Chief Constables medal ribbon by the way. :cheers:

Simon

Indeed, I am from Nottingham originally.

It's telling that fifty years after his resignation Captain Popkess still has better name recognition in and around the city than the current Chief Constable.

During his thirty years as city Chief Constable he was responsible for a whole slew of policing firsts and it was said that the Nottingham force was generally five to ten years ahead of any other force in Britain.

Here is a link to a couple more videos about the "famous Captain Popkess".

BBC Nottingham

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Indeed, I am from Nottingham originally.

It's telling that fifty years after his resignation Captain Popkess still has better name recognition in and around the city than the current Chief Constable.

During his thirty years as city Chief Constable he was responsible for a whole slew of policing firsts and it was said that the Nottingham force was generally five to ten years ahead of any other force in Britain.

Here is a link to a couple more videos about the "famous Captain Popkess".

BBC Nottingham

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Nick, an amazing life for a Chief Constable the like of which, I fear British Police forces will not see again.

Nottinghamshire is a very busy force area now, do you have items in your collection relating to the force (or is that service now!) A new thread awaits I hope?

Simon

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I just got this nice little lapel pin in and wamted to show it off. It is 18mm wide and 21mm in height. The pin has the standard spike on the back with the typical "pinch" holder to keep it on the jacket. It is marked JEEVES LTD., WATERLOO, LIVERPOOL on the back. While it is a small item I do like the green enamel work around the Staffordshire knot and the red enamel in the crown.

Thanks for taking a look.

Regards

Brian

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I just got this nice little lapel pin in and wamted to show it off. It is 18mm wide and 21mm in height. The pin has the standard spike on the back with the typical "pinch" holder to keep it on the jacket. It is marked JEEVES LTD., WATERLOO, LIVERPOOL on the back. While it is a small item I do like the green enamel work around the Staffordshire knot and the red enamel in the crown.

Thanks for taking a look.

Regards

Brian

a sweet looking thing you got there

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Hello Everyone,

This is a lapel pin made for the Staffordshire Police Museum which is now closed. The building which housed the museum, I am told, was a Victorian era structure that was sold to be demolished for new development.

The pin measures 18mm wide and 22mm in height. The back is unmarked and has the usual spike and double wing washer grip that is common to modern lapel pins.

It is a shame with Staffordshire being one of the largest shire counties in England with an area of 2,600 sq. km. (1,000 sq. miles) and a population of over 1,000,000 that a permanet musuem location cannot be found to house and display the material that was in the former museum.

I'm happy to have the only unofficial Staffordshire Police Museum here in the colonies, located in New Hamburg, Ontario. Ok, so it's a self-appointed unofficial Staffordshire Police Museum. Admission by appointment only, dependent upon the supply of beer in the fridge. :cheers: All GMIC members are welcome. :beer:

I hope you like the pin, I will be keeping it in the sealed envelope as that was how it would have appeared in the original museum's gift shop (if they had a gift shop).

Regards

Brian

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You're mad Brian - nice pin and good design - but still mad ! However, with the powers vested in me as an OLD Plod, I now declare you the official keeper of the Staffordshire Plod Museum - Ontario Branch..............

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.........It is a shame with Staffordshire being one of the largest shire counties in England with an area of 2,600 sq. km. (1,000 sq. miles) and a population of over 1,000,000 that a permanet musuem location cannot be found to house and display the material that was in the former museum......

Regards

Brian

Cambridgeshire Constabulary had a museum but it moved around a bit from one place to another, a spare room here or there & it closed down some years ago, everythng was put into storage (I saw the guys who ran it shredding loads of old documents at the time).

The exhibits were stored in council facilities - a spare storeroom or office or two I suppose, "the museum" is evicted a little while ago now the council nes the space - rehouse the exhibts or bin them.

Badger updtaed me on this a few months ago, efforts were being made to sort out & catalogue the stuff, I hope it's going well.

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You're mad Brian - nice pin and good design - but still mad ! However, with the powers vested in me as an OLD Plod, I now declare you the official keeper of the Staffordshire Plod Museum - Ontario Branch..............

Mereyvn,

It's an honour to be declared anything but insane (or deceased)! :lol:

I shall endevor to uphold the duties of my appointment. :cheers:

Regards

Brian

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Cambridgeshire Constabulary had a museum but it moved around a bit from one place to another, a spare room here or there & it closed down some years ago, everythng was put into storage (I saw the guys who ran it shredding loads of old documents at the time).

The exhibits were stored in council facilities - a spare storeroom or office or two I suppose, "the museum" is evicted a little while ago now the council nes the space - rehouse the exhibts or bin them.

Badger updtaed me on this a few months ago, efforts were being made to sort out & catalogue the stuff, I hope it's going well.

Hello Leigh,

This is good news indeed. It is a shame to see the history of the constabularies simply banished to some dusty basement only to be forgotten.

Regards

Brian

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Hello Everyone,

I've just got this hat badge in last week and wanted to post it along with the other hat badge and helmet plate I already had in the collection. The badge was made FIRMIN of London and this is stamped on the badge's slide.

A short history first.

Staffordshire County Constabulary and Stoke-on-Trent City Police combined their forces on 1 January 1968 to become the Staffordshire County and Stoke-on-Trent Constabulary.

This force lost areas in 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, to the new West Midlands Police and adopted the shorter name of the Staffordshire Police on 1 April 1974.

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Hello Everyone,

For quite a while now I have been going to write a short history of the Staffordshire Police and feature specimens from my collection. I have finally gotten around to this and here it is.

I started to collect to the Staffordshire Police quite by chance when a fellow collector, Jeff Cowdell, and then serving member of the Staffordshire Police sent me a Staffordshire custodian helmet. Jeff had no idea that he would also kindle an interest in British Police headgear and while I'm not sure my wife has yet forgiven him I have him to thank for an interesting collecting journey. I must also thank (blame) our fellow GMIC members, Mervyn Mitton and Stuart Bates for my addiction.

STAFFORDSHIRE POLICE

The foundations for the Staffordshire Police were laid in October of 1842 when it was decided at the Court of Quarter Sessions at Stafford that a Chief Constable should be appointed for a County Constabulary. This Constabulary was divided into three districts.

1. A mining district in the south of the county which would include the towns of Bilston, Willenhall, West Bromwich, Wednesbury, Smithwick and Handsworth.

The South Staffordshire Constabulary had been formed in 1840 to police the above area but was amalgamated with the new force.

2. A pottery district in the North including the six pottery towns of Tunstall, Burslem, HAnely, Stoke, Fenton and Longton.

3. An area known as the Rural District took the remaining areas of the county.

This excluded the four towns which already had police forces: Stafford, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Walsall and Tamworth.

The first Chief Constable, Mr. John Hayes Hatton, 1842 - 1857, was appointed on 6 December 1842. He was 47 years old and a professional policeman.

The uniform was originally a swallow tail coat and top hat which was replaced in the mid 1860s by a frock coat and kepi for daytime duties. A helmet was worn at night and in wet weather conditions. Other police forces preferred the helmet for all occasions.

In 1894 the Chief Constable of the time, Captain the Honourable George Agustus Anson R.A.,C.B.E., M.V.O., D.L. (appointed in 1888) established the first detective branch for the force. These plain cloths officers were known as Enquiry Officers.

The First World War brought with it a need for manpower to fill the vacancies created by officers leaving the force to enlist in the armed forces. All leave was cancelled for the duration and men were not allowed to retire. The Police Reserve, consisting of men who had recently retired, was called into active duty and the Special Constabulary was formed. The Police Reserve served in a full-time capacity while the "Specials" were a part-time force. The Special Constabulary was maintained after the War to provide support to the regular police officers.

The Second World War again saw a need for replacement officers and the Police Reserve and the Special Constabulary stepped up to fill the void left by the officers enlisting in the armed forces. After WWII the Police Reserve was disbanded, however, the Special Constabulary continued to serve.

The Mounted Branch was established in 1919 under Chief Inspector William Dalkins. The Mounted Branch served until 2000 when it was disbanded. I'll discuss the Mounted Branch in more detail later on in the post after a new item for the collection arrives.

The Motor Transport and Patrol Branch was formed in 1930 under Chief Constable Colonel Sir Herbert Hunter, Kt., C.B., C.B.E., K.P.M. 1929 - 1951. This was followed by the introduction of motor cycles in 1960 for Traffic Patrol. This was either under Chief Constable Colonel George Hern, C.B.E., O.St.J, K.P.M., D.L. 1951 - 1960 or Chief Constable Mr. Stanley Peck, C.B.E., O.St.J.,B.E.M.,Q.P.M.,D.L. 1960 - 1964. More reserch will be required on this point.

The first women police officers in Staffordshire were Lily Broadhead and Gertrude Cowley who were appointed to Stoke-on-Trent Bourough in 1921. Miss Cowley resigned in 1924 but Miss Broadhead continued to serve until 1952 retiring with the rank of Sergeant. It should be noted that women did serve during the Great War (1914 - 1918) but strong opposition kept them from being made a permanent appointment. The counties continued to resist employing Police Women until 1944. Under Chief Constable Mr. Arthur Rees, C.B.E.,K.St.J., Q.P.M., D.L., M.A. 1964 - 1977 the restrictions as to what areas of police service to which women could be employed was lifted in 1976.

The Staffordshire Police as we know it today (formally, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Constabulary) was formed on 1 April 1974 with the amalgamation of:

Stafford County Police

Borough of Newcastle under Lyme Police

City of Lichfield Police

Stoke on Trent City Police

and

The Staffordshire Constabulary.

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Staffordshire Police - Mounted Branch 1919 - 2000

Staffordshire's Mounted Branch was founded in 1919 under Inspector William Dalkins, who would later be promoted to the rank of Chief Inspector. Fifty horses were obtained from the military with 25 stationed at Headquarters and the rest distributed to Divisional Stations around the county. Mounted officers wore the letter "M" pre-fix to their collar numbers and all horses were given names that started with the letter "S". By 1929 the number of horses had been reduced to 22 with West Bromwich being the only Divisional Detachment maintaining a Mounted Branch.

With the increase in vehicular traffic and motorized patrols the Mounted Branch found new uses in crowd control and search and patrol work over large areas of land that was too rough for motorized vehicles. Despite this useful niche the Branch was disbanded in April 2000.

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The Horse Martingale Badge.

A martingale is a term used to describe several different types of tack (equipment and accessories worn by horses) used to control a horse's head. Primarily it prevents the horse from throwing its head so high as to strike the rider in the face.

The martingale badge shown below was used by the Staffordshire County Police - Mounted Branch. These are becoming quite scarce and this one, being mounted on the original leather tack, even more so, in my opinion. I have only seen three styles of these badges used by the Staffordshire Police,

1. Victorian, to the Staffordshire Constabulary, which actually predates the official founding of the Mounted Branch (1919).

2. King's crown to the Staffordshire County Police.

3. Queen's crown also to the Staffordshire COunty Police, which is the one shown here.

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Shown below is a view of the top edge of the leather piece showing where it would have been attached to the harness.

Also show is the custodian's helmet badge which would have been worn by the Mounted P.C.. As you can see they are exactly the same size, only the material used differs, with the horse badge in brass.

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The photo below shows the badge just behind the martingale knot. From this photo you can see that the term "martingale" badge is not very accurate as it is actually affixed to part of the harness.

Stuart Bates has kindly offered the following description of this tack.

"The badge would have been attached to the breastplate which is a "Y" shaped leather piece attaching to the girth and then either side of the saddle. Its purpose was to keep the saddle from slipping backwards as the crupper was to keep the saddle from slipping forward".

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