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Brian Wolfe

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I understand the early Met helmets have not survived the ravages of time but does anyone have one of the first pattern helmet plates (pre-Brunswick star), did they bear letters and numbers as per the later helmets?

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Thanks Dave, how long was the additional R in use for? Was it be worn on the collar too?

The letter "R" together with the divisional letter/number was worn on the tunic collar and on the helmet plates. The designation on helmet plates continued until approx. 1935/6. At that time a slightly re-designed helmet plate was introduced featuring the GvR cipher in place of the letters/numbers.

Dave.

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TERM "CUSTODIAN"

I know this point has been touched on earlier in this, and at least one other thread. Can anyone definitively state when the term Custodian was first used, and exactly where it came from? As far as I can make out, it was one of several proprietary names, that are probably not more than 40 years old, including, Custodian, Guardian, Centurion, and possibly others. Somehow, it seems to have turned into the semi official name within the service, and has become retrospectively applied to any police helmet of a similar design, including early British, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian helmets that never had this name applied in real life. Wikipedia even includes Italian helmets and other white (cork/pith) helmets that are actually based on old British and French military designs, that are certainly not derived from the 'custodian'. I don't think much of Wikipedia as a source, but a quick search of the net suggests pretty much any journalist discussing police helmets has been to that page, so it can't be ignored.

Any thoughts?

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TERM "CUSTODIAN"

I know this point has been touched on earlier in this, and at least one other thread. Can anyone definitively state when the term Custodian was first used, and exactly where it came from? As far as I can make out, it was one of several proprietary names, that are probably not more than 40 years old, including, Custodian, Guardian, Centurion, and possibly others. Somehow, it seems to have turned into the semi official name within the service, and has become retrospectively applied to any police helmet of a similar design, including early British, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian helmets that never had this name applied in real life. Wikipedia even includes Italian helmets and other white (cork/pith) helmets that are actually based on old British and French military designs, that are certainly not derived from the 'custodian'. I don't think much of Wikipedia as a source, but a quick search of the net suggests pretty much any journalist discussing police helmets has been to that page, so it can't be ignored.

Any thoughts?

The term "Custodian" is a trade marked name used by C.W. Headdress Ltd. I agree that it appears to have been adopted by many individuals to describe a police helmet irrespective of its age. However, that in my view is quite wrong. The Wikipedia page which talks about police helmets is incorrect in a number of respects, this being one of them. Re-enforced "public order" police helmets began to appear in the late 1970's but I think that C.W. Headdress began using that name in the 1980's. With regard to the term being used by the police service generally, I think that is understandable in that most if not all helmets currently being worn are the re-enforced "plastic" type the majority being made by C.W. Headdress who appear to have the market share of supplying forces.

Dave.

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Thought that members may like to see a rare and not often seen early helmet of the Irish Garda Siochana............Ross Matherpost-6668-0-60964300-1331590341.jpg

The acanthus fitting under the ball is unusual as it does not show up very often on police helmets (although in a previous post it is mentioned in an old police helmet catalog under country cork  helmet), I have been searching for years for this very fitting (unsuccessfully I might add !!), and have found a version on a picture of a royal marines pith helmet.....heres a photo of the DMP/ Garda ball top fitting by itself, followed by the military acanthus fitting...they are very similar , but not the same.

IMG_1445.jpg

1 (2).JPG

RoyalMarineHelm.jpg

 

Edited by Dublin Peeler
misquote

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Ross Mather.....finally located one of these ball top fittings.......but I now found out a chrome finish version exsisted on another helmet in Great Britain......where I have yet to find out...have you ever heard or seen such a helmet ?

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Thought that members may like to see a rare and not often seen early helmet of the Irish Garda Siochana............Ross Matherpost-6668-0-60964300-1331590341.jpg

That helmet is incorrect! It is a "Second Issue" later '6 panel' helmet which was imported from England in the early 1940's and issued to Cork & Dublin Gardaí. They originally just had a rose top finial and An Garda Síochána Day Helmet Plate. The original old "First Issue" Garda helmets in 1922 were only 4 panel helmets and were made in Dublin by John Ireland & Son, Ellis Quay Dublin 6. Those 4 panel cork material bell shaped helmets are the only helmets that had those silver ball top finials, silver shamrock boss side fixings and silver chainlink chinstraps. That helmet was more than likely mocked up as an original by a Dublin Theatre company in the 1950's and 1960's. See attached a genuine old 'First Issue' Garda Day plated 4 panel helmet.

Garda helmet..jpg

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Great post Kilkenny, And when you take a closer look at #1 it doesn't look quite "right".

But I do have to tip my hat (helmet?) to the props manager who went to such trouble to be that accurate. We can all think of some of the more egregious mistakes modern tv/film designers make when it comes to historical accuracy.

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I think you will find that John Ireland & Son of Dublin were retailers rather than manufacturers. It is important to bear this in mind when finding their name on an item of equipment or item of uniform. The first issue helmets (and the plates) were almost certainly made in England for John Ireland and retailed to the Irish Government bearing the name of the retailer as opposed to the manufacturer. This was (and often still is) the case with orders being sub contracted out by one company to another but with the retailers name appearing as opposed to the actual maker.

Dave.

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Dave, true to an extent. Items were imported to Ireland from England and were often stamped with the retailers name. Still done to this day.

 

Not all early & later Garda uniform items were made in Ireland or indeed by John Ireland & Son, Ellis Quay, Dublin. However, records do indicate that he was a tailor and a clothing manufacture! John Ireland did make handmade uniform items - tailored officers suits, caps, hats, belts, helmets, etc. in his shop and later factories {Listing: Ireland, Jno. & Son, army clothiers, cap and accoutrement makers 11, Rathmines Road, Dublin. Listing: Ireland, John, esq. Mer Vue, Booterstown, Dublin}. John Ireland was the premier supplier of police uniforms in the 19th century in Ireland. He did also import helmets that were made in England. Early 4 panel Garda helmets I am near certain were made by, issued & stamped John Ireland & Son (interior). I know for a fact the later 6 panel Garda helmets (1940's) were supplied by Hobson & Sons Ltd., London and were issued with a Hobson & Sons stamps on the interior. Prior to An Garda Síochána (1922/23), the Royal Irish Constabulary (R.I.C.) & Dublin Metropolitan Police (D.M.P.) helmets were imported from Hobson & Sons Ltd., London (issued & stamped Hobson & Sons Ltd. on the interior).

 

When Ireland became Independent  - 'The Irish Free State' in 1922 there was an emphasis on or even an expectation of having all things (uniforms etc.) made/labelled as Irish or at least manufuctured in Ireland where possible. Kind of…nolonger a future need to rely on the 'Crown' for a lot goods and services being imported into Ireland. Why there was a boom in Irish handmade and handcrafted goods from the 1920’s onwards in Ireland. However, inevitably it was not always possible to have everything produced in Ireland as not all the necessary goods and services manufacturing facilities exsisted in Ireland - i.e gun, munitions & steel helmet manufacturing, Military & Police vehicle manufacturing etc.

 

The early Garda Day Plate, Night Plate and Cap badges were more than likely made by the J. & M. Co. - The Jewel and Metal Manufacturing Company of Ireland, 17 Wood Street Dublin 8, which was established & owned by a Jewish family, the Segal family. They also manufacturered the early Irish Defence Forces/Irish Army cap badges, belt buckles and buttons etc. under government contract. Later Garda helmet plates and cap badges were manufactured in and imported from England. Possibly by Gaunt.

 

Early Garda 'The Metropolitan' whistles were made in Birmingham by John Hudson & Co. 244 Barr Street. All early Garda buttons were stamped John Ireland and Son. From the 1940's onwards most Garda metal uniform accoutrement pieces (cap badges, helmet plates and collar badges, buckles & buttons etc.) were made in and imported from England. This was due to cost as it was deemed too expensive to manufacture large numbers of uniform & accoutrement pieces in Ireland. Garda buttons were then made by Firmin (Firmin & Sons) London, Buttons Ltd., Birmingham & Gaunt (J.R. Gaunt & Sons) of London over various time periods from the 1930's & 1940's onwards. And still to this day. Until 2010 all Garda caps were handmade in Ireland by MizenHead Ltd., County Cork and previously they were made by Dermot Meade & Co. 14 Aughrim Street Dublin under the Capucius Ltd., brand and later by Mary Meade, Howth Road, Dublin under the Carnacille brand.

Most current Garda uniform items (peak caps, shirts, pants etc.) have been subcontracted out by the J.B.S Group County Monaghan, in 2010 who got the government's uniform supplier contract for An Garda Síochána, Irish Defence Forces & Irish Prison Service and are currently manufactured in Pakistan & Inida (made in Pakistan by Uniform Accessories & Anwar & Sons.), brought back here (and also to England) and labelled for the Irish (or U.K) market with an Irish or indeed even an English company's brand label. I.e. current Garda uniform items are supplied by Hunter Apparel Solutions, Headquarters in Derry City – uniforms are labelled Hunter Apparel & Churchill Workwear brands. Jeeves of Liverpool make current WCH wallet holder badges and Wyedean Weaving Co., U.K make current belts and crested buckles.

See J. & M. Co. badge attached.

 

 

 

Vickers badge rear..jpg

Edited by Kilkenny2015

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Thank you for this very informative review of manufacturers in respect of the Irish Government etc. If I could just comment on your final paragraph. Jeeves Ltd. of Waterloo, Liverpool do indeed supply warrant card holders/badges for a large number of police forces in the UK and other countries. However, the manufacture of the actual badges is sub-contracted to a company in Birmingham. Jeeves do the leather work and any embossing and fit the metal badges on their premises before packing and sending to the purchasing organisation. The same with Wyedean Weaving. They don't manufacture metalwork themselves but sub contract. The metalwork is delivered to Wyedean who complete the product on their premises and then send to the force.

Best wishes,

Dave.

Edited by Dave Wilkinson

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