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Spasm

Truncheons and things that sting a bit

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I had a bit of a walk into town today with the intention of having a look round an exhibition about Bristol's people during WW1.

As i arrived a red carpet was being rolled outside the main entrance, over which I naturally walked asking the workmen how they knew I was coming. I was promptly ejected from the foyer being told that the museum was closed due to the President of Singapore arriving at any time.

I was then swept up by the Police doing a shoulder to shoulder search along the Quay front and ushered into the upper floors of the museum. They obviously didn't know who I was either (phew).

So i was stuck looking round the stuff about Slavery and how Bristol grew from an ant farm into the centre of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's greatest achievements. Civil Engineers all get a bit big for their boots I think especially seeing as he was 4 feet 6 inches tall including his top hat.

Any old end up, I came across this in a case and thought some of you may be interested. I have no idea what or age as i couldn't be bothered to try to read another minuscule info sheet in a trendily moody and very dark museum.

I expect I'll go back soon to see the WW1 stuff and I suppose i could walk back upstairs to check the details.

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I was then swept up by the Police doing a shoulder to shoulder search along the Quay front and ushered into the upper floors of the museum.

And here I thought you were going to see a modern truncheon up close and personal... :whistle:

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Moi? I have a very innocent looking face I'll have you know. I was pretending to look at the steam train just outside, obviously all fired up ready to zoom the Pres out of harms way at a moments notice.

I thought they were US police given the batman belts they had on. One was carrying a mirror on a stick - obviously looking in crevices and such like.

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Thanks for the most interesting photos.

I wonder if the brass "truncheon" with the ball top is actually a tipstaff denoting the persons authority from the Crown.

I hope Mervyn will render his opinion on this.

The use of the mirror by the police in your story makes me wonder if one of these might be handy the next time I visit the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. There is no way, at my age, I can crawl under the displayed equipment to see the under carrige of the tanks and other hidden details on the artillery pieces etc. There was a day when I could, would and did... of course they hadn't even invented tanks back that far. :whistle:

Regards

Brian

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Here he is. Nice bloke.

The big Geezer wasn't so nice though, but he was polite. The silly looking one with the red trousers is George - our new mayor.

Obviously they are wondering why there are large muddy footprints on the carpet.

Brian - I'll have a gander when I go back next week and take my glasses.

Edited by Spasm

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Who did you say the 'idiot' in the red trousers was - the Mayor ! He should be ashamed of himself. Nice Bentley.....

Bristol is famous for two things which made it the rich City it has become. Firstly, it was a centre for the slave trade. The

ships involved sailed - well, a lot of them did - from Bristol to West Africa. Their cargoes of trade goods would then be sold.

Slaves were then put on board and the ship sailed for the West Indies or, the Americas. Slaves were offloaded and general

cargo loaded for return to Bristol and for sale in Britain. The triangular route kept the ships - and their owners - profitable.

The second thing that Bristol made it's reputation on was the manufacture of brass. The tipstaves for the City and the area

around had long brass tops and usually a brass ball . Sometimes it would be an acorn if it was for a harbour master.

Steve, next time you visit the museum I would appreciate a photo of the wording on the brass tipstave and also a few close-ups

of the others. Include the detail tags and then we will have the history. Good visit. Mervyn

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Mervyn - I'll be paying another visit next week. It wasn't very busy when i was there (probably due to my mate, the Pres, visiting), if there's only a couple of people about, I'll have a word with the nice young ladies to see if I can't get the cabinet opened.

Yes, the Mayor is a bit of a carrot. But he's building new cycle paths everywhere so us walkers get regular massive adrenaline rushes and heart exercise whenever a cyclist bombs passed from behind ringing those stupid new ding dong bells. Just wait till I need a walking stick.

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Steve - I should have taken you up on that note you made about you having an "innocent' face................ Comment

if you dare ?

I think any further pictures will be greatly appreciated - I wonder if they hold those lovely maces you showed being

carried in the procession ? Lots of judging ahead of you - I see we are up to 154 entries on the photo comp.. Mervyn

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Mervyn

You are quite right, I'm making no comment on that. I plead the 5th m'lord.

I should be back there this week so expect some more pictures and notes. They don't hold the Mayor's maces there, I believe they are in his chambers and council room when they officially sit discussing cycle routes and slavery. But they will be out again next month on Remembrance Day. I will accost the Bill's armed gang then and get some closer pictures and maybe some details on history etc from the plods themselves.

Photos are looking pretty good again but I'm a bit finiky/phinikey/finikee/finicky fussy as a judge and expect to take some time pouring over them next week. My marking spreadsheet is all ready.

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Mervyn

Went back to have another look at the truncheons etc. The weather wasn't too good, it was raining cats and dogs, so there were quite a few people walking around. When I asked if I could get the truncheons out of the cabinet it looked like I'd asked to kill their first born. I was told that I couldn't take photos of the items just in case they exploded or something! So I tried to get photos of them in the case, the flash didn't help due to the cabinet glass and every snapshot got the staff very excited until I asked them to calm down a bit as the public were getting anxious and moving towards the door and the rain.

The cabinet was obviously about the Bristol Riots and you can just make out the end of an iron rod. Probably from a railing that has an inscription painted in gold lettering - "This bar was wrested from the hand of the first of the Bristol rioters that came to destroy the Bishop's palace".

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They also had one of these. A fire watcher's shelter that were positioned on the roofs over the city.

The rain had stopped as I left with this view over the old docks and the Arnolfini museum (which has some very weird artworks to bemuse yourself over so off I went for a gander, but that's another story).

Edited by Spasm

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So, went for another walk into town today and took a photo of a mural of the Bristol Riots. It's on the Bath Road and shows Queen Square as the Customs House, Bishop's Palace etc were razed.

Edited by Spasm

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Those eagled eyed amongst you may have seen the early 'Banksy' right in the middle. He didn't mind daubing his tag on other's works in those days.

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Here's Queens Square today

You can just make out Customs House on the far side, (right next door to my dentist - eeek)

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Some very interesting pictures Spasm. Unfortunately I can't make out the details on the Brass Tipstave - as you say

Museum authorities can be very unhelpful - mostly a 'jobsworth' complex.

The Bristol Riots were very serious and destructive. The mural is very left wing since it shows underneath that it was an

"uprising" and not a Riot. Interesting to see some of the Buildings - Bristol has always been an important Town. Mervyn

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The brass tipstave has "George Baker" engraved into the brass 'bashy' bit. The note doesn't say constable or special constable so I expect he just weighed in along with Brunel to protect all their slavery money.

My dentist says that the Captain of the cavalry was court marshalled for not ordering his men to open fire on the crowd. I've done no research on this but as his practice is next door to Customs House so I expect he has.

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The local Militias were a litttle nervous of opening fire on Riots after the 1812 Peterloo Massacre in Manchester. To declare a Riot you needed a Magistrate to stand in front of the crowd and read the correct wording which

declared it to be a Riot and a Riotous Assembly. First find your Magistrate - most of them were the first out of the area.

This was why the first two Commissioners of the Metropolitan Police were made magistrates - which continued until

recently.

When it was declared officially a Riot, the consequences were severe - force was allowed to break things-up. Since the

Declaration of Riot made the Government responsible for all damage then most Civic authorities were happy to see a firm

hand. The recent Riots , with attendent damage in London and other areas show that a firm response is still required. Mervyn

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Just in case you meet a passing riot, this is what you have to say:

"Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King!"

(I learned this in the early 1980s when working in a school... it stopped playground fights even if the kids were more puzzled than anything else!)

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Thankyou Megan. The Act was abolished some 40 years ago. I took part in the last major Riot case, this took

place at the Old Bailey. They were trying to destroy the Sth. African Embassy and I was on my way - off duty to post a letter at the 24 hour post office next to St. Martin's in the Fields. As I got caught up with the mob, one of them threw a dustbin through the windows of the Duncannon Arms - adjoining the Embassy. I followed and when we were near Police lines I called 'Police' and pushed him through. He was one of 9 charged - but the number of lawyers involved caused confusion and in the end they were all discharged. Mervyn

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Things have changed since then Mervyn

There's no pigeons left for that Mary Poppin's bird lady and the North side of the square has been closed off to traffic

Edited by Spasm

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Thankyou Megan. The Act was abolished some 40 years ago. I took part in the last major Riot case, this took

place at the Old Bailey. They were trying to destroy the Sth. African Embassy and I was on my way - off duty to post a letter at the 24 hour post office next to St. Martin's in the Fields. As I got caught up with the mob, one of them threw a dustbin through the windows of the Duncannon Arms - adjoining the Embassy. I followed and when we were near Police lines I called 'Police' and pushed him through. He was one of 9 charged - but the number of lawyers involved caused confusion and in the end they were all discharged. Mervyn

Mervyn,

Although the Riot Act itself was repealed in 1967, the offence of "riot" still exists as an offence in the UK. Whilst you probably took part in a "riot" prosecution, it was most certainly not the last. In the summer of 1981 serious rioting took place in Liverpool and in other large mainland UK cities. Prosecutions for riot look place then (I was involved in one such case whilst a Merseyside Police Officer) and have almost certainly taken place since. Don't forget that Northern Ireland was and indeed still is a part of the UK. I don't think I need to elaborate in respect of the rioting which has taken place there and which has resulted, over the years in numerous prosecutions for "riot". Sorry to "split hairs".................

Dave.

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There are no set prices - a lot depends on the details if it has been engraved. You can find bargains in out of the way places -

but a good and historical tipstaff can sell for 1000 pounds ($1600) up-wards. When I did my book we could only find just

over 2000 still in existance - and that included all British Museums. A few more have surfaced over the years, but they are in small

numbers. Should you start collecting , be careful. Many are repainted or repaired. Try to send me a picture first. Mervyn

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