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ayedeeyew

1943 Lancashire Police tunic restoration

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Posted (edited)

Back in March, I acquired a virtually mint unused pairing of a 1943 dated Lancashire Police 7-button jacket and 1938 dated riding breeches from Ebay for the grand sum of £39 (including UK P+P). When I inquired about the provenance, I was told the following story: "Morning. I'm glad you're happy with them. The uniform was found in a milk churn along with another pair of breeches which I'm listing shortly. I asked my partners mother who is 88 who told me several stories. At hay-making time some police used to work on the side for a few extra pounds and extra large ham sandwiches and tea with whisky in it. Also because the police headquarters is at the back of us some police used to pop in for a nightcap. If it was snowing they would be hemmed in and sometimes items of clothing would be left behind. The other pair of breeches where a policeman who had dropped them whilst riding his bike. The mother in law couldn't see who was riding to return them to the owner so kept them until the rightful owner was found but he never was lol." Not sure quite how much of that is true, but I have no reason to believe it was made up to enhance the value! Since then I have been gradually acquiring the bits needed to restore the tunic to its former glory and was able to start work on Saturday evening. These are the results...

Below - jacket as received. Only the two epaulette buttons and one of the chest pocket buttons remained. Those three remaining buttons were all a matched trio of Lancashire Constabulary KC chrome buttons. I actually bought this tunic to use for WW2 Police kit, but have since decided not to - curiously, though clearly at least lightly used/worn it has never had either the collar or epaulettes pierced for insignia:

1 - Front.jpg

2 - Back.jpg

Button detail.jpg

Collar.jpg

 

 

And the breeches:

s-l1600[2].jpg

s-l1600[4].jpg

After three and a half months, I finally had put together a set of buttons that would do the tunic justice. The smaller is a perfect match in every respect to the original three, the larger comprise a perfectly matched set of 5 that came from South Africa, a perfectly matched example to those that came from the UK, and another that only the most OCD would spot is not a perfect match to the rest!

Buttons_edited.jpg

And after - now looking much as it would have done back in 1943:

Front_after.jpg

There was one more job to be done - one of the few signs of wear/use was a seam split under the right arm that appears to have been somewhat crudely repaired in the past (possibly the real reason the jacket had been left at the farm?):

1_-_Underarm_damage_before.jpg

And after a little work with the needle and thread:

2_-_Underarm_damage_after.jpg

 

 

And the rest of the spares (!) acquired in the process of getting the set of buttons up to a standard I was happy with:

Spares.jpg

Edited by ayedeeyew

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Great job with the tunic. Stories like the ones outlining the provenance generally don’t appear out of thin air. An element of truth is quite often woven into the fabric of the tale. I’m trying, though, to reconstruct the scenario whereby the constable rides (or runs) off without his trousers. Sounds like a job for CID. 

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