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Brian Wolfe

British Police Headgear (***MODERATORS' RECOMMENDED)

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Nick,

If a film do you think from Quadrophenia? If you could match it to that movie might worth a few quid!

Craig

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Hi Geoff,

My opinions on your queries are:

a) I understand that in the mid 1930's the Home Office in the UK had a policy of trying to standardise police dress within the country. The 'look' they preferred was that worn by the Metropolitan Police in London. Accordingly many forces at this time changed their older 'wreath' style plates to the Mets 'Star' pattern.

b) It is hard to be sure without seeing a picture of your helmet but I believe it could be genuine. In my collection I have a Brighton white helmet with the 'riot' style of chinstrap. From memory (as I don't have it to hand), the chinstrap is made from white leather about 20mm or so wide, attached at the sides and rear of the helmet and with a buckled fastener under the chin. This style of helmet was, I believe, worn by officers riding the low power motorcycle patrols. Some forces used full size helmets with this chinstrap arrangement instead of the 'noddy' style.

Nicks helmet is a fine example of a KC version - these had a slightly higher dome and were 6 panelled. The later QC helmets were 2 panel and weren't quite so high (only a fairly slight difference though).

Hope this helps.

J

Edited by Jamie770

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The motorcycle helmet is a very good suggestion. If the strap is made of a leather-type material rather than nylon webbing then I would say that is almost certainly correct.

A later Brighton helmet is now on eBay.http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1960-S-WHITE-BRIGHTON-POLICE-HELMET-/330725438718?pt=UK_Collectables_Memorabila_RL&hash=item4d00c5b4fe

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Hi Nick,

Thanks for this link - but I'm not sure that's an original Brighton helmet.

It's a six panel QC helmet (which I think is unusual) but to my eyes the inside doesn't look right, especially the lining inside the dome being a seperate piece with cuts in it to allow it to be fitted up inside the shell - very reminiscent of the cork liner in early custodian helmets. The thick green packing behind the sweatband also looks different to any other Brighton white that I've ever handled.

I'm not sure what its history is, but it doesn't look like it dates from the 1960's

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Thanks Nick,

A very good example of the two panel QC helmet for members to compare with your KC

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Gentlemen, believe I have the answer.

Denham's auction house have a white Brighton helmet up for auction. According to the catalogue it has been converted for use on a motor scooter.

http://www.denhams.com/auction-catalogue/antique/541/toys-carpets-memorabilia-militaria/clothing-luggage-baskets/

http://images.denham...1/541lot382.jpg

Edited by NickLangley

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The pattern of helmet with the double chin strap was for the Velocette air cooled m/cycle. Initially introduced

by the Met. in the early 1970's , it was intended to be used as a Beat patrol m/cycle. They did not last long, if

I remember correctly. Where they scored was in being able to offer assistance quickly and also, in delivering

messages.

The Met only used two patterns of helmet - the normal full sized one - with extra sheets of cork glued inside and

a later smaller, squatter version. This was from an idea submitted to Scotland Yard by a friend of mine - he was

awarded a cash sum for the idea. They are very rare. I think Brian had my version of this and perhaps he will post.

I have never seen a white version of this helmet - only the blue. However, a number of Forces adopted the Velocette

and - as we all know - Chief Constables are a law to themselves.

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Mervyn,

I have examples of both the Met helmets you describe.

The full size one has the motorcycle strap (the same as the Brighton helmet except in black leather) and is quite strongly reinforced inside. It has two additional eyelet ventilation holes on the rear of the helmet as well as the normal two on either side.

The 'Noddy' helmet is very interesting, being very different from the normal style.

Regarding the Brighton helmet, it is not so strongly reinforced with only an extra layer of fibre material inside the dome, behind the headband. The leather chinstrap is securely fixed and it also has the two rear additional eyelet ventilation holes.

The helmet is well made and looks like it came from the factory like this, it doesn't look like a local modification.

Nick, that certainly looks like a good helmet at Denhams!

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The pattern of helmet with the double chin strap was for the Velocette air cooled m/cycle. Initially introduced

by the Met. in the early 1970's , it was intended to be used as a Beat patrol m/cycle. They did not last long, if

I remember correctly. Where they scored was in being able to offer assistance quickly and also, in delivering

messages.

The Met only used two patterns of helmet - the normal full sized one - with extra sheets of cork glued inside and

a later smaller, squatter version. This was from an idea submitted to Scotland Yard by a friend of mine - he was

awarded a cash sum for the idea. They are very rare. I think Brian had my version of this and perhaps he will post.

I have never seen a white version of this helmet - only the blue. However, a number of Forces adopted the Velocette

and - as we all know - Chief Constables are a law to themselves.

Hi Mervyn,

If I am the Brian you are talking about then I'm sorry to say that I don't have the squatter version of a Met. helmet. If you find it and wish to sell it please let me know. ;)

I do have an example of the Noddy from the Staffordshire Police and it is shown in entry #4 of this post.

Regards

Brian

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Brian - these days I've lost track of the remaining parts of my collection. Should it be at the Bournemouth flat

then you can have it to go with your Staffs. version. Mervyn

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Hi Mervyn......Have just recently swapped off a Sheffield 'Noddy' helmet which is exactly the same....twin vent holes to the back of the helmet. Would still like to hear from you at some point regarding the hangars. Cheers...........Ross

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Brian - these days I've lost track of the remaining parts of my collection. Should it be at the Bournemouth flat

then you can have it to go with your Staffs. version. Mervyn

Thank you very much Mervyn, you know I'll give it a good home.

Regards

Brian

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Digging around on the t'internet I came across another force that can be added to the list of those that issued straw helmets to its men. Grantham Borough Police. I believe it was the first force in Britain to have sworn female officers.

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Hello Nick,

A nice addition to the thread. I kept saying to myself that I was not going to attempt to add one of these to my collection but every one I see makes me want to...well, we all now the rest of that thought.

Thanks for posting it.

Regards

Brian

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Before we get too far away from the topic of the Noddy I thought I'd post my Staffordshire example that I posted back in post #4 of this topic. The reason to post it again is to show the interior which I did not do earlier.

As can be seen the attachment straps are heavier than the "normal" helmet and behind the strip of light brown cloth is an extra layer of cork. Considering the officers of the day were not attempting to break the sound barrier like the cyclists you encounter on the highways today this double cork was probably fairly effective in countering blunt force trama to the head.

First the exterior.

Regards

Brian

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This photos were too large to post together so here is the interior view.

Regards

Brian

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Hi Geoff,

My opinions on your queries are:

a) I understand that in the mid 1930's the Home Office in the UK had a policy of trying to standardise police dress within the country. The 'look' they preferred was that worn by the Metropolitan Police in London. Accordingly many forces at this time changed their older 'wreath' style plates to the Mets 'Star' pattern.

b) It is hard to be sure without seeing a picture of your helmet but I believe it could be genuine. In my collection I have a Brighton white helmet with the 'riot' style of chinstrap. From memory (as I don't have it to hand), the chinstrap is made from white leather about 20mm or so wide, attached at the sides and rear of the helmet and with a buckled fastener under the chin. This style of helmet was, I believe, worn by officers riding the low power motorcycle patrols. Some forces used full size helmets with this chinstrap arrangement instead of the 'noddy' style.

Nicks helmet is a fine example of a KC version - these had a slightly higher dome and were 6 panelled. The later QC helmets were 2 panel and weren't quite so high (only a fairly slight difference though).

Hope this helps.

J

Hi Jamie,

Many thanks for the input on wreath plates, and the help regarding the status of my white QC Brighton helmet with the "riot strap". Nicks welcome but rather worrying suggestion that it may not be genuine is of concern but I have a good feeling about it myself, it all looks too "right" and in my mind ticked all the correct boxes except for the strap. Thanks Jamie for the motorcycle helmet theory and I would very much like to see some photos of your own riot strap helmet. I am not sure, but will I need to upgrade my membership to allow me to post some photos of the helmet for appraisal by you all?

As for your description of the strap etc it is correct to mine. The strap is exactly 20mm wide, 2 layers of leather thick, white leather/leatherette on the outside & softer tan colored leather on the inner layer, each side mounted at 2 points, side & rear. It has a steel buckle on the L/hand strap, a little rusted now but plated either chrome or zinc originally I would say. There are 7 holes in the R/hand strap to engage the buckle and each hole has a metal reinforcing ring in it which is also white. The helmet itself only has the usual 2 vent holes each side and what looks like an extra "deeper" ring of fibrous hard felt behind the standard leather sweatband. I can see no size or maker marks. The lining of the helmet is green and aged in line with other 50's & 60's helmets in my collection.

Interestingly, on the Website "My Brighton And Hove" there is a photo of the Police Storeman (Bert) from Brighton police stores with stacks of surrendered white helmets in the background after the amalgamation in the late 60's and if you look closely at the stack that Bert is actually holding, the second helmet from the bottom of the stack has what looks to me very much like a portion of the much wider white riot strap showing under the helmet side brim. Check it out.

Many Thanks,

Geoff, Australia.

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This photos were too large to post together so here is the interior view.

Regards

Brian

Hi Brian, my white Brighton helmet mentioned in my post is identical inside to this apart from the fact that the outer layer of strap is white, not black.

Geoff, Australia

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G'day Geoff. Upgrade to be a subscibing member - that will give you the space for posrting pictures.

Where do you ive in Australia - I was brought up in Melbourne and Sydney. Mervyn

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Thanks Jamie for the motorcycle helmet theory and I would very much like to see some photos of your own riot strap helmet.

Hi Geoff,

Your helmet certainly sounds fine - as requested I've attached a couple of pics of mine. Interestingly mine was never issued, so has never been whitened. Internally its never been worn. Apologies for the rather poor quality of the photos, they were quickly taken in the kitchen!

I attach a pic of the rear two vent holes, I wouldn't put any great importance if your doesn't have these, they were possibly a manufacturing variation, perhaps on helmets supplied to the force shortly before the amalgamation, which could explain why this one never saw service.

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I attach here an internal view showing the straps etc

Interestingly, on the Website "My Brighton And Hove" there is a photo of the Police Storeman (Bert) from Brighton police stores with stacks of surrendered white helmets in the background after the amalgamation in the late 60's and if you look closely at the stack that Bert is actually holding, the second helmet from the bottom of the stack has what looks to me very much like a portion of the much wider white riot strap showing under the helmet side brim. Check it out.

That is a good spot! I think you are probably correct - comparing my helmet to the picture, I reckon the sliding keeper which the free end of the fastener goes under can clearly be seen!

Cheers,

Jamie

Edited by Jamie770

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Hi Geoff,

Your helmet certainly sounds fine - as requested I've attached a couple of pics of mine. Interestingly mine was never issued, so has never been whitened. Internally its never been worn. Apologies for the rather poor quality of the photos, they were quickly taken in the kitchen!

I attach a pic of the rear two vent holes, I wouldn't put any great importance if your doesn't have these, they were possibly a manufacturing variation, perhaps on helmets supplied to the force shortly before the amalgamation, which could explain why this one never saw service.

Hi Jamie, thanks so much for the photo's, my mind is at ease! My helmet is essentially identical to yours aside from some subtle variances which could realistically be a result of either a different makers interpretation of the same specification, minor specification changes over time, or both. The differences are:

1. Mine has no rear vent holes.

2. Mine has a slightly narrower fabric band around the outside of it (about 20mm, same as the strap) whereas yours looks to be wider, possibly about 25mm?

3. The string threaded through the leather sweatband on mine is threaded through every 4th hole in the band, yours looks like it is threaded much closer. (If you look at post#142 on this page, Brian Wolfe posted a photo of the interior of his blue Velocette helmet,) my sweatband is 100% identical to that.

4. I can see some sort of stamp or mark on the sweatband of yours, mine has none.

On the subject of Brian's picture, you will also note that his still has all the cork lining right through the shell of the helmet, whereas yours & mine don't although mine has remains of it. Your helmet looks very nice & original Jamie, unfortunately mine has been re-blancoed at some point which partially obscures the "grain" of the fabric. Would it be fair to say then, that we both have a style of Brighton helmet which is even rarer than the already scarce "foot patrol" white helmets? Cheers, will upgrade my membership and post my pic's soon. By the way, I left Brighton as a 16 year old in 1971 and will be going back for the first time this year in October. I am hoping to go to the Police Museum in Brighton in my travels.

Cheers, Geoff.

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Hi Mervyn, I am in Perth WA but have also lived in Sydney for many years, initially North Shore (Artarmon/Chatswood) and later way out west (Narellan).

Cheers

Geoff.

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Hi Jamie, thanks so much for the photo's, my mind is at ease! My helmet is essentially identical to yours aside from some subtle variances which could realistically be a result of either a different makers interpretation of the same specification, minor specification changes over time, or both. The differences are:

1. Mine has no rear vent holes.

2. Mine has a slightly narrower fabric band around the outside of it (about 20mm, same as the strap) whereas yours looks to be wider, possibly about 25mm?

3. The string threaded through the leather sweatband on mine is threaded through every 4th hole in the band, yours looks like it is threaded much closer. (If you look at post#142 on this page, Brian Wolfe posted a photo of the interior of his blue Velocette helmet,) my sweatband is 100% identical to that.

4. I can see some sort of stamp or mark on the sweatband of yours, mine has none.

On the subject of Brian's picture, you will also note that his still has all the cork lining right through the shell of the helmet, whereas yours & mine don't although mine has remains of it. Your helmet looks very nice & original Jamie, unfortunately mine has been re-blancoed at some point which partially obscures the "grain" of the fabric. Would it be fair to say then, that we both have a style of Brighton helmet which is even rarer than the already scarce "foot patrol" white helmets? Cheers, will upgrade my membership and post my pic's soon. By the way, I left Brighton as a 16 year old in 1971 and will be going back for the first time this year in October. I am hoping to go to the Police Museum in Brighton in my travels.

Cheers, Geoff.

Hi Geoff,

I'd agree that the minor differences are likely to be different manufacturers setting the specification slightly differently. The sweatband isn't stamped, its the stick on size label that you're seeing in the photo.

Yes, I'd also agree that we have an unusual variation on the normal style of Brighton white helmet - a good talking point with other collectors as these type of motorcycle helmets aren't very common, even the normal blue cloth versions from other forces.

You'll probably see a lot of changes in Brighton from how you remember it from 1971. I've never been to the Brighton police museum, but I reckon it should be an interesting visit!

Cheers,

Jamie

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