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I recently acquired the following Police jacket:

http://postimg.org/image/553sfvwfh/

il_570x_N_433271375_14k8.jpg

http://postimg.org/image/52op54ey3/

il_570x_N_433272199_9b5v.jpg

It's an original of the 5-button pattern adopted in 1897 by the Metropolitan Police (to replace the older 1864 pattern tunic for normal day and summer use, and itself replaced by the newer 7-button version in 1934). I have been after one for a while now, so I was very pleased to find this one for sale in Canada (although not so pleased to have been done by Customs who treated it as a modern piece of clothing and charged accordingly before I was able to get it!).

It's been particularly useful to me in showing the details of its construction as I am working on getting some sort of copy done in my size for living history purposes, and it even has what appears to be a very well executed period modification to the left breast pocket so that it now has a large bag pocket on the interior accessed through a slit made under the pocket flap.

It's had a hard life, and will require some restoration before I do anything more with it. But I now have something of a dilemma as to how I should rebadge it.

It is ex-Warner Brothers Costume Department marked. The seller thought it was probably used originally by a WW1 Special Constable, as it has black gartered KC Met Police buttons up the front which are correct for the period, and generic black crown buttons to the pockets. However, now I have it in hand the Met buttons are clearly pot-metal copies (but very well made) painted black, and whilst the chest pocket buttons are originals the stitching says they are not original to the jacket. It displays clear evidence of having had a set of Long Service Good Conduct stripes very thoroughly and neatly applied to the lower left sleeve at some point. Immediately above this are two holes about 15mm and clear evidence of having had a badge mounted there for some considerable time. Either side of the collar are three pairs of vertical holes. There is no evidence the jacket ever had loops for a Duty Armlet on the lower left sleeve, but what looks to be wear from an armlet possibly being worn around the upper left sleeve instead.

Apart from the buttons, which have certainly been changed in the past, I believe the jacket has otherwise NOT been messed about with by Warner Bros, and that the stitching marks, holes in the collar and sleeve, and chest pocket modification are as a result of its original Police service.

I had originally planned to redo this as a Regular Met PC of the WW1 period. But to my mind the two holes in the sleeve would match the 1918 issue of the 1914 Special Constables star very nicely. The LSGC stripes would fit someone with a bit of time behind him as well.

If this was originally a Specials jacket, how would it have been badged? Are there potentially any clues I missed. At the moment I'm thinking of using correct/original pressed horn gartered KC Met buttons, Met SC star on the left sleeve, and a set of stripes on the left sleeve. But what pattern would the stripes have been? Pictures of them in use seem rare. I'm thinking white tape on dark blue backing. And how would the collar have been badged? There's no evidence of a single "full-stop" hole, so it seems like either three numbers, or some other combination of badges or letters on their own. Help!

Edited by ayedeeyew
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Hi - Ayedeeyew - you don't ask easy questions do you .......

From your description it would seem to be a Special's tunic - and you have the essential badges to set it up. Would Specials

stripes be any different to the standard Met. pattern ? Hopefully one of our members will be able to assist - have you looked

through Brian's excellent post on Specials ? (pinned at top) Mervyn

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Hi - Ayedeeyew - you don't ask easy questions do you .......

From your description it would seem to be a Special's tunic - and you have the essential badges to set it up. Would Specials

stripes be any different to the standard Met. pattern ? Hopefully one of our members will be able to assist - have you looked

through Brian's excellent post on Specials ? (pinned at top) Mervyn

I have read the thread through several times, and the recurring problem I find is there almost universally seems to be a large jump in pictorial evidence of how things were done in the Met Specials between the early WW1 war period (usually just civvies with Duty Armlet, whistle, truncheon and lapel badge or cap badge) to the early post-war/WW2 period, with evidence from the late WW1 period where they were increasingly being uniformed much closer to Regular standards being almost non-existent which is very frustrating.

The subject of stripes is also confusing to me, since period photos of them being worn as rank or otherwise in the Met or other forces seem to show different sorts at different times. The example below is a late 19th century photo, and appears to show the narrow braid sort:

http://postimg.org/image/7mzrbuatf/

Metropolitan_Police_c_1890_s.jpg

Later photos occasionally show very chunky white on dark backed stripes:

Others such as:

http://postimg.org/image/81jgueog3/

Metropolitan_Police_group_c_1910.jpg

and:

http://postimg.org/image/wjg5w1geb/

Metrpoloitan_Police_greatcoat_rank_strip

Called away will sort the gaps out in a bit.

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Won't seem to let me edit the post again now, so this is what I was in the process of saying:

Others such as:

http://postimg.org/image/81jgueog3/

Metropolitan_Police_group_c_1910.jpg

and:

http://postimg.org/image/wjg5w1geb/

Metrpoloitan_Police_greatcoat_rank_strip

Show thick dark stripes on a light backing, and on reflection given the first picture shows this type in use on the 1897 pattern jacket it is more likely this is the type I need to acquire. The first also shows another sort of badge worn on the left forearm by several members, although in this case it looks rather bigger than would match the holes on my jacket.

Later photos occasionally show very chunky white on dark backed stripes:

http://postimg.org/image/6pdprvwql/

Special_WW2.jpg

At least one advantage of me restoring it as a Specials jacket is the fact I already own a nice original peaked cap which I picked up for very little money on Ebay. Now does anyone know if a slidered version of the bronzed Met Specials badge exists...?

Edited by ayedeeyew
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The question of Metpol. SC uniform is complicated as you have discovered. The last photo you post shows a Newcastle-upon-Tyne police officer. I'm not quite sure why you have shown this but I think you should ignore the style and badges etc on his uniform for obvious reasons. Your original post says that you were charged duty (presumably VAT) on the item when it arrived in the UK. I suggest you lodge an appeal. It should not be difficult to prove that the jacket is over 100 years old and as such it is exempt from such duty. That said, you will still have to pay the Royal Mail "handling" fee. It is always wise to try to explain to sellers (who are abroad) that they should correctly complete the customs dec. stating clearly that the item is antique and is British made being returned to the UK (where appropriate). Best of luck in getting to the bottom of your mystery. As an aside, I have a large number of Metpol. SC cap badges of different styles and periods but have never seen an example of the version you are referring to with a slider fitting.

Dave.

Edited by Dave Wilkinson
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I have read the thread through several times, and the recurring problem I find is there almost universally seems to be a large jump in pictorial evidence of how things were done in the Met Specials between the early WW1 war period (usually just civvies with Duty Armlet, whistle, truncheon and lapel badge or cap badge) to the early post-war/WW2 period, with evidence from the late WW1 period where they were increasingly being uniformed much closer to Regular standards being almost non-existent which is very frustrating.

The subject of stripes is also confusing to me, since period photos of them being worn as rank or otherwise in the Met or other forces seem to show different sorts at different times. The example below is a late 19th century photo, and appears to show the narrow braid sort:

http://postimg.org/image/7mzrbuatf/

Metropolitan_Police_c_1890_s.jpg

Later photos occasionally show very chunky white on dark backed stripes:

Others such as:

http://postimg.org/image/81jgueog3/

Metropolitan_Police_group_c_1910.jpg

and:

http://postimg.org/image/wjg5w1geb/

Metrpoloitan_Police_greatcoat_rank_strip

Called away will sort the gaps out in a bit.

The second photo down shows members of the Hertfordshire Constabulary. Again, of no relevance to the issue being discussed. As far as I'm aware the Met. always wore "thin" Russia braid stripes (as still worn today) on tunics. On overcoats (final photo shown) the stripes were as shown (black worsted on a white felt backing).

Dave.

Edited by Dave Wilkinson
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The question of Metpol. SC uniform is complicated as you have discovered. The last photo you post shows a Newcastle-upon-Tyne police officer. I'm not quite sure why you have shown this but I think you should ignore the style and badges etc on his uniform for obvious reasons. Your original post says that you were charged duty (presumably VAT) on the item when it arrived in the UK. I suggest you lodge an appeal. It should not be difficult to prove that the jacket is over 100 years old and as such it is exempt from such duty. That said, you will still have to pay the Royal Mail "handling" fee. It is always wise to try to explain to sellers (who are abroad) that they should correctly complete the customs dec. stating clearly that the item is antique and is British made being returned to the UK (where appropriate). Best of luck in getting to the bottom of your mystery. As an aside, I have a large number of Metpol. SC cap badges of different styles and periods but have never seen an example of the version you are referring to with a slider fitting.

...

The second photo down shows members of the Hertfordshire Constabulary. Again, of no relevance to the issue being discussed.

On the jacket front, I lodged an appeal with Customs within 48 hours of picking up the jacket several weeks ago. I decided to pay the VAT they had calculated and attempt to claim most of it back afterwards, rather than risk them sending it back to Canada in the meantime for the outstanding amount not being paid in the 21 days allowed which would have been a distinct possibility had I asked them to recalculate the amount due instead. Earlier in the year I had a package go missing, and it took about two months from start to finish for the Royal Mail to decide I was due the giddy heights of the £16 compensation I was claiming. I am lead to understand that compared to Customs this is speedy service, so I will not be holding my breath on it being a speedy resolution.

On the badge front, I merely asked as the original cap I have came with its original white metal Hull Special Constabulary slidered badge attached. Most Met Specials badges seem to feature two loops and I really don't want to have to make any new holes in the cap if I can avoid it, I have one of the yellow-enamelled crown Sergeants badges with a single flat-holed tab which might fit in the current hole at a pinch, but if a true slidered version had existed it would make life much easier.

On the stripes, I was aware some of the pictures were other forces other than the Met - "since period photos of them being worn as rank or otherwise in the Met or other forces seem to show different sorts at different times..." - I was just trying to illustrate some of the wondrous variety potentially available to trip me up ;)

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  • 4 years later...
On ‎23‎/‎06‎/‎2014 at 19:44, ayedeeyew said:

...Now does anyone know if a slidered version of the bronzed Met Specials badge exists...?

 

On ‎23‎/‎06‎/‎2014 at 20:19, Dave Wilkinson said:

 SC cap badges of different styles and periods but have never seen an example of the version you are referring to with a slider fitting.

 

On ‎23‎/‎06‎/‎2014 at 20:55, ayedeeyew said:

...On the badge front, I merely asked as the original cap I have came with its original white metal Hull Special Constabulary slidered badge attached. Most Met Specials badges seem to feature two loops and I really don't want to have to make any new holes in the cap if I can avoid it, I have one of the yellow-enamelled crown Sergeants badges with a single flat-holed tab which might fit in the current hole at a pinch, but if a true slidered version had existed it would make life much easier...

Thought I would give this one a bit of a bump, with a recent Ebay acquisition. It is now a slidered bronzed finish Metropolitan Special Constabulary badge, but it clearly started out life as a lapel badge and has been subsequently modified. The overall standard of the work is best described as crude but strong and functional. I suspect it has been done relatively recently, presumably for similar reasons as outlined above, but for £5 including P+P I am very happy with it: 

s-l1600[5].jpg

s-l16000ICAJ01S.jpg

Edited by ayedeeyew
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