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North East Police History Society

From the Tees to the Tweed
Founded 1995
Preserving the past for the future

About the Society

In 1995, a mixed group of individuals met at Durham Police Headquarters with one aim in mind, to preserve the history of the Police Forces in the North East of England. Thus was born the North Eastern Police History Society.

In 1998, a member of the Durham Constabulary wrote to Headquarters, inquiring about the archives and memorabilia of the Durham Force. Eventually, a corporate decision was made by Durham Constabulary, who approached our Society and asked us to take on the task of the inventory of all the historical property, including documents, photographs, accoutrements etc. and eventually arrange a display in the foyer of the Police HQ. The task was taken on board by six of our members and it was decided that the first display would cover the early history of Durham County Constabulary from 1840 to 1902, the Victorian era of the Force. This was accomplished with the excellent co-operation of Mrs Anne Birtle, Librarian, Policy and Information, Durham Constabulary.

We were inspired by an illuminated testimonial on vellum, which was presented to the Grandfather of one of our members in 1901, on the occasion of his leaving Boldon Colliery as a Police Sergeant, to go to another police district. The presentation was made by the grateful residents of the mining village and became one of the centre pieces of the display. The first display was in the walk-round display case with many items such as one of the first fabric helmet issued in 1866, truncheons issued during the reign of William IV, leg irons, documents and other items from that era.
In addition, a display of photographs of Victorian County Police Officers, one of whom was Henry Binns, appointed Constable in 1893. We know that he was promoted to Sergeant before 1905, as the promotions were not published in the Chief Constable's Reports until that year and later, in 1912, he reached Inspector and retired on medical grounds at the age of 45 in 1913, worn out. When one thinks that the Victorian Policeman worked a 12 hour day, no days off and had to wear his uniform at all times, it is correct to say that'a policeman's lot was not a happy one'.

The first display was then replaced by the history of the Force from 1902 until the outbreak of the Second World War called 'Trouble and Strife' which in turn was superseded by 'The War Years'.

The Society is also involved in the indexing of the bound sets of 'Police Reviews' and 'Police Chronicles' in relation to the North Eastern Forces. These volumes were presented to Beamish North of England Open Air Museum by Durham Constabulary.

The logo of the Society (See the top of this page) is the head of John Hope, one of the first Constables of the Newcastle upon Tyne Force to be sworn in, on formation of that Force in 1837. (The society logo was designed by Mrs Mary McLoughlin, Senior Graphics Designer for Northumbria Police).

The N.E.P.H.S. publishes a Journal, entitled "Crown to Crown" which contains information on the North East Forces including photographs, insignia information and other historical police-related matters. In addition a 'Newsletter' informs members of all activities taking place.

There are basically four meetings a year with Guest Speakers.

In 1998 the late Mr Taylor then Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary became our first Honorary President. Later, Lord MacKenzie of Framwellgate OBE accepted the appointment of Honorary President of the society and Mr G E Hedges, QPM, Chief Constable of Durham and Mr C Strachan, QPM, Chief Constable of Northumbria accepted the roles of Joint Vice Presidents.
Because of the help and research facilities granted to the Society, Beamish North of England Open Air Museum was awarded Honorary Membership.
Our aims are set out in the 'Constitution' of the North Eastern Police History Society our continued expansion and informative role along with our 'Journal' and the addition of a web site means we are becoming renowned nation wide.
I hope this will give an accurate picture of what we are all about, an active Society with many exciting projects in the pipeline to further and help the cause of preserving our Police History.

Harry Wynne
Historical Information Officer and Editor
18th July 2007

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