64. Police museums in Tetbury & Winchcombe
Two very different kinds of police museums can be found at two ends of the Cotswolds.
In the south, Tetbury Police Museum is located, along with the town council offices, at the town's former Victorian police station and courthouse in Long Street.
The museum is primarily dedicated to the history of the Gloucestershire Constabulary, which was founded in 1839, but it also houses the largest collection of handcuffs and restraints on public view in the United Kingdom.
The museum a number of interesting displays of photographs and equipment depicting the history of policing. On the first floor there is a complete magistrates court with a display using models and depicting a hearing, as it would have been around 1950.
The Alex Nichols Collection of Handcuffs and Restraints, which was previously housed at the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham, was moved to the Tetbury Police Museum in 2007. The collection consists of restraints and handcuffs used by the police from different countries around the world.
Up in the north Cotswolds, visitors to the ancient town of Winchcombe can see a different insight into police history at Winchcombe Folk & Police Museum.
Housed in the Victorian Town Hall, the folk collection reveals Winchcombe’s fascinating past, through photographs, artefacts and memorabilia, while the second gives a unique insight into the history of the police, both national and international.
The police collection is a small part of the Simms Collection which was founded by Ross Simms, who lived locally while he was a serving police officer.
Winchcombe’s Police Collection opened in 1983 in the Old Court Room of the Town Hall. Among the items on display are British and International police uniforms, caps, helmets, badges, truncheons, handcuffs and other equipment.
The museum has uniforms from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Italy, New Zealand, Germany, USA, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and the former USSR.
The Folk Museum was first opened in 1928 in St Peter’s Church porch room, illustrating the heritage and lives of ordinary Winchcombe folk.
The current displays feature a large 19th Century collection includes the North Street Toll Board, town posters and school, personal, domestic and agricultural items used by local people. The displays conclude with items from the 20th Century and the two world wars.
Winchcombe Folk & Police Museum is run entirely by a team of volunteers. Children are welcome, there are free activity sheets and there is a small shop.
Tetbury Police Museum
The Old Courthouse
63 Long Street
Tetbury Police Museum is open from Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) from 10am-3pm.
Winchcombe Folk & Police Museum
The Town Hall