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Kent and West Midlands award museum contracts

Two forces have been given the green light to open police museums

Kent Police Museum will be based at Faversham Police Station.

Following an invitation for tender in mid-2020, a supplier has been appointed to help design and build the museum which will exhibit historic Kent policing artefacts to the local and wider community and utilise cells to demonstrate conditions of the time.

The contractor is working in close partnership with the force’s museum curator and a team of volunteers, who are curating collections that will educate and inform local, national and overseas visitors.

Ian Drysdale, Kent Police’s Deputy Chief Officer, said: ‘We are in the process of creating a museum that celebrates the county’s long, diverse and distinguished history of law enforcement.

He added: “Although we are not yet in a position to commit to a firm opening date, our team is striving to create a best-in-class facility and we are very much looking forward to opening our doors.”

West Midlands Police have appointed a building company in a development towards transforming Birmingham’s Victorian Lock-Up on Steelhouse lane into a museum for the region’s policing heritage.

Trios has been awarded a contract worth just over £1.2 million to:

Replace the roof which is currently in poor condition and needs extensive work to make it weathertight and to meet modern fire safety requirements:

The force did not previously realise the Grade II listed Lock-up, which opened in 1891, had a leaky roof. It will aim to open around the end of 2021, but the discovery has set the plans back a bit.

A large part of the money for the project comes from a £1m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Once the building work is complete, work will then start on the historical displays. These displays will tell stories of prisoners and staff, including the real ‘peaky blinders’ who were incarcerated in the building and how the original ‘Lock-Up matrons’ from 1895 formed some of the very first ‘women in policing.’

There will also be space for the latest police messages and the museum team will use engagement opportunities to discuss current themes.

Heritage Manager Corrine Brazier said: “We will make sure conservation and heritage is at the forefront of this building work. Trios are qualified and experienced professionals who will work towards the long term preservation of the Steelhouse Lane Lock-Up. Preserving the physical heritage of the building is equally as important as showcasing items from the museum collection."

David Jamieson, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner said the museum will “tell the history of policing in our region in an interactive way to appeal to all of our communities”.

He went on to say: “It is a fantastic space, with the old Victorian Lock-Up and this critical new work will help this become a reality.

“The museum will be an excellent educational tool as well for children, schools and students.

“The funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund has made this exciting project possible. It is testament to the importance and impact that policing has had in the West Midlands."

A museum in London is also due to open its doors early this year. The old Bow Street Police Station has been converted to tell the story of the capital’s first crime-fighters and the Metropolitan Police officers who followed in their footsteps.

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