West Midlands Police’s plans to create a museum that celebrates its’ history have taken one step further thanks to National Lottery players. The force has been looking for a way to house its unique collection of police memorabilia and improve public access to the whole region while ensuring the project is self-sustaining.
Part of the force’s redundant estate, a Victorian Lock Up has been earmarked as the museum’s potential home and thanks to initial National Lottery support*, the building has now been reserved from sale.
The Police and Crime Commissioner’s office has approved the force’s proposal to remove the Lock Up on Steelhouse Lane, central Birmingham, from a list of buildings the force is looking to sell on as the force modernises and reduces its estate, so that museum plans can continue in earnest.
The grade II listing on the 1891 built Lock Up, originally designed to hold prisoners from across Birmingham before appearing at court, limits its conversion for commercial use.
Made possible by National Lottery players, development funding of £145,000 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to allow the team working on the museum’s future to fully scope out how the Lock-Up could be turned into a police museum. This funding will help West Midlands Police progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.
Plans for the police museum include making the historical collection more accessible to the public and presenting the force’s history in a way that engages all members of the community.
Highlights of the force’s historical collection include:
• The biggest prisoner photograph collection in the UK, including what is believed to be the oldest police custody photograph in the world. • A wealth of records relating to the service of police officers though the ages, which is of interest to people researching their family history. • Rare and obsolete items of police uniform and kit.
The Lock Up currently hosts open days and events. These are run by a group of volunteer staff members, PCSOs, police officers, retired staff and members of the wider community. The Lock Up also currently hosts events for volunteer police cadets and the Prince’s Trust. Audience development plans for the museum include attracting members of the community from disadvantaged areas across the region.
Lock-Up events are released every month. The public can purchase tickets and find out about future events by subscribing to the history website www.WMPeelers.com . People wanting to follow the progress of the museum plans can follow the story on Twitter - @WMPHistory
The future of the museum will depend on community support. Corporate sponsors are currently being sought and anyone wishing to discuss how they could help make the police museum a reality are asked to email Corrine Brazier - firstname.lastname@example.org
WMP Heritage lead Corinne Brazier said: “The Lock-Up is the perfect venue for the police museum, it is steeped in history and is where the real Peaky Blinders were held before they appeared in court. This funding will help us develop our plans over the next