Friday, 19 October 2012

Helmets, Bicycles and the Police - Sepia Saturday

I was at a bit of a loss when I saw the picture Kat had posted for this week.

I had covered A Policeman's Lot before and Get on your bike has been visited by more people than any other of my posts. However by searching round a bit I have come up with this.

Sir Robert Peel's first "Bobbies" may have worn top hats but it wasn't long before they had the iconic helmets.

Victorian Police Constable with an itinerant
(2010 recreation - Anthony McCallum - CC A-S A 3.0 unported licence -

In South Africa black policemen had no shoes.

Black Policemen, Natal, South Africa - 1890
At least one had a helmet and all sported the policeman's whistle

By 1914 cops were on the screen, immortalised by Mack Sennet Studios.

The Keystone Cops
Publicity still from "In the Clutches of the Gang" 1914

These days however it is necessary unfortunately for the "Bobby" to wear a stab vest on duty.

A British Policeman at Westminster - 2009
(By Schlauwiesstrumpf - CC BY 3.0)

Of course there is a variety of headgear as shown by this collection from Thames Valley Police.

Types of headgear worn by Thames Valley Police - 2008
(By Kaishu Tai - CC A-S A 3.0)

In our village the police always seem to be in patrol cars but these are not as photogenic as this patrol vehicle.

Ross-shire Constable with his patrol vehicle - 1920s
(Source Ross & Cromarty Constabulary; author dave conner, Inverness, Scotland - CC BY 2.0)

Finally and much closer to home I've found some windows for you to admire.

Yarm Police Station - Nov 2009
(Author Gordon Hatton - CC A-S A 2.0 generic - from

The station had moved from a Victorian police station around the corner in Bentley Wynd to this even older building on the High Street. The building is early 18th century, way before a police force existed, and has unusually rounded head windows.

Now it's time for you to head off and check out other posts on offer at Sepia-saturday-148
with one last look at how protective a policeman's helmet may be.


Jo said...

LOL, love the last pic Bob.

I love that newer police station. I used to live in a Queen Anne house which I always loved.

I didn't know the "peelers" were the first to wear helmets. Never heard of a stab vest, is it bullet proof too?

Wendy said...

I trust the policeman was issued a new hat.

The African police were probably used to being barefoot, so I'm guessing the coat had to be cumbersome while chasing the bad guy.

Kat Mortensen said...

Ah go on! Why didn't they let him do "The Full Monty"?

I swear that "itinerant" in the first photo is Mr. Bates from DOWNTON ABBEY! He's escaped! Alert the media! Ha ha.

Helen Bauch McHargue said...

Hilarious final picture. When I worked in restaurants we would always snicker about chef's hats being just the right size to smuggle out a ham.
Hats can certainly be useful accessories in the hands of the creative.

Kristin said...

You found a bunch of photos to go with this weeks theme!

Postcardy said...

I think the tall helmets look comical even on real cops.

Mike Brubaker said...

A very suitable collection of policemen's hats. I'm still curious why early American police copied the British Bobby's helmet. Uniform fashions have peculiar roots.

dawn-in-nz said...

Great photo Bob, love the last one! I wonder if the policeman ever put it on his head again!

Joy said...

Ah from bare feet to bareing what a link. It is a great action still of the Keystone Cops which sums up the films perfectly, made me chuckle just looking at it.

Karen S. said...

WOW!!! What a bang up finish! Love it! For a man who didn't know what to pull off- you sure brought one of your best posts Bob! The first man too, he looks so much like Sherlock popping in with his "Man Bag" as they call them today! Great post....! All the way through!

Peter said...

I would hope the policeman in the last picture has been charged with nudism! I mean, a bobby without his helmet is as close to indecent as you can get.

Jana Last said...

The police station building is gorgeous! Interesting assortment of headgear worn by the police too!

While my husband was living in England as a young man (serving a mission for our church), he was able to try on a policeman friend's uniform complete with both a helmet and hat. They are great photos! Now why didn't I think to use those in this week's post?

Little Nell said...

This was fun! I'm so glad you posted the gallant officer who sheletered the protester's 'privates with his helmet. I was so glad when my son moved out of uniform into plain clothes.

Titania said...

Bob,you covered this theme well. Interesting post, the proud African police with no shoes; I like the policeman with his bike, memories of Peter's grandfather who was a policeman, he had a fierce reputation,but at home he was a pussycat, so the story goes!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

LOL on that last one ... I wonder if the officer got a new hat once he got back to the station?

You have given us quite a selection, Bob. I wonder why those So. African guys guys didn't need shoes, or if they had taken them off for some reason.

I enjoyed this post a lot. Thanks!

Kathy M.

Liz Stratton said...

English police gear are so much more attractive than their counterparts here.

I agree with Wendy, I think I would want a new hat (last shot)!

Magaly Guerrero said...

I don't know which is funnier, the placement of the hat or the smile on the officer's faces lol


I always liked that distinctive helmet, so English!!

Nice way to conclude this post...