"A great insight into Brighton's history"

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Wednesday October 29th 2014

BHT Heritage

On Tuesday October 28th four clients from First Base visited the Old Police Cells Museum, located in the basement of Brighton’s Town Hall.

The museum, which functioned as the main police station between 1830 – 1967, offers an insight into crime and punishment of the past. The tour started in the parade room where our guide, a retired police officer, talked about the murder of Chief Officer Henry Solomon by a prisoner in 1844, the chocolate poison murder in 1871 and the Balcombe tunnel murder of 1881.

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From the Parade Room we made our way to the female cells, which were distinguished from the male cells as they had natural light and wooden floors. Our guide explained the role of women in the police force and we viewed an extensive collection of wooden truncheons from the Brighton and neighbouring borough forces.

In the male cells graffiti left by prisoners from the Mods & Rockers era is still visible. In the Police Uniforms and Equipment exhibit we learnt that the Brighton police force were the first to use hand-held radios in 1933, however at this stage they only worked one-way so officers on patrol had to use police telephone boxes to respond.

The most enjoyable part of the tour was trying on the modern-day police hats!

Before we left we were lucky enough to see the museum’s well, which enabled access to fresh water 28ft below the police station.

This page was added by Paul Beaken on 08/03/2016.