Three founder members of the Old Police Cells Museum were thanked for their work in preserving centuries of policing tradition. Pat Drake, David Rowland and Derek Oakenson received their awards from the Sussex Police.
The award reads as follows:
You are congratulated for your outstanding voluntary efforts in developing and sustaining the Old Police Cells Museum so that it has become part of the heritage of Brighton and Hove. Through providing your expertise and energies the museum has been awarded charitable status which is a testament to the importance of the facility and your dedication.
Presented by Sussex Police.,. Brighton and Hove Division, November 2012
Customarily each Mayor of Brighton & Hove takes on a single project during their year as head of the Council. For Cllr Pat Drake it was the creation of the Old Police Cells Museum in the basement of Brighton Town Hall. With the help of former officers John Dibley, David Rowland and Norman Cooper the cells of the old station were transformed into a museum in 2005.
The museum was the brainchild of Pat’s late husband, and as Mayor she adopted the project enlisting the help of Prince’s Trust volunteers to clear sixteen skip loads of rubbish from the Town Hall basement. The museum was awarded charitable status in 2011 and has played host to thousands of visitors over the past seven years.
David Rowland is a retired police officer whose professional memories go back over 50 years to 1958 when he joined the Brighton Police Force. David is an avid local historian and prolific author who devotes much of his time working with young children at Whitehawk Primary School. Like Pat he still finds time to conduct guided tours of the museum and acts as the historical consultant for all material that the museum posts on its website. We rely heavily upon his knowledge and experience.
Dr Derek Oakenson, former Chief Superintendent, Sussex Police
Unable to be present to receive his award was former Chief Superintendent Dr Derek Oakenson. Derek is keeper of our inventory and senior researcher. Many of the artifacts donated to us come with a story but few with a genuine provenance. If we know what it is and where it comes from it’s down to Derek.
Whilst the rest of us bask in the reflected glory, we know that without their energy and foresight there would be no Old Police Cells Museum.