We collect and care for a collection of Lancashire Constabulary objects from its earliest days in the nineteenth century. The collection includes photos, uniform, historic documents and equipment. We’re happy to discuss a donation of an object or objects. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A financial donation would be very gratefully received. All donations are spent on new displays and looking after the collection. We recommend that a donation of £2 is made on your visit to our free museum.
Our volunteers are vital in supporting the museum’s work. We’re really interested in hearing from you if you want to work with the public at the museum. Our volunteers are recruited through Lancashire Volunteer Partnership.
To find out more, please contact:
Become a volunteer in Lancashire • Lancashire Volunteer Partnership
Lancashire Constabulary was set up in 1839. The new Chief Constable, John Woodford, told his constables in Blackburn, “your chief efforts should be directed to the prevention of crime”.
This was the first police force for the entire county. Provision had been made by national government for regions to set up their own police forces. They were not only considered important for preventing crime but also to manage riots and disturbances. Lancashire Constabulary originally covered a wider area than today. It stretched into Furness (Cumbria), Merseyside, Cheshire and the Manchester area.
Richard Jervis started as a Constable in 1850 and wrote that the police, “had rough times of it in Lancashire, their hours of duty heavy and long, and their pay low. The uniform then included tail coats and tall heavy hats.”
From the outset, it was decided that the police would not routinely carry firearms. Jervis noted that, “policemen carried a staff, handcuffs and heavy wooden rattles.” The force has always had firearms available, along with officers trained to use them, but until recent times these were only issued to deal with specific incidents or when a serious threat emerged. The first such time being in 1864 when the Chief Constable issued twenty revolvers due to Irish Republican terrorism, and in 1867 all officers’ belts were altered to accommodate a cutlass (a type of sword) and pistol, should the need arise to carry them.
A policeman’s working life was strictly regulated in the nineteenth century with some even being required to wear their police uniforms off duty. A small relaxation in Lancashire was made in 1869 by Chief Constable Robert Bruce. He allowed the men to wear a moustache, but only if the wearer also had a beard!