3 November 2015

Bradford Police Museum

I've lived in Bradford near enough my whole life, and I like to think I know the city pretty well,... especially, these days at least, when it comes to family-friendly educational fun (I'm ALLLLLLL about family-friendly educational fun!) Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered a museum right in the town centre I had no idea existed!


We discovered the Bradford Police Museum, operating out of the Town Hall, completely by accident when we (literally) bumped into a sign for it while out and about in the city centre a wee while ago, and headed straight on in to investigate.

Turns out the museum has been going a little while, a bit over a year, and involves a tour around the old police station, cells and courtrooms with one of the local ex-police volunteers.


At the start of the tour we were led round the back of the Town Hall, to enter through the rear doors we would have been marched through had we been caught doing anything illicit back when this building housed Bradford's police station (between 1874 and 1974).


The first thing to do after being escorted into the police station is of course to have your fingerprints taken. The kids loved this (anything that gets them a bit messy!) and were very excited to be able to take their fingerprint cards home with them!


Next we moved through the old police offices, to see genuine crime logs and artifacts from back in the day, as well as a spot of Victorian dressing-up!



For the crime of impersonating a Police Officer, my poor little lady was thrown in the cells....



The dingy cells were the kids favourite part of the tour, especially when combined with the tale of Harry Houdini escaping from the very one shown here. The young ones both have their theories on how he managed it, but I'll confess to being totally stumped!


After stewing in her cell for a while, it was time for sentencing so we accompanied the little menace to the court room.


The young scallywag was released though, free to re-offend! What a bad 'un.....
 
Those who grew up in the Bradford school system may recognise PC Patches (or those a little older - yes, like me, may be more familiar with PC Percy who you can also find at the Bradford Police Museum!), and the kid loved having a play with him! There was plenty of other cool things to see in this end part of the exhibition too - photographs, police equipment and bits of evidence from Bradford's criminal past can all be found on display!

 

Our tour took a little over an hour, and cost £12 for a family ticket. I definitely thought this was money well spent - the visit was a fascinating look into out local history and gave us access to some really cool bits of Bradford that we'd otherwise not get to see! The tour guides - filled with knowledge from years on the force and enthusiastic to share their first-hand stories - really make the place something a bit special and I definitely recommend a visit!
 
You can find all the info about opening times on the museum's webpage, and you can find them on twitter and facebook too!

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