Welcome to the BTP History Group blog. The latest news and views will be posted here.
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Interested in Joining? Click this button to go to the Membership page.
At a recent Committee Meeting it was agreed to make a small change to the criteria for Membership.
Prior to this our criteria was:
“Membership is open to retired and serving officers and staff of the British Transport Police and any other interested individual or organisation by invitation.”
This was always a fairly open criteria and the BTPHG had never refused any external applicant, however, it was felt that the wording may have put off potential members who had not served with the BTP but who supported our aims and objectives.
The above clause has now been replaced by the following:
“Membership is open to retired and serving officers and staff of the British Transport Police and any other individual or organisation.”
If you would like to join the BTPHG please go to the Membership page.
If you were to able to speak to the unknown soldier now, a man who served and was killed during World War One…
With all we’ve learned since 1914, with all your own experience of life and death to hand, what would you say?
Created by Neil Bartlett and Kate Pullinger - WW1 Centenary Art Commissions,
LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER is a new kind of war memorial, one made only of words.
The inspiration for the project is the Charles Jagger war memorial on Platform One of Paddington Station, which features a statue of an ordinary soldier in battle dress, reading a letter.
LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER invites everyone to contribute to this collaborative war memorial by writing that letter.
From 28 June, throughout the 37 days leading up to the declaration of war on 4 August, the letters received will be published on the website to create a completely different kind of war memorial, one created by everyone.
LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER will create a snapshot of how twenty-first century Britain views the First World War, one hundred years on. It will be added to the British Library online archive at the end of the project, and kept in perpetuity for generations to come.
Writers from England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland have already pledged to write letters to the soldier. These include writers as distinguished and different as Alan Hollinghurst, A L Kennedy, Andrew Motion, Bonnie Greer, Caryl Churchill, Daljit Nagra, Esther Freud, Glenn Patterson, Kamila Shamsie, Liz Lochhead, Malorie Blackman, Owen Sheers, Sheila Hancock and Stephen Fry.
Everyone can contribute their LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER at 1418NOW.org.uk/letter or send a letter by Royal Mail to LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER, PO Box 73102, London EC1P 1TY.
Find out more
The BTPHG is pleased to support this project.
Photo © Matthew Andrews
Sandy Kaye, the producer of Police 5 and Crime Stoppers, has re-released on DVD her films about the Crime Museum - previously known as the Black Museum - at New Scotland Yard.
The disc, with commentary read by the familiar voice of Shaw Taylor, contains two 25 minute programmes detailing artefacts housed at the museum (details below).
Originally produced in 1990, the programmes give fascinating accounts of the various historic – sometimes grisly – items to be found. Supported by video and photographs the commentary gives background and context to the items mentioned.
From a BTPHG viewpoint the second disc relates two cases that have a railway aspect. The first features the murder of Minnie Bonati whose corpse was found in a trunk at London’s Charing Cross Station left-luggage office. The second details the exploits and execution of Franz Muller the first railway murderer in Britain.
The museum is not open to the general public, so this video gives an insight into what is usually only available to police officers and invited guests.
The DVD can be purchased via the Museum of Crime website.
AN INVITATION TO THE BLACK MUSEUM
1876 CHARLIE PEACE
1911 SYDNEY STREET SIEGE
1953 RUTH ELLIS
1964 JAMES STEELE
1976 SMITH & JONES
1976 BANK CLERK MURDER
1980 IRANIAN SIEGE
1983 PETER ARNE
INSIDE THE BLACK MUSEUM
1984 THE MULLER ‘HAT’ MURDER
1905 THE STRATTON BROTHERS
1910 DR. CRIPPEN
1927 MINNIE BONATI
1952 JOHN CHRISTIE & THE RILLINGTON PLACE MURDERS
1969 THE KROGERS
1978 THE UNSOLVED MURDER OF GEORGI MARKOV
1983 DENIS NILSEN
Viv Head, Chairman of BTPHG, wrote to the new Chief Constable in waiting- On behalf of the BTP History Group may I offer my heartiest congratulations on the announcement of your appointment. Your career in the Force has been outstanding and it is richly deserved. Not only is it half a century since W.O. Gay was appointed CC after coming through the ranks but it is a unique achievement in todays more demanding environment. You may be assured that the History Group is very pleased, indeed proud, of your appointment and we look forward to a good working relationship.
Congratulations are due to the current Deputy Chief Constable, Paul Crowther, on the announcement today that he will be the next Chief Constable.
From a historical perspective, Paul will be the first Chief Constable to have served continuously with the BTP throughout his entire career since William Owen Gay was appointed in 1963.
The announcement on the BTP website was published shortly after midnight:
Having joined BTP in 1980, he is currently the ACPO national lead for the Metal Theft Task Force, for which he was recently appointed an OBE, as well as suicide prevention and CCTV.
Millie Banerjee continued: “I am delighted to have Paul Crowther as the Force’s next Chief Constable; Paul has already demonstrated the necessary ambition for the development of the force and the ability to implement the Authority’s strategy out to 2019. I look forward to working closely with Paul as the Authority and Force continue to make strides towards delivering an effective and efficient police Force.”
Commenting on his appointment, Paul said: “BTP is a first class organisation and I am honoured to have been chosen to lead the Force. I am very much looking forward to the challenges ahead and working with exceptional officers and staff that make BTP the innovative and responsive policing service it is.”
Chief Constable Andy Trotter said: “Paul has had an outstanding career in BTP so far and is an excellent choice to take over the leadership of the Force. He has considerable operational experience in crime, public order, and Area command. As my deputy he has demonstrated real grip on the operational and financial performance of the Force, playing a major role in the transformation of BTP into a highly effective and efficient organisation. He also personally led the successful national campaign against metal theft. Paul has the drive, energy, experience and intellect to lead the Force through the challenges ahead.”
The announcement also appeared on the BTPA website.
As with any organisation today, it is the website that is its public face and often the means by which it may be judged. In a history group especially, it is important to have information that is easy to read, easy to find and meaningful. That this website continues to attract many visitors – 36,000 from 82 countries in 2013 and many compliments, is largely due to the dedication of Martin McKay who not only created the site but has been responsible for generating and arranging much of its content. I am pleased to congratulate Martin on his appointment as a BTP History Writer in recognition of this outstanding contribution. It is most certainly well deserved; thank you Martin.
Viv Head (Chairman BTPHG)
The 2014 edition of the BTPHG Year Book has just been published and circulated to members.
I think our Editor – Viv Head – may just have surpassed himself this year. It is certainly an excellent publication.
Of course, in order to get your copy you’ll have to join the group!
Our 2014 AGM will be held on Monday 24th March in Birmingham at The Railway Public House (formerly The Bright House), Hill Street, commencing at 12.30 hours (3 minutes walk, behind New Street Station) (map).
This is the day before the NARBTPO AGM so people can attend both events if they want to. This is an important meeting in our calendar and we endeavour to make it a good social occasion too.
A buffet will be provided free of charge. All members are welcome but you do need to let Bill Rogerson know at least two weeks beforehand so that food can be ordered appropriately.
Members should receive a copy of the Year Book in the post before the AGM and copies of all relevant papers will be available on the day.
This is the one opportunity in the year when group members have the chance to meet up and chat historically, topically or just plain sociably.
Hope to see you there.
by Viv Head
Once again the Force is embracing a major change in its structure – from seven, already large Areas, to four enormous Divisions. Whether you think this decision is based on a money saving exercise or an attempt to improve efficiency is largely irrelevant in the context of the effect it has on the staff and the way the force is administered. It is a major step in the history of the force and recognising that history does not have to be old to be worth recording. BTPHG has embarked upon a major project to make a record of the force in its seven Area form. We are taking a census of the force. Much useful information can be gleaned from the latest Annual Report but there is so much more that can be done.
We would like to record details such as:
If you live near an existing BTP police post would you think about taking pictures of the outside and of any police vehicles there?
Please send photos of medium or high resolution to firstname.lastname@example.org .
This is a photo of the recently closed BTP police station at Cambridge that we were fortunate to secure. The building is about to be demolished if indeed it has not already been erased*. It would a shame if we did not do something to preserve such images as this. Think about all the thousands of men and women that passed through Tadworth over a period of more than fifty years, yet we are still trying to secure decent photos of the buildings and grounds.
Project Managers: John Owen & Ed Thompson
Updates will be published on the BTP Census project profile page.
Go to the BTPHG Projects page for details of other projects.
*CORRECTION: Thanks to a Comment from Paul Gray, we are pleased to report that Cambridge BTP office building is still open and operational. Unfortunately this is only a temporary situation as it is due for demolition within the next six months. The Officers will, however, be moved to new accommodation and BTP’s presence at Cambridge will remain.
Discover Your History is an exciting new-look national magazine that takes a broad look at our past – including aspects of family and social history as well as Britain’s local and national history and heritage.
The article, which is featured in the Society Spotlight section (Pages 30 – 31) is written by our very own Rob Davison, and a very good article it is too.
He gives an overview of the BTPHG, explaining our aims and achievements – and this website is featured prominently too!
Well done to Rob for raising the group’s profile in this way.
The magazine is currently in newsagents – priced £4.99 – and for those so inclined it’s even available for iPad & iPhone.
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