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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 email@example.com .
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.
As a postscript to our previous post – Tadworth – the beginning of the end?
Last month we received news that the main building at Tadworth was being demolished.
As confirmation of this Berkeley Homes have now advertised ‘Sandlands Park‘ – as it will now be known - on their website. It will be ‘a collection of thirteen, 2, 3, 4 & 5 bedroom detached homes which are situated in beautiful surroundings of mature trees and a secluded landscaped setting’. The show home is expected to be ready by Spring 2014.
See also the updates below the main article on The closure of Tadworth?
Our AGM this year will take place at 12 noon on Monday 25th March in Birmingham at the Bright House Public House, Hill Street (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. We tried this arrangement last year and it proved popular with more members attending than in previous years. This is an important meeting in our calendar and we endeavour to make it a good social occasion too.
There will also be a subsidised buffet lunch (£5 a head). 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.
You may have noticed that we have a new entry in the ‘Pages’ column to the right of the screen called ‘Website Updates’.
Of course smaller items, such as photographs in the Photo Gallery, are being added all the time – so it’s still worth having a look around the site to see what you might find!
It was reported last week in the Surrey Mirror local newspaper that Berkeley Homes have now formally submitted a planning application to build 13 homes on the St. Cross site, formerly the British Transport Police Training Centre at Tadworth, Surrey. The old buildings are to be completely demolished. Thanks to Geraldine Joyce this fact was highlighted on the BTP Group on Facebook (closed group) and a considerable amount of interest was generated amongst Group members. Several people expressed an interest in paying a last visit to Tadworth and this seemed a good opportunity to make a photographic record of the building before demolition.
The BTPHG had already made contact with Berkeley Homes with a view to having a plaque erected somewhere on the site to mark the nearly 60 years of BTP occupation. Rob Davison, who had originally suggested the plaque had been the BTPHG liaison point with Berkeley; and so today (Wednesday 5th December 2012) Rob made contact with them to see if such a visit could be organised.
Unfortunately the news is bad. Berkeley consider that the property is not safe to visit in its current condition. The interior was stripped of anything of value or interest at the behest of the Police Authority when the building was about to be handed over to Berkeley. Since then, floorboards have been removed, ceilings have fallen in due to water damage, and the place is virtually gutted, particularly in the search for the dreaded asbestos! Of course, Health & Safety considerations also come into this and we should be mindful of Berkeley’s responsibilities in this respect. This also applies to anyone just wanting to photograph the outside of the buildings. Berkeley do have some photographs of the outside that were taken after the hand-over and are willing to share these with us. We would therefore suggest that no-one be tempted to try and gain access to the site.
So a disappointing end to our connection with Tadworth. On the plus side we are still pressing ahead with the proposed plaque.
Also, I have today started a new Photo Gallery on this website with a selection of photos from the Tadworth archives. It is still in the early stages, but already a few gems are present.
Following on from last month’s good news (below) about the intention to re-instate the presentation of the Keith Winter Cup, Project Manager Colin Sinclair has now completed an interim report on the history of the award.
This includes a full listing of recipients and the background to the award. There are, however, still some items that Colin could do some help with.
Please go to: Keith Winter Cup.
Colin Sinclair advises me that the Whitbread Shield part of his Project is almost complete. In the meantime he has prepared an extensive report from his endeavours so far.
See the update on the Whitbread Shield / Keith Winter Cup Project Profile page.
It comes complete with news of the Shield itself and a description of the merits that led to the granting of the awards.
For more information on other current BTPHG Projects go to the Projects page.
Over the years a number of people have made a significant and valuable contribution towards documenting BTP history. The History Group believes it would be appropriate to recognise these contributions by conferring an informal ‘title’. This is intended as a simple recognition of good work done. It may include, but is not limited to, members of the Group, and not necessarily to people still living – W.O. Gay, one-time BTP Chief Constable who wrote copiously about our history is one example. J.R. Whitbread who wrote The Railway Policeman is another.
Recipients of the title “BTP History Writer” will be appointed by the Group’s Trustees and President. Nominations should reflect worthy contributions and are invited from any BTPHG member or retired BTP member of staff. By email please to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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