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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 email@example.com.
The History Group AGM this year will take place at 12 noon on Monday 26th March in Birmingham at the Bright House public house, Hill Street, (3 minutes walk, behind New Street Station.) This is the day before the NARBTPO AGM so that people can attend both events if they want to. This is an important meeting in our calendar of course, but there will also be a subsidised buffet lunch (£5 a head) and we are endeavouring to make it a good social occasion too. We hope to have a speaker after lunch. All members are welcome but you do need to let Bill Rogerson know at least two weeks before hand so that food can be ordered appropriately. Members should receive a copy of the Year Book in the post before the AGM and of course copies of all relevant papers will be available beforehand anyway. 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.
BTPHG has launched a web page called StoryBank where many articles from our rich history can be found. These include extracts from History Lines our regular Group newsletter and some fascinating Trial Reports from the Old Bailey. Also, we have introduced StoryBank itself, a section where you will find articles submitted by members covering a wide range of topics.
Please think about about sending one in yourself. They can be serious, case histories, amusing incidents, charitable or biographical. They need to true of course and connected to our ‘job’ in some way. And they can’t be too ‘political’ or slanderous. In this way we hope to build up a rich store of articles that tell the real history of the RDC Police (Railway, Dock and Canal.) And they don’t have to be the finished article – just send in a few notes if you want and we’ll do the rest.
What better way can there be to portray our history? Please send your story to StoryBank@btphg.org.uk
We have made quite a few additions to the website in recent weeks.
In addition to our ‘Short Papers’ articles in the Police History section, we now have ‘Proceedings of the Old Bailey’ a series of historic transcripts from trials at the Central Criminal Court which have a connection to our subject. Additional transcripts will be added regularly over the next few months.
We have also begun posting extracts from our regular Newsletter – History Lines – and again, these will be added to on a regular basis.
Perhaps most fittingly, in early November, we have our second Roll of Honour. This time dedicated to Officers from the various Railway Police Forces who died serving their country in The Great War. This has been compiled by Committee Member and long time force historian Kevin Gordon and we are very grateful for his efforts.
Lastly there have been a couple of additions to the Photo Gallery.
Perhaps still the best known book about the work of the railway policeman, it was published in 1961, fifty years ago this year. But just who was J.R. Whitbread? We are no further forward in finding the answer to this. The fly-leaf says that he previously worked for the Railway Gazette but he is not known there today despite the fact that their oldest member of staff has been there since 1964. One thing we have learned is that officer standing beside the diesel locomotive in the photo opposite the title page, is the then PC Trevor Steward. It was taken around 1959 when the first diesel locos began hauling trains out of Liverpool Street Station.
J.R. inaugurated the Whitbread Shield which for many years was awarded to officers for commendable work. But otherwise we know very little about him and if anyone can shed any light on this enduring mystery we would be delighted to hear about it.
The book is still available at reasonable cost through Amazon and the like, though some specialist book dealers do ask rather more exhorbitant prices. Enjoy the read.
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