Police posts in the Birmingham area at or before October 1956

Extract from the November 2010 edition of History Lines (No. 15)

I’ve been out with the brush and swept the fallen autumn leaves from the lane, ready for ex Sergeant Eddy Breakwell from Birmingham to take us for a trip down the lane looking at the police posts in the Birmingham area at or before October 1956. This is the month and year Eddy joined the force. As I joined the force in 1971 at Birmingham I have taken the liberty to add one or two of my own observations (italicised).

ASTON GOODS, BIRMINGHAM: Concrete cabin approximately 8’x8’. One PC and one DC.

BIRMINGHAM NEW STREET RAILWAY STATION: 1) CID in former booking office at front of station (Det Insp Tom Morris who first joined the North Staffs Railway police at Stoke on Trent). 2) Uniform officers in former coffee house/signalbox in Navigation Street at the end of Queens Drive (Inps Joy and Bally, Spode and Windsor. 3) Special Branch located Queens Drive (Det Insp. Leach).

BORDESLEY SIDINGS: Closed by 1956, part of a row of coal offices near Small Heath Station.

CAMP HILL GOODS DEPOT: Closed by 1956, office was on the goods deck.

CENTRAL PARCELS DEPOT, BIRMINGHAM: Wood Cabin in yard. 1 Police Constable (PC’s Hughie Rowlands, one of our members, and PC Harry Reeves in the 1960’s).

CURZON STREET GOODS, BIRMINGHAM: Det Sergeant Summers and others. (This was still open, but as a Parcels Concentration depot in 1971 when I joined and we had to take it in turns as PC’s to do a month’s duty down there after three months duty at New Street. I drew the short straw in 1972 and ended up working there for two months in a row, due to a shift pattern change at New Street –Bill) Also this was the site of the original terminus of the London to Birmingham Railway.

HOCKLEY GOODS, BIRMINGHAM: In the yard several officers.

LAWLEY STREET GOODS, BIRMINGHAM:  Upwards of 15 officers including 3 or 4 Sergeants. (Still open in 1971 when i joined, similar shift pattern to new Street and Curzon Street. In my day one DS and three DC’s stationed there. Some good times waiting for the thieves to come along the nearby canal banks. Also a staff canteen based there where we could get an old fashioned fry up on earlies).

MONUMENT LANE, BIRMINGHAM: A massive area of goods and passenger sidings, locomotive shed. Not a police post in 1956 but very likely to have been though not known for definite.

MOOR STREET STATION, BIRMINGHAM: Closed by 1956 but police post was in the goods yard near the front gates.

SNOW HILL RAILWAY STATION, BIRMINGHAM: 1) Area HQ located in former railway hotel (Chief of Police W.E.N. Growden) 2) Divisional HQ located at the other end of the station (Superintendent Harold Wickens and Chief Inspector Charlie Steed). The same Charlie Steed is responsible for my final interview and signing me up to join the force in 1971. He was Chief Superintendent at Manchester then.  3) Uniform police office, CID and Ticket irregularity Section located in the subway (next to the Gents toilet!) (Inspector Sully and including DC Sailor Hayes and PC (CID) Stan Parsons). When I joined Sailor Hayes was Inspector at New Street and later progressed to Superintendent at Manchester, I worked under him as Sergeant at Crewe.

Eddy makes reference to the office being next to the Gents toilet. Most of our Offices were near or next to the Gents. The office at Barrow in Furness, up there in Cumbria was actually in the ladies toilet. Whilst stationed at Heysham Harbour in 1977-1979, I used to visit Barrow on a regular basis and I remember the long ‘vanity mirror’ and the table running the full length of the wall, which was used as our desk. Also one of the two toilet cubicles was used as the property store and the other was used for operational purposes. And yes you’ve guessed it; it was next door to the Gents, albeit a very modern Gents as Barrow station was rebuilt in the 1950’s after extensive war damage.         

WASHWOOD HEATH SIDINGS, BIRMINGHAM: Closed by 1956 but concrete cabin remained in the yard.

WATER ORTON: Sidings and passenger, police post on the station platform (closed by 1956)


ABERYSTWYTH: (Inspector Sharpe) Not Sure if open or closed at 1956. (New Police post opened at Machynlleth in 2007 PC Rob Newman working from there).

BANBURY: Sidings, Passenger, Goods. (PC Ted Graham and more). Ted later promoted to Sergeant at Birmingham New Street.

BURTON–ON-TRENT: Sidings, Goods, Passenger (3-5 staff including DS Longstaff?)

COVENTRY: Cabin in Front yard. Several officers CID and Uniform (Nice modern centrally heated office when I served there 1974 -1976. Ahh… those were the days).

CREWE: Inspector, Sergeants, DS, DC and PC’s. I served here as a Sergeant from 1979 to 1985.

DERBY: Inspector and full compliment of officers.

HEREFORD: Closed by 1956, but other officers spoke of it.

KIDDERMINSTER: 2 x Police Constables. PC’s Graham Jennings and Smith

LEICESTER: (Superintendent in Charge)

NOTTINGHAM: Full compliment of officers both CID and Uniform. DI/DS/DC. PI/PS/PC to cover Midland station and Carrington Street Goods. Very busy with Tobacco and Boots the Chemist’s traffic.

NORTHAMPTON: Inspector Thorpe and officers.

NUNEATON: Closed by 1956 but other officers spoke of it.

RUGBY: 1st floor office above the platform (Inc DC Bond). Whilst stationed at New Street I had occasion to visit this office, which was officially closed, but still used to take statements and have a brew. On one of my first visits to the office, which was to take a statement, I realised that it wasn’t used too often as it smelt very musty and when I put my file down great pile of dust flew off the desk.

SHREWSBURY:  Railway station.  Several officers including Sergeants Riley and Jarvis. Shrewsbury is one of the Police stations that I work out of today.

STAFFORD: Several officers stationed here, including PC Tommy Spragg.

STOKE ON TRENT: Sergeant and several PC’s.

STOURBRIDGE: Closed by 1956 but other officers spoke of it. I believe Harold Fleetwood; later DS at Wolverhampton was stationed there.

WALSALL: On the platform PC Bert Grice, Sergeant? DC Ward PC’s Russ Brown, Tom Derbyshire, Tommy Evans, Ted Suffolk. In my early days Walsall was still open and I remember going there on enquiries and having my sandwiches in the Mess Room and a giant rat suddenly appeared from the skirting board. I threw him part of my sandwich which had been purchased from the refreshment room at New Street Station and it was never seen again (the rat that is!!).

WOLVERHAMPTON: 1) High Level (Insp Rogers) 2) Low level (GWR) PC’s Boulton to name but one. 3) Wolverhampton Goods. The late DS Des Scherr prior to 1956.

WORCESTER: On the platform Insp, D/S, D/C and PC’s. Denis Cartridge one of the last PC’s to be stationed at Worcester sadly died in October.


MARKET HARBOROUGH: Ray Rixon, later Inspector at New Street


Source: Eddy Breakwell, with additional information by Bill Rogerson.


Extract from the December 2010 edition of History Lines (No. 16)

Eddy Breakwell’s article last month certainly stirred some memories amongst out members. But first Eddy would like to make some additions.

Washwood Heath a PC was killed by a train here, no other details.

Burton on Trent. PC Cameron (later Det Sgt at Birmingham was awarded the BEM for tackling a gang raiding the bonded store. (see Honours, Decorations & Medals)

Nottingham another police post here was Victoria Station on the Great Central Line.

Wolverhampton. Det Sgt Scherr was a PC here in 1956 (retired thereafter as Det Sgt at Birmingham New Street).

Worcester Insp Perriton in charge in 1956.