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Date of this Brighton Borough Police inspection?

Brighton Borough Police inspection: undated
From the private collection of Michael Chick

Click on the photograph to open a large version in a new page. Click again to further enlarge.

This is a photograph of the annual inspection of Brighton Borough Police in their white helmets. The Chief Constable and the mayor, and I believe various members of the Watch Committee, are inspecting.

It must predate 1945, as my father features in it, and he retired in 1945. I am sure it could be dated easily if the Mayor could be identified.

Can you help? If you can, please leave a comment below.

Comments about this page

  • In the background can be seen the pub at the bottom of Edward St, so this inspection was at the beginning of Grand Parade and I think this was about 1943. Could be to do with the conjunction of East Sussex and West Sussex combining.

    By paul (03/10/2012)
  • Don’t know about the year, but it’s taken at the bottom of Edward Street as it shows the funny curved building on the left-hand side. The Mayor was a very short in stature which may help in finding out his name

    By Dennis Fielder (03/10/2012)
  • Hi Michael, it is not so easy identifying the Mayor, who is shown in profile, from the few pictures I have featured with a frontal facial view. I am guessing that the event was probably an Armistice day commemoration (note the black armbands and war medals being displayed), possibly pre-WW2. The Mayor bears a resemblance to J. Talbot Nanson, who held office in the years 1938-40, but I do re-iterate the previously highlighted caveat. Regards, Andy

    By Andy Grant (05/10/2012)
  • Hi Michael, Below is a reply from a police historian which you may find interesting. I can definitely say the year is 1938 as the Mayor is Herbert Hone 1937/38. The picture. No problem. I recognise Insp Chick: he’s at the front of the parade on the right of the picture. The chief constable is Capt Hutchinson, so it must be post 1933. The occasion, I have little doubt, is that of the annual inspection of the force , and I strongly suspect that the person in the light coloured suit half-hidden behind the mayor is HM Inspector of Constabulary (but his name escapes me for the present). No idea who the mayor might be. If this inspection follows the pattern of many previous ones, I’d suggest that the chap walking with the unfurled umbrella is probably the chairman of the Watch Committee. But the clincher about dates comes when you see the larger version. Insp Chick is most definitely wearing the star type (“Home Office pattern”) cap badge introduced in late 1935 or 1936. And white helmets were worn for the last time prior to WW2 in summer 1939. As there was a special parade for the supposed “centenary” of the force in 1938 (a load of nonsense actually: the centenary was nothing of the sort and probably invented to suit some municipal celebrations at around the same time), and that was in Preston Park (whereas this is in the Pavilion grounds where annual inspections were routinely held) I would date the picture as 1936 or 37, or 1939. Interesting armband being worn by Insp Chick and by the other Inspector in the picture: looks a bit like a mourning armband, but it’s a new one on me.

    By Tony Mould (19/10/2012)
  • Hi Tony. Your reply is interesting in that you state the year is 1938 (in the second line), but the police historian says it is not 1938 because of the location, but is 1936, 1937 or 1939 (in the penultimate line)! I am assuming that the historian’s quote starts in the second line with the words “The picture…”. I agree with those who have commented that the photo was taken in the Royal Pavilion grounds. Pavilion Parade can be seen behind the lines of white-helmeted policemen, and the junction of Grand Parade and Edward Street in the far left background. Could it not be 1937 if Herbert Hone was Mayor 1937/38?

    By Alan Hobden (19/05/2013)
  • Hi all, I’m not sure if this query is still out there? But I have a full face picture of J. Talbot Nanson on a flyer dated 1928 for the by-election, if it helps in the identification.  (BTW The flyer is available if someone/historian wants it!)

    By Paul Nightingale (14/07/2015)
  • Just found this photo, could armbands be mourning for George V who died 1936.

    By Alan Baker (14/09/2015)
  • Late arrival to this! Brighton Borough Police introduced white summer helmets in 1933, suspended their use in 1939 for the duration of the war until 1952 when they were re-introduced by public demand. The amalgamation of Brighton Police into the Sussex Constabulary in 1968 saw the end of their use. This means that looking at the civilian dress-style, the photo can be dated to within 6 years to sometime between 1933 and 1939. My money would be early 1930’s as opposed to late.

    By Geoff Burt (07/05/2020)

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