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Peaky Blinders: Jail which held gang members ahead of court date earmarked for attraction

By Tom Oakley | Birmingham | Attractions | Published:

It is where the real Peaky Blinders were kept before they appeared in court.

Members of the real Peaky Blinders

Now a 19th century Victorian lock-up has been earmarked for museum to celebrate the history of the police.

West Midlands Police has been looking for a way to house its unique collection of police memorabilia and improve public access to the region.

Part of the force’s redundant estate, a Victorian lock-up has been earmarked as the museum’s potential home and thanks to a funding boost from the National Lottery, the building has now been reserved from sale.

The Police and Crime Commissioner’s office has approved the force’s proposal to remove the lock-up on Steelhouse Lane, central Birmingham, from a list of buildings the force is looking to sell on as the force modernises and reduces its estate, so that museum plans can continue in earnest.

The grade II listing on the 1891 building, originally designed to hold prisoners from across Birmingham before appearing at court, limits its conversion for commercial use.

Development funding of £145,000 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to allow the team working on the museum’s future to fully scope out how the lock-up could be turned into a police museum.

This funding will help West Midlands Police progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

Heritage project manager at West Midlands Police, Corrine Brazier said: “The lock-up is the perfect venue for the police museum, it is steeped in history and is where the real Peaky Blinders were held before they appeared in court.

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"This funding will help us develop our plans over the next year to create a self-sustaining museum that becomes a real asset to the city.”

Plans for the police museum include making the historical collection more accessible to the public and presenting the force’s history in a way that engages all members of the community.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson is Steelhouse Lane lock up with Inspector Steve Rice and Corinne Brazier

Highlights of the force’s historical collection include the biggest prisoner photograph collection in the UK, including what is believed to be the oldest police custody photograph in the world.

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As well as a wealth of records relating to the service of police officers though the ages and rare and obsolete items of police uniform and kit.

The lock-up currently hosts open days and events, which are run by a group of volunteer staff members, PCSOs, police officers, retired staff and members of the wider community.

It also currently hosts events for volunteer police cadets and the Prince’s Trust.

Audience development plans for the museum include attracting members of the community from disadvantaged areas across the region.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson added: “I am pleased to see plans for a permanent police museum take shape. Funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund enables us to move to the next stage.

“This project will help us to reach out to different communities and show how policing has developed over the years. A self-sustaining police museum will be a really worthwhile project for the whole region.”

Lock-up events are released every month. The public can apply for a ticket by subscribing on the museum website at www.WMPeelers.com.

The future of the museum will depend on community support. Corporate sponsors are currently being sought and anyone wishing to discuss how they could help make the police museum a reality are asked to email Corrine Brazier on c.brazier@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk

Tom Oakley

By Tom Oakley
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist

Express & Star reporter responsible for covering Walsall and Staffordshire. Got a story? Email tom.oakley@expressandstar.co.uk or call 01902 319482.

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