This museum is a hidden gem, indeen, one might think there was a cloak of secrecy thrown over it; there is no official website and even Wikipedia makes nought but a passing reference to it. Policing in the City of London has existed since Roman times. Wood Street police station, also headquarters of the City Police, is built on part of the site of a Roman fortress, which may have housed some of the first police in the City. Prior to 1839, the responsibility for policing in the City was divided, from the medieval period, between day and night City Watch, primarily under the two Sheriffs. Responsibilities were shared with the Alderman's officers, the Ward Beadles, who are now purely ceremonial. It was these officers responsibility to ensure the Night Watch was maintained. Policing during the day eventually came under the City Patrol, which evolved into the City Day Police, which was modelled on the Metropolitan Police. In 1838, the Day Police and Night Watch were merged into a single organisation. The passing of the City of London Police Act 1839 gave statutory approval to the force as an independent police body, heading off attempts made to merge it with the Metropolitan Police. During 1842, the City Police moved its headquarters from Corporation's Guildhall to 26 Old Jewry, where it remained until it was relocated to Wood Street in 2002
The museum is built into the old Wood Street police station; just around the corner from the historic Guildhall. While the whole show is contained within just one room it is jam packed with memorabilia and artefacts. The extensive collection is quite enough to keep an interested explorer busy for hours. Every artefact in the museum’s impressive collection relates to one side of the law or the other. There is a large display of every police uniform used since 1829; be sure to check out the reinforced top hat so strong a cop could use it to stand on when peering over walls. Nearby you can find racks of weapons used by the police and their opponents over the years; featuring, of course, the classic ‘rock in a sock’. There’s the first police call box; always popular amongst Doctor Who fans. If the macabre takes your fancy make sure you check out the displays on famous murders; learn about the Houndsditch murders of 1910 or the Infamous Siege of Sidney Street. There is of course an entire exhibit dedicated to that most famous of London’s slaughterer’s, Jack the Ripper. A few of the monster’s horrible crimes took place in the City of London and the display lets you view the documents used in the police’s investigation. Maybe you can find the answer to this most famous of unsolved crimes?
Location : 37 Wood St, London EC2P 2NQ
Transport: Moorgate (Hammersmith/Metropolitan). London Buses route 100 stops nearby.
Opening Times: Monday to Friday
Please call to reserve tour
Tickets : Free
Access to archives available
Only one wheelchair allowed
Tel: 0207 601 2352.