Follow in Peaky Blinders’ footsteps at new police museum

The new West Midlands Police Museum has opened its doors to visitors following a two-year project transforming it from a Victorian Lock-Up to a unique heritage attraction.

The lock-up in Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham, was built in 1891 and housed more than one million prisoners before the cell doors closed for the final time in 2016.

However, thanks to a £1 million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, it’s re-opened as a museum and promises to take visitors on a unique journey through more than 200 years of policing history.

The museum – which will open six days a week – is the largest, most accessible police museum in the country and brings together an unrivalled collection of police artefacts.

There is also an array of hands-on activities where people can play the role of detective at a crime scene, examine evidence in a forensics lab, take your own police ‘mugshot’ and dress up in police uniform from years gone by.

Chief Constable, Sir David Thompson stressed the importance of the museum for West Midlands Police and the public. He said:

“It will give people a chance to learn more about their local police force today, as well as learning all about its history. That is essential for us when we consider the good and bad from our history.

“The objects on display are not just obsolete pieces of kit and collections of old pictures and records. Each tells a poignant story. They demonstrate struggles of those who’ve gone before us and shine a light on the social history of policing.

“The museum will give us a chance to build bridges with communities through our shared history, and educate people on how policing has developed. It will be an important education resource for young people in the West Midlands and beyond.

“The museum also remembers those who have gone before us, particularly those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. That is really important.

“It’s a fabulous addition to the region, both for residents and tourists: the vast array of exhibits and the history of the building itself is truly fascinating.”

The museum is spread across three floors with many of the Victorian features preserved including the old cells, metal walkways and central metal spiral staircase. There are cells dedicated to the Peaky Blinders, the Victorian era and World War 2, plus a Tardis-like police box, life-size police horse, and police motorbikes.

And for younger visitors there is a trail where children can follow the Lock-Up Mouse through the displays and collect a cuddly toy from the museum shop. West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, added:

“The West Midlands Police Museum is a hugely exciting development for the force and the region. It is set to be a top-notch attraction for families and I am looking forward to schools visiting too.

“I believe the Police Museum will help us build better links with communities and educate us all about the journey policing has been on. The Museum is going to be a real boost for the local economy too.”

To guarantee entry its strongly recommend that you pre-book tickets. You can buy then online or by calling 0121 609 1700.


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