Manchester’s ‘A’ Division HQ: Albert Street – Built 1859

This website entitled ‘The Development of the Police Station in Manchester 1838-1901’, formed the basis of my BA (Hons) History dissertation project at Manchester Metropolitan University, 2012/3.

Guidance and mentoring has been freely given and was/ is still gratefully accepted from Duncan Broady, the curator of the Greater Manchester Police Museum and Archives, where I am a volunteer. His extensive knowledge of the GMP archives never fails to amaze me and has been invaluable, as the primary sources form an essential part of the data published here. These include the Chief Constables’ annual reports and the archive’s extensive photograph collection. 

The Greater Manchester County Record Office (with Manchester Archives) based at Marshall Street, Manchester have supplied the majority of the images and primary data by way of the Watch Committee minutes and City Council minutes and accounts. I am indebted to them for permitting their use on this educational site and of their images of police stations and streets. I have also benefited from their great knowledge, help and assistance with the records they preserve.  Below are links to their website
and the Local Images Collection:

Similarly, the North West Film Archive have proved invaluable with their extensive collection. I am grateful for their technical assistance as well as making available edited clips within a new programme Vimeo (such as the prison escort van from the early 20th century below).

It should be appreciated that this is an ongoing project and one which will enable the viewing of relevant clips of officers and stations to reveal the detail and difficulties of city policing. On this note those with iPhones can download the ‘Manchester Time Machine’ app’ and view film clips linked directly to the Manchester Streets they were recorded in.

Our Friends The Police [extract – From Court To Prison] from NWfilmarchive on Vimeo.

Extract from the 1914 film ‘Our Friends The Police’.
The full film illustrates various aspects of policework in Manchester, including ambulance duties, traffic control, training of recruits, patrolling and mounted police work.

The full film illustrates important if selected aspects of police work in Manchester, including ambulance duties, traffic control, training of recruits, patrolling and mounted police work.

I am also indebted to Neil Spurr at Digital Archives  for his advice on the educational use of their digital versions of the 1851 Adshead’s and 1844/9 Ordinance Survey town plans of Manchester which were essential to identify the location and internal layout of a number of the first modern Manchester police stations. 

Numerous police stations have been identified in this research project, as will be seen from the station index in Statistics
(Table 1 Manchester Police Buildings and Stations from 1772 – 1906). Early mapping evidence has been utilised to determine the size and location of many of the Victorian police buildings along with architectural drawings where available. The research project is ongoing and any additional data is welcome.

A further site for early mapping of Manchester has been created by Dr Martin Dodge of Manchester University Geography Department in which he has scaled and overlaid the numerous Manchester maps from Tinkers (1772) to the current day. His site is excellent for tracing how Manchester has been rebuilt and altered over the last two centuries.

This website was constructed btw June 2012 – March 2013 but remains subject to alterations as new evidence becomes available. Its content cannot therefore be guaranteed to be totally accurate but I welcome users to contact me at the listed email address with any points or issues you may have or additional information on the sites identified by using the contact page.

Lastly, thank you for taking the time to access the website. I hope you find it of interest as it expands into a larger and more authoritative source for studying the history of the police force in Manchester and other towns.

Mike McCulloch  

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