On the first sunny Saturday of July 2012, about 30 former Hertfordshire policemen gathered in the Bishop’s Stortford Police Station to hear about how they could get involved with the Herts Past Policing Project.
Talks from Rhodes Museum and Hertfordshire Archives staff explained what the project is about. Sarah Turner, Curator at the Rhodes Museum, explained how the Bishop’s Stortford Police Occurrence Books had been left at the museum in plastic bin bags, which resulted in extensive damage. The books are a rare survival and contain a fascinating insight into everyday policing in Bishop’s Stortford. From stray donkeys and carts to stolen bicycles and lost purses, the life of the local bobby is closely recorded. Jeff Cargill, HALS (Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies) conservator, explained how the damaged archives are being conserved by a specialist team. Finally, Daphne Knott, HALS Education and Outreach Officer, explained about the Herts Past Policing Community Archives website.
Attendees were asked if they would like to volunteer for one of the strands of the project. The Occurrence Books will be digitised and transcribed so that they can be accessed online, so volunteers will be needed to help with the transcription. Volunteers will also be needed to help develop the Herts Past Policing website.
Much tea and cake was consumed and many memories of life in the force were exchanged. Some people also brought along photographs and memorabilia which jogged even more memories.