As part of this project the West India Committee has been engaging with the wider community, offering opportunities for young people to learn more about the heritage sector and the history of London and policing.
Volunteer Police Cadet – heritage workshop
Our first, two-day, programme involved a group from the Tower Hamlets Volunteer Police Cadets. The first day was spent at the Museum of London Docklands where the cadets took part in a workshop on heritage, led by the West India Committee’s resident Research Fellow. This involved learning about what heritage is, why it is important and what skills it involves, as well as how we approach the past, learn about it and then present it to people in an appropriate way. They then put these skills into practice around the Museum, looking at how information is presented. The afternoon was spent at the Thames Police Museum at Wapping Police Station, learning about the history of the Thames River Police from the Curator. The Volunteer Police Cadets also had an opportunity to talk to a serving Marine Policing Unit Officer, to learn about their work today.
The second day was spent at the Prince’s Trust centre in Poplar where the Cadets used the skills and knowledge they had learned the previous day to design the educational posters available in the Downloads section.
PC Steve Austin
“I was surprised by how much the Cadets and I learned from the experience. I really enjoyed the training on how to handle heritage items. The Cadets gave up their free time to take part in this programme and I know they got a great deal out of it.”
Cadet Uno Baker
“I don’t know what I expected from the event but I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see our work on display at the museum.”
Cadet Fareha Miah
“The visits to the museums were really enjoyable and helped us when it came to producing the posters. I wasn’t aware of how much the West India Committee was involved in the founding of the police.”
The Prince’s Trust – heritage internship
Our second, four-day, programme was with Heritage Interns, who were recruited after being interviewed at one of the Prince’s Trust’s ‘Get Hired’ events at London City Hall. The first day consisted of a heritage workshop and visits to the Museum of London Docklands and the Thames Police Museum, like those experienced by the Volunteer Police Cadets. The second day was spent at the West India Committee, learning about the history of the Committee and looking at how to approach documents and artefacts, using examples from the West India Committee’s UNESCO Memory of the World inscribed collections. The next day was spent on a walking tour around London, visiting the key sites in Thames Police history. The Interns recorded the information they discovered about the sites, along with other useful information, such as nearby travel links. The final day was spent at the Prince’s Trust Centre in Poplar designing the heritage trail leaflet, using the skills and knowledge learned during the programme. This leaflet is also available in the Downloads section.
Interns from The Prince’s Trust discuss what they learnt during the West India Committee internship:
Interns from The Prince’s Trust discuss their favourite part of the West India Committee internship:
Inside Time magazine – prisoner engagement
During the project we have also been working with Inside Time, the national newspaper for prisoners, and have written a series of articles on the history of the Thames River Police, released in monthly instalments, available through the links below.