City of London Police Helmet:
The style of the City of London police helmet has changed little since they were first introduced in 1865. The first style helmets had a ¾” leather band around the outside of the helmet, with a down turn brim.
The later helmets had a two-style panel construction with a black leather band around the outside of the helmet and were mainly of a cork construction with wool covered and a leather band inside the helmet. The comb on the top of the helmet was brass and painted black. Today the helmet is similar in design except the outside band is made of plastic rather than leather. The comb at the top of the helmet is still painted black. There are no vent holes on either side of a City of London police helmet. (Fig. 4 below)
City officers today are issued with two helmets. One being a lightweight cork version (Fig 5 below) stronger construction for officer safety.
Constables on foot patrol generally prefer the cork construction due to the helmet being lighter and more comfortable to wear while on duty.
The City of London Police, as previously stated, has always had a Cox Comb helmet without any side vents. I have just received first hand information direct from the City of London Police Stores that City corkers still will have no vents, whereas the new foam public order helmets now will have two vents on each side! The current manufacturer that supplies the City helmets, no longer supply helmets without vents due to safety reasons!
City Police Special’s Helmet- This type of helmet and plate, is currently being worn by the City Police Specials. There is talk that in the near future, this style helmet plate may be changed to possibly a four digit numbered plate?
City of London Police Helmet Plate:
The City of London Police helmet plate is unique amongst the “Home Office” Police forces, in that the helmet plate does not feature the King or Queen’s crown in its design. The plate is basically a variation of the City Coat of arms with the dragon supporters on either side, the shield with Saint Paul’s sword in the top left quarter, the motto "Domine Dirige Nos" is on a garter. The motto means Lord Direct Us.
The original City of London Police helmet plate was all black in color.
From 1865-1909, on an oval disc shield at the bottom of the helmet plate appeared only the Officer’s divisional numbers in applied brass numbers. (Fig.7 Below)
From 1909-1970 the helmet plate was still black in color but on a trefoil number plate appeared the officer’s divisional letter and numbers in applied brass numbers and letter. (Fig.8 Below)
From 1970-1980, the helmet plate was painted black with gold brush at the top of the plate; garter and motto as well as the Saint Paul’s sword were hand painted with gold paint. (Fig 9 Below)
From 1980’s onward to present day, the gold color is baked onto the helmet plates, and the brass letter and numbers replaced with an anodized (Stay brite) numbers and letter. (Fig.10 Below)
Interestingly in 1934, a “Home Office” pattern blackened King’s Crown helmet plate with gold highlights was produced for the City of London Police. The reason being was that uniformity was sought for all the British home office police forces. The helmet plate was to have been issued on a home pattern helmet (Rose Top) similar to what the Metropolitan Police wear. This helmet plate is unique in that it was never issued for wear apparently deciding tradition meant more than uniformity! (Fig.11 Below)
The Helmet Plates today are still made from the original 1910 dies. The word “Police” is not found anywhere on the City of London Police Helmet Plate making this not only a beautiful but also quite unique helmet plate.
A Division- Operational Support (Dogs & Mounted Units, Control, Traffic)
B Division- Snow Hill Officers, Wood Street Officers
C Division- Bishopsgate Officers
D Division- CID Headquarters Staff Officers
E Division- Support Headquarters (Management)
Officer Divisional numbers & their significance:
1-119 - Uniform Sergeants 120-300 B Division
120-899 - Constables/Detectives 301-500 C Division
900+ - Detective Sergeants 501-899 D Division
City of London Police Inspector’s Helmet Plate:
In 1999 the City of London Police began to issue to their Uniform Inspectors a blackened helmet plate for their helmets. Originally the Inspectors had been issued a helmet plate, which was all gold in color.
In public order situations it was found that with the gold helmet plate they were very visible to protestors and were an easy target for violence.
The trefoil plate on the bottom is blank. (Fig. 12)
Ceremonial Helmet plates (1865-1960):
The City of London Police produced a ceremonial helmet and helmet plate for their senior officers. The helmet was a similar style to the Constable’s helmet except that the black outside leather band, which surrounded the helmet, has an ornate crisscross pattern on it. The comb on the top of the helmet was adorned in gold or a combination of black and gold. The helmet plate is based on the Queen Victorian style in that there is an oval disk at the bottom of the plate not the trefoil disc. The helmet plate colors and ranks are listed below. (Fig. 13A)
Black & gold crown, garter and cross & sword.
Oval number plate with gold crossed baton & sword. (Fig. 13)
Black & gold crown, garter and cross & sword
Oval number plate with gold crossed baton & sword. (Fig.14)
Gold with black shield and background.
Black oval number plate with crossed baton & Sword. (Fig. 15)
All gold plate. Oval number plate with crossed baton & sword. (Fig. 16)
City of London Police Commissioner’s cap - This style of hat was worn by the City Police Commissioner prior to 1974, when the City Police began to use the red/white checkered band.
The current City of London Police Commissioner Hart is wearing this type hat with the same black band for his #1 Dress Uniform while attending funerals. Commissioner Hart was seen wearing this type cap, at two City Police Officer’s funerals in 2002
City of London Police Commissioners's Riding Cap
This very unique helmet, was worn by the City Police Commissioner whilst on horse back. At one time, a requirement of the Commissioner was that he was able to ride a horse. It is unknown if this is still the case or not! The previous owner of this particular helmet has given me his kind permission to display this on the site. I can only wish I could obtain one of these very unique pieces!
150th Anniversary Ceremonial Helmet Plate:
In 1989 the City of London Police celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the Force. Officers who were members of the ceremonial guard of honor for the celebration wore a special helmet plate. The helmet plate was the reverse colors of the current style black & gold helmet plate. The comb on their helmet was gold rather than the standard black comb. (Fig. 17)
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This site was last updated 18/01/10