The Oldie

Cuffed in Glos

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Af­ter buy­ing your rye sour­dough loaf from Hobbs House Bak­ery and bar of Orange Blos­som Le­banese Soap from High­grove House Shop, and brows­ing chan­de­liers and stone troughs in an­tiques shops, what else is there to see on a week­day morn­ing in Tet­bury? What about a nice pair of hand­cuffs to give you a lit­tle fris­son?

I’m not talk­ing about the Fifty Shades of Grey or fluffy pink hen-party va­ri­ety. These are the gen­uine ar­ti­cles, at the Alex R Ni­chols Col­lec­tion of Hand­cuffs & Re­straints at the Po­lice Mu­seum, tucked away in the Old Court­house build­ing on Long Street. A short dis­tance from Prince Charles’s out­let shop is the largest col­lec­tion of hand­cuffs and re­straints on view in the UK, more than 350 items. The col­lec­tion was moved in 2007 from the Gal­leries of Jus­tice in Not­ting­ham to the Tet­bury Po­lice Mu­seum, which is ded­i­cated to the his­tory of Glouces­ter­shire Con­stab­u­lary.

You start with Vic­to­rian iron hand­cuffs, then come the Tai­wanese thum­bcuffs, the German ‘Claw’ Grip hand­cuffs, South African leg grips and the Amer­i­can Smith & Wes­son Model 1800 Belly Chain hand­cuffs. Pop up­stairs to see the mag­is­trates’ court in ses­sion and lis­ten to a trial record­ing while watch­ing the 1950s-dressed man­nequins reach their ver­dict. And not a hand­cuff in sight.

The mu­seum is open Mon-fri (not Bank Hol­i­days): Free En­try. Dee La Vardera

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