The Oldie

Cuffed in Glos


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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