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Retired Market Officer Boosts Museum Memorabilia

Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP's) Museum collection has been boosted thanks to a retired Market Police Officer.

Long-serving Ernie Thompson, who was based at Manchester’s Smithfield Market, has handed over items including his pocket book, police badge and a certificate showing when he joined the force.

The Museum’s team of student curators used the items to put together a small exhibition about the Market Police which was unveiled by Ernie and the High Sheriff of Manchester Dr Robina Shah.

Market Police, founded in 1962, were prominent figures in the Manchester markets and maintained order in heavily congested areas.

They also apprehended thieves and vandals and often took them to the Newton Street station in Manchester city centre, which is now home to the Museum, for safekeeping.

Ernie joined the Market Police the year they were founded and in 1976 he became a Chief Inspector and took charge of all the Manchester Market Police Forces and the Abbatoir Police.

He received many commendations for his dedicated work and was consulted for the policing of London’s Smithfield market, before he retired from the force in 1982.

GMP Museum Curator Katie Henderson said: “We are very grateful to Ernie and his family for donating these items to the Museum.

“Exhibits like these are invaluable for our collections and we rely on former police officers like Ernie to donate them so we can expand our displays.”

GMP Museum was one of the city’s earliest police stations which was built in 1879 and opened as a museum in 1981.

The museum, which is free to visit, has retained a number of Victorian features including the original charge office, cells and a magistrates courtroom.

Old uniforms and transport are also on display at the Museum which is open every Tuesday between 10.30am and 3,30pm, on Thursdays during the school holidays and private tours can also be booked in advance on other weekdays.

Katie added: “It was fantastic that Ernie and the High Sheriff of Manchester were able to join us for the unveiling of the display and I’d like to say a big thank you to our student curators who put it together.”

© Greater Manchester Police 2019