April’s Curiosity is from the Derbyshire Police Collection. Acquired by Derbyshire County Council in 2004 as a gift from Derbyshire Constabulary, the collection was previously housed at a museum in St. Mary’s Gate, Derby. Although the collection contains everything from old uniforms to grisly weapons that have been involved in real-life crimes, this small cardboard box containing fourteen wooden printing blocks remains my favourite item.
The Simplex Accident Reporter allows an officer of the law to create simple diagrams of road accidents and “insurance coys”. There is an ink pad to go with the blocks, each representing a different type of vehicle. There is no date on the box but its 3/9 price label and the inclusion of horse-drawn vehicles indicates a certain era. It is a wonderfully low-tech item from a bygone age. I am sure that police work has always been taken seriously but the kit suggests more innocent times. It’s almost like something from a primary school and I’m sure that even children nowadays might be kept quiet for an hour or two if they got their hands on it.
The items that have been selected for Curiosity of the Month are currently on display in the museum foyer. Why not pay us a visit and find something that fascinates you?