Victorian Lock-Up – Touchstone Author Visits Steelhouse Lane Police Station


So I am sitting in a police cell. No, I haven’t been arrested. I’m sitting in Steelhouse Lane police station. It’s the the Victorian Lock-up. They open this up for the public and you can pay just five
pounds to come and walk around. It’s a self-guided tour and I thought I
would come and take a look around this Victorian police station right in
the middle of Birmingham. It’s not a working station anymore, obviously. I’m sitting in a cell right here and if you just take a look around there, you can see the
the door behind me. I’m not locked in, and yeah, if I just take a
little walk outside you can see here This is the ground floor and we’re in a row of cells that we can explore and there’s lots of exhibitions, there are costumes, a great many photographs, and that’s the really interesting thing for me, obviously. Historical photographs from the archives:
of both policemen, policewomen, police activity throughout history in the city and also mugshots. Mugshots of former prisoners. You’ve all seen the famous Peaky Blinders mugshots Well, there are quite a few more here, conveniently placed in each cell So you can go in and have a look at those and see what people in the past were arrested for There’s one in particular that really
struck me. This delightful chap in his top-hat… which I think for 1886 seems
well out a place. Very fascinating and it shows that it wasn’t all just Peaky Blinders and the lower orders being arrested for thieving, it was the
toffs as well. So why am I here? I’m here because I’m writing the latest
Touchstone book which is a novella called The Ghosts of Paradise Place and in it, Katherine Bright, as part of her job at the Birmingham Central
Library comes to this police station lto ook at their archives and she’s looking
up some old arrest records that she’s interested in. So I thought I’d grab the chance to come and see the place and maybe make some notes to get a bit of atmosphere. Obviously, having written the scene where she visits the archives here I’ve now come to visit it and found that it’s totally different from what I’ve written. Isn’t that always the way! I will go back and rewrite, put in a bit of detail and a bit of color I don’t think what I’ve written is
historically accurate at all. I’m really really bending it for the sake of fiction. To my surprise, I’m here
on a Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 and the place is absolutely packed It is half-term so it could be something to do with that Lots of people here with their children. It’s a lovely location and well worth a
visit, actually. It’s a nice little hidden part of the tourist map of Birmingham.

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