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Policeman's Helmet

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Policeman's Helmet

Is this an icon?


Policeman's Helmet

The domed policeman’s helmet hasn’t always been the customary head attire of the police force. The first type of headgear was a hardened top hat, which served the duel purpose of protecting the officer from blows to the head and allowing him to use it as a step to climb or see over walls. This top hat was later replaced by the helmet in 1863, and it has remained the favourite shape despite suggestions for it to be modernised. It is a symbol of mischief as well as law and order – no Saturday night is complete without seeing a gaggle of women on a Hen night trying to pry a helmet from a policeman to put jauntily on the bride-to-be’s veiled head. And who could forget the famous photo of the streaker Michael O’Brien invading an England-France rugby match in 1974? He was quickly brought to heel by some members of her Majesty’s Constabulary who immediately covered his modesty with a policeman’s helmet. Surely it’s an icon of England!


Your comments

It is a symbol of law and order that is recognized all over the world. It has been associated with the the Police for over two hundred years, and is still seen as a symbol of England (especially London) today. Best of all; it is unique to these shores, and is possibly the most easily recognizable symbol of England across the globe.

Graham Bagley

As a former police officer in the still British territoy of Bermuda I can tell you that 'British' style helmets are also worn there (as, I believe, they still are in Gibraltar, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man). I put British in inverted commas as in the UK only English and Welsh forces wear these types of helmet (known as the 'Custodian' or 'Centurion'). Some Scottish forces used to wear them but haven't done so for many years, and the Northern Irish force has never worn them.
Stephen Smith

like the police box, and red phone box , a symbol of the english town/village

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry