Exhibition unveiled at Grantham Museum to commemorate police constable Edith Smith
Exhibits in memory of the first female police officer in the United Kingdom with full power of arrest has gone on display at Grantham Museum.
Edith Smith was appointed as the first female police officer in 1915 and policed in the Grantham area. She undoubtedly set an important precedent, and her appointment enabled women to show that they could undertake a policing role effectively and professionally.
Edith Smith’s granddaughter attended an opening ceremony along with police community support officer (PCSO) Holly Farmer.
The exhibit of artefacts includes some from Lincolnshire Police’s historical collection. These include a patrol lamp from Grantham Borough Police, along with manacles and handcuffs all dating back to the 1900s.
Amanda Schonhut, director of fund-raising at the museum, came up with the exhibition idea in 2019 and started to fund-raise via public donations and a grant from the local council.
Amanda has since worked hard to gather authentic artefacts contemporary to the period of Edith's service.
Some of these artefacts have been kindly loaned to the museum from the Lincolnshire Police collection via curator David Buckley
Amanda said: ''We are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase artefacts from the Lincolnshire Police Collection. This has been an interesting project to work on from the start, being part of Edith's Journey has enabled us to highlight the work of women in policing, the difficulties and challenges they faced as well as how this carved a path for women in policing today.
“Being able to share with the public items that were part of that law enforcement is fabulous, we sincerely hope the public will enjoy that journey too. It's important to us to educate and inform while giving Lincolnshire Police a platform within the community at the same time.''
The exhibition was launched earlier this year to mark International Women’s Day and was officially opened by assistant chief constable Kerrin Wilson.
ACC Wilson said: “It is an honour to work alongside the museum to showcase the importance of women in policing. What PC Edith Smith achieved was outstanding and she was, and remains, an inspiration. Edith proved the absolute value of women within policing and was a trailblazer for all that has followed’
“I hope people will visit the exhibition which pays tribute to PC Smith.”
The museum is open Thursday to Saturday from 10am - 4pm
For further details, visit www.granthammuseum.org.uk