Ripon museum examines role of female police in new exhibition

Ripon’s Prison and Police Museum has launched a brand-new exhibition which will aim to explore the role of some of the first female police officers to join the force through national and locally interwoven stories.

By Janet Harrison
Monday, 9th May 2022, 2:11 pm
Curator Laura Allan with the British Empire Medal, which was presnted to Leeds City Police Women's Department's Florence Thorley for services to youth in 1971,. Part of the Women in Policing exhibition at the Prison and Police Museum in Ripon. 5th May 2022. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
Curator Laura Allan with the British Empire Medal, which was presnted to Leeds City Police Women's Department's Florence Thorley for services to youth in 1971,. Part of the Women in Policing exhibition at the Prison and Police Museum in Ripon. 5th May 2022. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

The display aims examines how attitudes towards women in policing have changed over time and asks if society has moved from segregation of women in policing to full integration or are there still issues to address in modern policing?

Dr Laura Allan, Community Curator at Ripon Museum Trust said: “This exhibition is intended to explore the roles of women in policing and how attitudes have changed over time.

“It has been a privilege to curate this exhibition alongside a team of curatorial volunteers especially given that the topic is as relevant today as it ever has been.”

Sign up to our daily Harrogate Advertiser Today newsletter

Curator Laura Allan with the North Yorkshire Police Chief Constable's cap, worn by Della Canning, the firts female Chief Constable of the force in 2002, which is part of the Women in Policing exhibition at the Prison & Police Museum in Ripon. 5th May 2022. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

The exhibition has been curated by volunteers alongside Dr Allan using oral histories, film, photographs and archive materials.

Along with the Prison and Police Museum, Ripon Museum’s Trust manages the Workhouse Museum and Garden, and the Courthouse Museum. 

The Trust, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is a volunteer driven organisation with a team of over 140 dedicated, enthusiastic and skilled volunteers look after the three unique heritage buildings, their collections and their visitors.

The exhibition is open daily until October 2, 1-4pm, with extended opening during school holidays. Museum tickets are valid for 12 months.

Curator Laura Allan with the North Yorkshire Police Chief Constable's cap, worn by Della Canning, the firts female Chief Constable of the force in 2002, which is part of the Women in Policing exhibition at the Prison & Police Museum in Ripon. 5th May 2022. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe