Curiousity over cat in 130-year-old police snap

TABBY An old photo of Chichester police
TABBY An old photo of Chichester police
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A NEW exhibition reveals members of Chichester’s early police force had an unusual mascot – a cat.

A photograph from the 1880s shows eight members of Chichester City Police posing for an official force photograph in full uniform with their moggy mascot.

The photograph is part of a new exhibition at The Novium in Chichester.

Museum staff have been researching the photograph and discovered that the officer holding the cat was a PC Gough. The photograph was donated to the museum in 1974.

Kerill Winters, exhibitions officer, said: ‘I think the photograph is fascinating and it was something of a serendipitous find for us.

‘Once I saw it I knew I had to get it into the exhibition and I’m really pleased that it fits so well in our new display.

‘Despite the officers looking very formal in their uniforms, the presence of the cat shows their whimsical side – a trait you might not associate with police in the Victorian era.

‘Unfortunately we don’t have much additional information on the photo, so we don’t know why the officers had a cat for a mascot. But if anyone knows we’d be really pleased to hear the answer.’

Soon after the snap was taken the city police became part of West Sussex Constabulary in 1889.