The British Museum Security Staff, by an unknown photographer
London, England, around AD 1902
The security staff on the Museum steps
Here we see The British Museum Security staff photographed on the Museum entrance steps in 1902. They include officers from the Metropolitan Police, D Division, and the London Fire Brigade (identified by their flat caps).
Security at The British Museum is vital for the protection of the collections, the visiting public and the Museum staff. When The British Museum first opened to the public in 1759 security was limited to two nightwatchmen and a large black dog. This gradually changed as the Museum expanded and visitors increased. By 1807 a Military Guard was introduced, joined thirty years later by an attachment of the Metropolitan Police Force and later by members of the Fire Brigade. The Military Guard ceased in 1863 but police and firemen continued to protect the Museum. They were supported in the exhibition galleries by Museum Attendants.
In 1933 security was reorganized and Gallery Warders were employed to replace the police force and the Museum Attendants. Security in the Museum has continued to develop and is supported now by the latest technology.
M. Caygill, The story of The British Museu (London, The British Museum Press, 1998)