A new, national exhibition is coming to Chelmsford Museum this April, celebrating the history of police dogs in the UK. The city’s residents will get the opportunity to be the first visitors to the K9 Memorial Exhibition, which offers a rare insight into the life of a police dog; from puppy training, right through to retirement. The exhibition will have a special section dedicated to the brave dogs killed in service, with a roll of honour and profiles of three remarkable dogs who lost their lives in the line of duty.
‘It’s Not All About the Teeth’ will also showcase changes in protective equipment through the ages, from a 1950s bite suit, to current high-tech cameras. There will also be an opportunity to see two new pieces of art commissioned for the occasion. A police dog called Elmo was the inspiration for a painting by artist Robert Oxley, who has created one of his distinctive pop surrealist works for the exhibition, and visitors will also be able to see a mural by Shetland artist Jean Speer.
The exhibition, which opens on April 6, has been put together by the K9 Memorial Fund. It is part of an initiative to create a national police dog memorial to the many dogs who have contributed so much to the police service. The memorial statue, which will have a permanent home in Oaklands Park, has been created by local sculptor John Doubleday and shows a police officer with a German Shepherd and a Spaniel.
Retired police dog handler Paul Nicholls, who served in Essex, launched the fund with other members and retirees of the police force. The statue was modelled on Paul’s police dog Ludo, and Karly, a German Shepherd, who worked in the Metropolitan Police area. Paul says he’s delighted the project is coming to the city: “April 2019 is the culmination of a thirteen-year dream to create a memorial that will recognise the incredible service given by police dogs and remember those who have lost their lives keeping us safe. I’m immensely proud and excited to have been part of the National K9 Memorial project, and an exhibition about the work of police dogs in the UK. To have them both in Essex is the cherry on top for me.”
For more information about the exhibition, go to https://www.chelmsford.gov.uk/museums/.
Friday 5 April 2019