British River Police Hanger Circa 1798-1840

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Extremely Rare British River Police Sword

This British River Police hanger dates from between 1798 to 1840 and is extremely rare.

The river police are the oldest police force, founded in 1798, thirty-one years before the establishment of the Metropolitan Police. The River Police were set up to police the River Thames and other main waterways of the UK.

The Thames River Police hanger differs from those issued to county police forces in that it has a three-bar hilt. The hanger for other ranks had an unadorned all brass hilt whereas the hanger for senior officers had ornate brass furniture with a wire wrapped ray skin grip.

The senior officer's scabbard also had a navy style chape as opposed to the squared chape on the scabbard of a constable's hanger.

This hanger has a slightly curved, polished steel blade that measures 62 cm in length. The blade has a broad, single fuller on both sides, running almost the full length of the blade. The flat spine terminates in a spear point and is double-edged for the last 18 cm.

The blade is armoury sharpened.

The blade is in over-all great condition with slight age related tarnish and retains its original polished finish.

The brass three-bar hilt has a lovely age patina. The bars are engraved with a floral motif.

The ray skin grip shows minimal wear. Two strands of the original wire wrap remain and the blade is firm in the hilt.

The brown leather scabbard is original to the sword and has brass furniture with a Naval-style brass chape. The hanger and scabbard do not have a locking mechanism (to lock the sword in the scabbard) as this modification was adopted after 1840.

The stitching of the scabbard has perished and separated in places and there is a weak area and hole just above the chape.

This is a very rare senior officer's hanger for the British River Police and is one of the rarest of British swords.