The “Bobby in the Birdcage” on Front Street in Hamilton was said for many years to be the most photographed police officer in the World, and was without doubt a popular duty for young single constables during College Weeks!

We have a number of photos of constables directing traffic at the junction of Front Street and Queen Street long before the birdcage existed as can be seen in the first photographs below.   It's more then likely that constables have been directing traffic there since at least the early 1950's as shown in the photo of young constable Douglas "Red" Hebberd who joined the Bermuda Police Force in 1949.

Another young constable, then P.C. Hubert Simmons,  joined the Police Force in 1950 and quickly gained an international reputation for his unique style of directing traffic at Heyl's Corner as can be seen in this article published in the Royal Gazette on 5th August 1951.  Hubert 's photos were flashed around the world and tourists would stop and marvel at his balletic performances.  Unfortunately,  we don't as yet have any photographs of Hubert in action other than this image in the Royal Gazette  even though we are aware that he was also filmed. We are making every effort to locate photos or film of Hubert in action and would greatly appreciate any assistance in this regard. 

We were aware that the then Hamilton City Engineer, Geoffrey "Dickie" Bird, came up with the idea of providing a fully raised platform with a cover over it for constables on point duty.  We were not sure exactly when the "birdcage" was  installed  so we contacted Dickie's wife, Jean,  who recalls that it was his idea to build a structure that would give both shade and shelter to the police officers directing traffic at Heyl's Corner.   Jean says that once he had designed the structure it took just a couple of weeks at most to construct.  

Geoffrey "Dickie" Bird
designed the birdcage in 1962
when he was Hamilton's City Engineer

This was completed in August 1962, and could there ever have been any doubt about what it should be called!   Naturally, it immediately became known as the "birdcage", and all of us who have performed traffic duty in it are eternally grateful to Dickie Bird because it made directing traffic there so much more comfortable, especially during College Weeks!

Dickie Bird and his famous birdcage are captured in this
brilliant cartoon by the Late Peter Woolcock

It was badly damaged some time later and a strengthened replacement  took several months to build but was no doubt much safer for the constable on duty there. Since then it has been upgraded but its shape and name remain the same.  Sadly,  this icon of Bermuda is hardly used these days despite the fact that it was an extremely popular tourist attraction for decades.

However we know that literally hundreds of Bermuda police officers will have fond memories of directing traffic in the birdcage while being photographed, and we are hoping that many those officers will have photos  in their own collections and will send them to us.

We are starting off with those  we already have in our collection, in no particular order.  If you have one of your own please send it to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. together with information about when it was taken.

 Young P.C. Doug "Red" Hebberd directs "traffic" at Heyl's Corner on Front Street  
circa 1949-1950 with no protection from the sun

 

P.C. John Francis (Ian "Crash") Kane directing traffic at the
junction of Front Street and Queen Street circa 1954.  
Note that Queen Street was two-way in the early 1950's 
 

Front Street, Hamilton 1964.  P.C. Alex Forbes directs traffic in the birdcage
at Heyl's Corner while P.C. Roger Sherratt chats with a Customs Officer. 
This photograph appeared in the Police Magazine published in 1993 
 
P.C. Roger Sherratt in the birdcage at Heyl's Corner circa 1964
Photograph taken by Paul Farrell
 
 
P.C. Terry Heathcoate in the birdcage at Heyl's Corner  circa 1965.
Is that the 'Queen of Bermuda'  or the 'Ocean Monarch' at No. 1 Dock
P.C. John Latoszek in the birdcage when H.A. and E Smith and Triminghams were still two of the major Front
Street stores.  After posting this photograph John Latoszek wrote to say that it was actually taken in 1977 by three
nurses from KEMH out with their parents on vacation from Canada and England. It was by coincidence 
that he later met one of the three nurses "Karen McLean" who led him to Canada in 1977,  
and thay have been married now for over 36 years.
 
Postcard 1 -  Bobbies at the birdcage at Heyl's Corner on Front Street 
Can you identify the two constables? 
Postcard 2 -  A bobby in the birdcage.  Can you identify the constable? 
Postcard 3  -  P.C. Derek Richardson directs traffic in the birdcage at Heyl's Corner
Photo taken by P.C. Philip Bermingham

 

 Postcard 4  -  Who is the bobby in the birdcage?

 

Postcard 5  -   Not sure who is the bobby in the birdcage,
but the tourist looks a lot like Brian Foster! 

 

Who are these two bobbies? 

 

P.C. Richard Earl "Floody" Flood with his children, Richard and Melissa
in the birdcage at Heyl's Corner, Front Street, Hamilton.
CLICK HERE for article about Richard in our Hall of Fame
 
P.C. Nick Bolton in the birdcage at Heyl's Corner
Tagged Under

Comments  

#23 mike cherry 2017-05-08 16:28
Roger,

The photo of "Crash' Kane is actually at the junction of Queen and Reid Streets, not Front. The stand is smaller than the previous one with "Red" Hebberd and the small street sign says Reid St and there is no Keep Left sign.
i recall being on point duty on the Front St stand soon after I arrived in summer 1959 and the polish on my well shined shoe melted. i cannot help in identifying the guys at the real "birdcage" as that was erected after my time in the City. Many thanks for publishing these reminders.
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#22 Brian Foster 2017-04-02 12:26
A rainy day in 2017 and looking through these old photies. I zoomed into the pic with the one on the motorbike and it looks like 'Coggie' Gibbons to me?

Editors note - Could possibly be Coggie but will write and ask him to respond to this query. Good to hear from you Brian. Hope all is going well in your new home. Perhaps you can write and briefly let us know where you are and what you're doing these days for our 'Keeping in Touch' column.
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#21 Davie Kerr 2015-03-29 07:01
Oddly enough, I met up with Kev in Singapore 18 months ago!
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#20 Alan Gorbutt 2015-03-28 14:35
The PC in the 'Birdcage' with Police Bike alongside is Kevin Fisher (he left to join the Hong Kong Police back in the mid 1980's. The Policeman on the bike looks like Robbie Aldred ?
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#19 Kathy Cervino 2015-03-28 05:16
FAB memories of the "Bird" cage and of Dickie Bird (our neighbour). Why don't they continue to use the Bird cage, even if only for the tourists?

Editors note - Thanks for your comments Kathy. I believe there is still a fund donated especially for the purpose of having a police constable in the birdcage when cruise ships are visiting Hamilton but not sure how that works when we don't usually have cruise ships bething along the Hamilton waterfront. Will make some enquiries.
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#18 Paul Singh-RET SGT 2014-11-02 17:39
I was in MCPS for about 8yrs- the bike looks like the Honda 400- certainly looks like shag Shaw??
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#17 Bob Porter 2014-04-23 10:54
Re Postcard ~5.
PC in The 'cage looks like John "Hardluck" Arlott from Nottinham.
The 'Tourist' does look like Brian Foster.
Photo below def looks like Pete Shaw on the bike but don't think it is Bloggy in the cage. Could it be Phil Lupson?
Cheers !
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#16 Terry 2014-03-14 15:04
Quoting Davie Kerr:
I have to back Bernie on this one: the only two regular sections I remember with shoulder flashes last century (!) were Marine Section and MCPS. I have no recollection of Cycle Squad ever having had shoulder flashes.

Now that comment would make a great Caption Contest.

Off subject but how could one tell when it was 1200hrs in the Prospect area........bawahaaaaaaa
Here is a clue........... ......'fault'.
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#15 Terry 2014-03-13 18:14
Quoting Terry:
Quoting Bernie Pitman:
The bike rider is Pete SHAW. Look at his shoulder flashes. Cycle Squad didn't wear any Unit badges.

Yes we did.
Just can't remember what it said.


I'll take that back. My mistake.
Only time I wore them was when I was in Marine Section; thus my mistake.

Anyway. Time for a beer and turn the fireplace on.
Can't wait for spring to really stay around.

Editors note - thanks Terry. I couldn't have named a unit that had shoulder flashes if my life depended on it!
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#14 Davie Kerr 2014-03-13 15:55
I have to back Bernie on this one: the only two regular sections I remember with shoulder flashes last century (!) were Marine Section and MCPS. I have no recollection of Cycle Squad ever having had shoulder flashes.
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