Cumbria

Maryport honours UK's first black policeman, John Kent

Painting of John Kent Image copyright Cumbria Police
Image caption John Kent began his duties as a police officer in Maryport in 1835

A plaque has been unveiled to commemorate the life of Britain's first black policeman.

John Kent was born in Cumbria in 1805 and began his duties as a police officer in Maryport in 1835 before joining Carlisle Police in 1837.

Mr Kent, who died in 1886, was the son of Thomas Kent, a slave who was brought into Whitehaven and freed in the UK.

The plaque - which is where Maryport's jailhouse used to be - was unveiled by MP Sue Hayman.

Image copyright Maryport Town Council
Image caption The plaque is on Back Brow, in Maryport,where the jailhouse used to be

It had previously been thought the first black police officer had joined the Metropolitan Police in the 1960s.

However, research by former Cumbria Police officer Ray Greenhow found John Kent served as an officer more than 100 years earlier.

Following the unveiling of the plaque Mr Kent's descendant Ian Bulman, who works on a dairy farm in Carlisle, said he was "pleased and proud".

He added: "I'm proud of where I've come from and I have a lot of admiration of what John and his father went through."

Other people who were at the unveiling included Tola Munro, president of the National Black Police Association, Cumbria's first black High Sheriff Marcia Reid-Fotheringham and Cumbria's first black professional footballer Peter Foley.

Blue plaques commemorate the link between a location and an individual who was regarded as "eminent" in their field.

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