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Opportunist thieves recently broke into the premises of the restoration company who are cleaning and restoring items damaged by fire last year.  They forced two locks to gain entry.  Sadly, it has been discovered that three Fire Brigade helmets belonging to the Bata Heritage Centre collection have been stolen.  One of these helmets, photographed just after being retrieved after the fire,  can be seen in the picture below (top right).  Whilst not particularly valuable in money terms, the helmets represent an important aspect of the social history and industrial heritage of the British Bata Shoe Company and East Tilbury.

The stolen items were:

  • An old leather helmet, circa 1950s;
  • A yellow fibre glass helmet with black horizontal lines around it;
  • An antique brass French helmet (pictured above) mounted on a wooden plinth (although this may have been removed subsequently).

Please would you help us by keeping a look out for these helmets in case they come up for sale.  This could be anywhere including eBay and other internet auction or sales sites or at a local boot fair, for instance.  If you are offered any fire brigade helmets or spot them for sale, please inform the police quoting incident number 0290, or contact us at

Please share this article with all your friends and followers to spread the word.  It would be great to get those helmets back.  Thank you.

Firemen’s helmets stolen

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