Park Row Police Station

Did you know there used to be a nick at Park Row? No, nor did I. Steve’s been sniffing around the Greenwich Heritage Centre at Woolwich Arsenal (something I wish I had more time to do; the b&w photos are from the wonderful collection there) and has discovered this short-lived little piece of penal history – erected too late to have been a star in Conrad’s The Secret Agent, and lost too early to have been useful in dealing with those town-centre problems we all grumble about on a regular basis.

Rather sweet, isn’t it? This picture’s from 1908 – not long after it opened – at a time of great boom for East Greenwich. It reflects the huge increase in house building around that time, and a great excitement in the possibilities that the east end of Greenwich promised. Unlike today when most of the building is just housing rather than infrastructure, there was a whole load of public buildings going up – three schools (Meridian, Halstow and Annandale) a library, a fire station and two police stations (the other one’s still in Combedale Road) just for starters – and I’m sure I’ve forgotten stuff.
Sadly, it didn’t last. The 8th July 1944 saw a direct V1 hit to the not-even-fifty year-old building:

Steve tells me the ARP log of the incident reports that no one was killed, but three police officers and five ‘others’ were injured. It’s not recorded as to whether these ‘others’ were overnight ‘guests’ of the constabulary or not…

In case you’re trying to place exactly where the station was, here’s a picture of the site today (still looks like a bomb’s just hit it…) Bernard Angell House is on the corner of Trafalgar Road and Park Row, just opposite the NMM.

10 Comments to “Park Row Police Station”

  1. Dave says:

    Phant this photo and a host of others about old Greenwich appears in Barbara Ludlow's book, in the Images of England series.

    I picked up a copy in Waterstones.

    Prior to the cop shop, on this site there was the Good Duke Humphrey Assembly Rooms, Commercial Hotel and Restaurant, demolished in 1905.

  2. Dazza says:

    You know me by now , Dear Phanty, and you'll know I LOVE old photo's. I, too, would love to spend a day rootling around the archives.
    Have you noticed in the pic of the completed station that there is a 'ghostly' apparition pushing a 'perambulator' or the ethereal legs on the crossing? Just goes to show how still the Policeman in the doorway was standing!!. Some things never change. LOL

  3. daveh48 says:

    Was there something to do with the Police there after the main Station was pulled down and the flats built?

    I just seem to remember that when I was a child in the early 50's there was.

  4. scared of chives says:

    There's also an advert for the 'Weekly Dispatch' – "The Sunday Dispatch was a British newspaper, published between 27 September 1801 and 1961. Until 1928, it was called the Weekly Dispatch."

    Amazing what you seek and learn from TGP's posts…

  5. Placentia says:

    The Police Station is on some of the early 20th cent large scale maps as well – London Metropolitan Archive is a good source for large scale maps

    On a similar theme I have heard an unsubstantiated story that a WW2 bomb explosion uncovered evidence of Nun's cells ! in vicinity of the back garden(s) of the houses on Park Vista that face the park – why Nun's rather than Monks I don't know – have you heard this story?

    The 1950/51 film "Pool of London" has a section shot inside the Maritime Museum grounds and Neptune Hall and wonderful shot looking up to the observatory with the skeleton of the Onion Dome

  6. Ray Pearson says:

    I am afraid that the ARP incident log was wrong. Mr Father, Joseph William Pearson was a sargeant in the MSC Metroplitan Special Constable stationed there. An appeal went out from the army for policemen to join the Military Police and he did so on the 23/3/40. He said that he went back to visit his old police station and the night before it had received a direct hit and the Sargaent who took over from him was blown to bits. He counted it as a lucky escape.
    Ray Pearson

  7. Andy285 says:

    There is also an earlier police station listed at 28 Park Row in the 1851 census, and it appears on an 1867 map of the area. It was almost, but not quite, on the corner of Park Row and Bear Street (wheras the later Park Row station was a few metres further south on the corner of Park Row and Traflagar Road). I can’t find any photos and don’t know why it closed, but it may simply have been to move into the larger purpose-built premises.

  8. [...] Station which stood where the Bernard Angell flats are now – there’s a pic of it here and perhaps the same strike that killed that did for Karen’s Great Granddad’s sweet [...]

  9. [...] the municipal car park, up towards the crossroads. The turreted building at the end of the row is Park Row Police Station the other side of the crossroads where the flats are now. Hang on, I’ll get you a [...]

  10. [...] a period development (if memory serves, it’s about a hundred years old, the same age as the Park Row Police Station, trashed by the Luftwaffe in 1944) and that any development hinges on planning permission  but [...]