Friday 22 October 2010

Hyde Park Police

Did you know that Hyde Park used to have its own police station?

The Police Station where I served has given way to a more commodious and modern building of that name. (Rebuilt 1902.) I will, however, give a brief description of the old place as far as I am able to relate. Anyone walking by the footpath through Hyde Park from the Marble Arch to the Magazine, and when about halfway, would pass on their left-hand side a quaint one- storied old brick building, with its long verandah and grass lawn, surrounded with iron rails; this was the Police Station,(Originally used as a Military guard-room.) certainly nothing to indicate it, being so different to the uniform building we see in the streets with the familiar blue glass lamp over the door; not one out of every dozen that passed this place - non-Londoners especially - ever dreamt that it was a Police Station; but a Police Station it had been for the last forty years at least. Yes, and some of the worst of characters have been marched under its portals, and placed in the iron oblong dock, from the "gentleman got-up" thief, with his dust-coat on his arm, who moves about Society on the side of Rotten Row, to the dirty cad pickpocket who attends large demonstrations and steals all, he can, from a pocket-handkerchief upwards; the cowardly bully who lives on the nightly immoral earnings of his paramour, and who, when she cannot give him the required sum he demands, knocks her with his fist flat to the ground. These and many more of a similar type have been brought to book in that old place. Happily the Park is better lighted now, and such characters as the last two mentioned are few and far between. 
...     About thirty of us single men resided in the old station, and, antiquated as it may have appeared outside, it was clean and comfortable inside. On entering the doorway, right and left were the Inspector's (or Enquiry) Office, Charge-room and cells respectively; passing a little further on the right, is the mess kitchen or dining-room; continuing through brings you into the library, a nice spacious room, with its full-size billiard table and well-stocked book cupboards; through another door on the left brings you into the cooking kitchen; following on leads along a passage down a few steps into the yard below, where we find the stables for the horses of the Mounted Police. This was the station I made my acquaintance with in April, 1874.

Edward Owen, Hyde Park, Select Narratives, Annual Event, etc,
during twenty years' Police Service in Hyde Park,

1 comment:

  1. i was put in the police station on trafalquar square after i had a fight near the fountain, its underground.