Bow Police Station Stables, London

“In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the advertising slogan of White Horse Whisky was “you can take a white horse anywhere”, accompanied by a white horse in various settings, such as a garden party.” (Wikipedia)

From Historic England entry:

“1A, ADDINGTON ROAD Police stables and accommodation, 1937-8, by Gilbert Mackenzie Trench.

In 1938, Bow Police Station became the location for the divisional stables, and accommodation was built for twenty horses to designs by Gilbert Mackenzie Trench, John Dixon Butler’s successor as Metropolitan Police Surveyor. Further accommodation was also provided at that time for married officers.

STABLES & MARRIED ACCOMMODATION: along Addington Road is a separate stable block. The style is pure Moderne in white concrete with the curved corners, horizontal windows and flat roofs characteristic of that style. The building is U-shaped at ground floor with a stable to the rear and two projecting wings containing further stables, tack rooms and other functional spaces. In between the two wings is a central yard with a concrete canopy overhead. The stable is skylit and retains its original stall partitions and floor surfaces. There is also a tall chimney, which originally served the forge. The upper floor, stepped back from the ground floor, comprises two flats for married police officers and is reached by flights of steps, one at each end of the building’s frontage. The plan is clever, ensuring that the different and unrelated functions of stabling horses and accommodating married police officers and their families are kept separate, with individual entrances from the street. The metal windows to the flats have been replaced by plastic frames but those to the stable section survive. There are no original features in the flats. The boundary wall, also in white concrete, is original but the gates are modern.”

The former Wray House, Elystan Street, Chelsea, London SW3

From: A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 12, Chelsea, ed. Patricia E C Croot (London, 2004):

“Wray House (G. Mackenzie Trench, 1934-7) on Elystan Street contained 114 flats for policemen. Sold by the Metropolitan Police c. 1986, it was converted in 1989 to a residential development (Crown Lodge).”

The House Historian wrote for the Country Life blog of 13.4.10:

“…Wray House was built in stages, with the first section completed in 1935 and the entire building completed by 1937 with a total of 114 flats. Wray House was designed by Metropolitan police architect and surveyor, Gilbert Mackenzie Trench, who was responsible for a number of police buildings across London during the 1930s and 40s. This now less recognised architect was not only responsible for the design of police buildings, but Trench was also the man responsible for the design of the iconic Police call box made famous as the ‘Tardis’ in Doctor Who.

The first call box designed by Trench was launched in 1929 and although there have been a few different designs and colours, it is the distinct blue police box by Trench that is most recognised due to its fame as The Tardis in the BBC’s Dr Who. It is difficult to imagine a police force without communications systems such as two-way radio and mobile phones, but in the past the call box was the only form of communication a Bobbie had while out on his beat.

When first completed the flats in Wray House were said to be of a particularly fine type and in August 1935 The Times also said that it had “the latest labour-saving devices”. Wray House, along with other similar blocks of flats, were constructed to provide accommodation for police men and women and their families that allowed them to live close to their stations in the centre of London. Wray House provided accommodation for police staff until the 1980s, but was sold in 1986 and converted into residential apartments by 1989. It was at this time that it was renamed Crown Lodge.

Today, Crown Lodge is certainly a building that stands out, with distinct exterior stair well towers combined with red brick…”

Edward Henry House, Cornwall Road, London SE1

Oisín Hetherington wrote for on Jun 23, 2020:

“At the beginning of the last century a programme was commenced to construct special built accommodation for Metropolitan Policemen and their families. The authorities at the time generally believed that the Police should not live with the general population and this resulted in the Building of Edward Henry House on Cornwall Road and its sister building north of the river Charles Rowan House in the 1920s.

The Authorities at the time clearly believed the general population to fear the police which has echoes of the current crisis of confidence in policing even as I write. The Towers were removed from Edward Henry House when the roof was replaced around thirty years ago but are still visible on Rowan House. The large wooden entrance doors in Edward Henry were specifically designed to allow for the passage of mounted police entering and leaving the building complex. The original building had three sides, one each on Cornwall Road and Coin Street and a transverse building joining these at the northern end. This third part was demolished when the Co-operative was formed in the late seventies as it had fallen into disrepair.”


“Edward Henry Housing Co-operative Ltd is registered with the FCA under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 and the Housing Corporation as a fully mutual housing co-operative. It is a Registered Social Landlord, but unlike other Social Landlords it is owned and controlled by its Tenants/Members.

The Co-operative is managed by an Executive Committee of residents who are elected each year at an Annual General Meeting of the Co-operative. The Committee hold regular meetings and the Committee Members are involved in most aspects of day-to-day management of the Co-operative.”

From: Survey of London: Volume 47, Northern Clerkenwell and Pentonville, ed. Philip Temple (London, 2008):

“It was generally acknowledged that housing policemen in large barracks away from the rest of the population was undesirable, but in 1903 the Metropolitan Police began to provide purpose-built married-quarters in central districts where decent affordable housing was scarce, making it difficult to call on men at short notice.

But by 1916 accommodation for only 122 men had been provided, and in 1920 it was recommended that 800 new flats should be built. Progress with this programme continued to be slow, but in the late 1920s two big projects were realized, with ninety-six flats each: Edward Henry Buildings in Cornwall Road, Lambeth, completed 1928, and Charles Rowan House. These were the largest concentrations of policemen in London.

Gilbert Mackenzie Trench, architect and surveyor to the Metropolitan Police, designed both blocks, the Finsbury building in 1927. Its builders were T. H. Adamson & Sons, and it was named after Sir Charles Rowan, the army officer appointed by Robert Peel in 1829 as one of two commissioners to organize London’s new police force.

A massive and austere presence on a sloping enclosed site, the distinctiveness of Charles Rowan House lies in its style. The power of compressed rhythmic verticality, with patterned brickwork and chimneystacks that rise as battlements, shows awareness of recent German and Dutch architecture. Mackenzie Trench (with Charles A. Battie) had used the same idiom in the six-storey Edward Henry Buildings, of which it was said:

That the police should inspire in us the proper awe is eminently desirable, and there is something to be said for giving to a police-station a rather forbidding appearance. It is, however, carrying architectural symbolism a little too far that even the wives and families of policemen should be housed in a building of such astonishing severity. (Architect & Building News, 24 Aug 1928).”

Gilbert Mackenzie Trench (1885-1979)

Information from Wikipedia and from the website of the Whanganui Regional Museum:

“Gilbert Mackenzie Trench was born to Gilbert Kennedy Campbell Trench (1855–1937) and Clementina Flett (1857–1938) on April the 4th, 1885, in East Dulwich.

On the 1911 England census Gilbert is described as an: “A.R.I.B.A ARCHITECT” who was living with his family at 50 Marmora Rd, Honor Oak, Forest Hill Rd, S E England. (See image, by kind permission of householders. The gentleman told me that his father bought this and adjoining houses in the 1950s.)

Gilbert at the time was working for H.M. Office of Works.

Marmora, Therapia, Mundania and Scutari Roads, built in the 1880s, all derive their curious names from locations now in modern day Turkey, possibly from associations with the stationing of British forces there during the Crimean War.

Trench is known to have served in WWI, based on his medals from service.

In 1920 he was appointed deputy surveyor of the Metropolitan Police, starting a long career serving the police by designing buildings, both office and residential. He was the architect for the West Wickham Transmitting Station, Limehouse Police Station, Bow Road Police Station including stables and married quarters, Charles Rowan House (built 1930) and Crown Lodge (built 1937).

Limehouse Police Station

In 1928, Trench was commissioned by the Metropolitan Police to design a new Police Box, able to not only take calls from public notifying the police force of a crime, but to also allow a “Bobby On The Beat” to sit inside and make himself a cup of tea whilst he waited for a call-out. It began its installation in 1929, with demonstrations at the 1936 Radio Show. The boxes saw much use over the next 40 years, doubling as air raid sirens in WW2. By 1969, however, walkie-talkies and quick response vehicles such as the Ford Zephyr had made it redundant, and the home secretary James Callaghan had nearly all of them demolished. As of present, only 11 remain of the over 1000 originally constructed. It was immortalised in the British TV show Doctor Who after it became the disguise for the titular character’s space-time machine, The TARDIS.

Published work: “Metropolitan Police Buildings”, in The Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles (Volume: 2 issue: 1, page(s): 91-108) Issue published: January 1, 1929
G. Mackenzie Trench, F.R.I.B.A., F.S.I.
Metropolitan Police Architect and Surveyor, New Scotland Yard.

Trench moved to New Zealand, and is recorded as living in Whanganui from 1949, appearing on the NZ Electoral rolls, as retired and residing at “Arles” on Riverbank Road, Whanganui. In 1978 he is listed as living at 150 Anzac Parade, Whanganui.

Whanganui Regional Museum holds a hand-made wooden model of a twelve gun brig made by Trench, with eleven canvas sails and detailed rigging. The model sits on a custom-built wooden base.

Trench fathered two children, Jean Doris Trench (1913–2008) and Kenneth Mackenzie Trench (1923 – 1923). Gilbert and his wife Dorothy Clare Buswell Trench are buried together at Aramoho Cemetery. Dorothy died in 1970, aged 84 and Gilbert in 1979, aged 94.”

Aldgate, outside St Botolph’s Church

From the website of Rupert Harris Conservation Ltd:

“These cast-iron Police Call Posts were manufactured in the early 1930’s by British Ericsson and sited throughout the City of London. The posts enabled the public to call the Police station and were also used for the station to contact the Policeman on the beat in that area. The red signal light would flash if the Constable were required to contact the station. The upper hatch opened to give access to the telephone; the middle door opened horizontally to provide a writing surface and lower door opened to a storage cupboard containing first aid kit and other useful items.

All the posts were decommissioned in the 1960’s, when radio communication took over, and the majority of their contents were removed at that time. Prior to restoration, the condition of the City’s collection was in varying condition…”

From Wikipedia:

“Police boxes predate the era of mobile telecommunications; nowadays members of the British police carry two-way radios and mobile phones rather than relying on fixed kiosks. Most boxes are now disused or have been withdrawn from service.
The typical police box contained a telephone linked directly to the local police station, allowing patrolling officers to keep in contact with the station, reporting anything unusual or requesting help if necessary. A light on top of the box would flash to alert an officer that they were requested to contact the station. Police boxes were usually blue, with the most notable exception being Glasgow, where they were red until the late 1960s. In addition to a telephone, they contained equipment such as an incident book, a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.”

The Sicilian Uprising of January 12th, 1848

Ian Fitzgerald wrote in History Today Volume 48 Issue 1 (January 1998):

The Sicilian Uprising of January 12th, 1848 was the first of several European revolutions.

…On January 9th, an unsigned manifesto issued by a ‘revolutionary committee’ was circulated in Palermo announcing a revolt for Sicilian freedom to take place at the king’s birthday festivities. ‘Dawn on January 12th, 1848, will mark the glorious epoch of universal regeneration,’ it proclaimed, promising that those that met in the main piazza on the day would be given arms. In a bid not to alienate the well-off, property would be respected. Surprised that a genuine revolution would be announced three days in advance, the authorities hastily arrested eleven suspects.

On the morning of the 12th, however, people began to enter the piazza in larger numbers than usual and arms were distributed. Although there appeared to have been no organised leadership, a popular preacher whipped up the crowds in the Fieravecchia – the poorest quarter of the city – and clashes soon broke out. Initially those that fought were a small and motley crew, including some women. They looked no match for the 5,000-strong royal army whose cavalry and artillery they faced, and there were certainly casualties. But it was guerrilla warfare and, as barricades were erected and shops boarded-up, the medieval maze of streets in Palermo and the hostility towards the Bourbon troops from the townsfolk worked to the revolutionaries’ advantage.

News spread, and by the following day peasants from the countryside arrived to join the fray. For them, the revolution was not about articulate political demands, but rather the chance to express frustration over their many hardships. The popular ranks were swelled during the course of the disruption by brigand bands, as outlaws capitalised on the breakdown of government. In the villages and towns outside Palermo, records of land deeds and tax payments were burned and officials murdered. Sheep were killed and woodlands destroyed as land was cleared for cultivation…”

The Cittie of Yorke, High Holborn, London WC1

Above: Entrance to Grays Inn is seen to right of the Cittie of Yorke.

From Historic England entry:

“Public house. Mostly of 1923-4, probably by Ernest R Barrow, replacing earlier wine shop of G Henekey and Co. Front faced in Portland stone with leaded lights, side and rear elevations of stock brick with wooden windows. Tiled roofs. Neo-Tudor style.

EXTERIOR: 4 storeys and cellars. Front symmetrical, divided into 2 vertical units. Ground storey of front with doors at ends, centre with windows above timber base, slightly altered. Above, shallow bay windows left and right rising through 2 storeys and capped with string course carried on ornamental corbels, and then a third storey with single mullioned windows and terminating in parapet with 2 small enriched and shouldered gables. Large clock on ornamental bracket in centre between first and second storeys.

INTERIOR: public entrance on right leading into wide passage with 4-centred timber arches and paved with flagstones.

Front bar conventional with high panelled dado. Rear bar takes the form of a medieval-style hall running north-south with open timberwork and much dark woodwork, and lit from a clerestory and large bay window along east side. Below clerestory, 3 arches of uneven width with a series of snugs behind. On the west side the bar and above it a gallery on thin fluted cast-iron columns, probably Victorian, supporting casks and barrels of perhaps similar date, and above that again a high passage gallery for access to casks running the length of the room, partly supported from roof, partly by lower gallery and with wrought-iron handrail. Fittings include a freestanding triangular cast-iron ornamental stove fireplace with initials ‘TIK’, reputedly from Gray’s Inn, c1815.

HISTORICAL NOTE: an inscription on the fascia reads: ‘Established as the site of a public house in 1430’. The present building retains few traces of pre-twentieth century work.”

My companion enjoyed dinner…(this is how his espresso and Walker & Scott’s
brandy were presented).

Bow Police Station, 111 Bow Road, London E3

From Historic England entry:

“Bow Road Police Station is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * one of the finest stations in East London by John Dixon Butler, the most accomplished of the Metropolitan Police Surveyors; * the stately Baroque façade, ebullient stone dressings and the quality of the craftsmanship distinguish this from contemporary stations; * well-preserved cell block which once housed Sylvia Pankhurst; * group association with the nearby station of 1854 by an earlier surveyor, Charles Reeves.

HISTORY: Bow Road Police Station superseded a station of 1854 by Charles Reeves, which survives nearby and is listed at Grade II. The station originally housed one married inspector, one married constable (and, presumably, their families) and forty unmarried constables. Further accommodation was provided at a section house on Violet Street, Bow. In 1880, Bow was made the principal station of the Division until re-organisation in 1933.

Dixon Butler, a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, succeeded his father, John Butler, to this post in 1895 and served as surveyor until his death in 1920 by which time he had designed over 200 police stations and courts. His period as surveyor is also notable for the architectural quality of his designs. Dixon Butler stations are usually in a domestic style, sensitive to the context of the areas in which they were located, with strong municipal qualities such as handsome iron railings, inscribed lintels identifying the building as a police station, and other stone dressings. Surviving stations illustrate his proficiency across a range of different sites as the Metropolitan Police’s jurisdiction was over a much wider area than comparable public service authorities, such as the London County Council, encompassing Middlesex and sections of other home counties. With this prolificacy came the opportunity to experiment with plan and elevational treatment and it is no surprise, therefore, that some of the most characterful and distinctive buildings in the Metropolitan Police estate are those by John Dixon Butler. In a wider context too, Dixon Butler’s police stations are noted as important components of early C20 townscapes which sit well alongside contemporary municipal buildings, and contribute to the high regard in which Edwardian civic architecture is held.

The Metropolitan Police Force Surveyorship was established in 1842, thirteen years after Sir Robert Peel’s Metropolitan Police Act of 1829. From the first purpose-built police station in 1831, at Bow Street, new stations were built throughout the C19, particularly in the late 1880s following the political unrest of that decade and high-profile events such as the Whitechapel Murders. Victorian police stations were hence built in prominent positions with easy access from the street, in order to advertise the presence of the police to a concerned public. Design often responded to political and social concerns, in the 1880s, for example, following a diphtheria case in Rotherhithe police station, the separate accommodation of police officers and prisoners was recommended. This was then overturned in the 1890s after a volatile police demonstration at Bow Street after which it was thought wise to house constables within the stations, and hence under the supervision of on-duty officers.

“Former Bow Street Magistrates Court and Police Station
Historical note: some of the best-known trials of suffragettes took place at Bow Street Court in the decade before the First World War. The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was founded in Manchester by Emmeline Pankhurst in 1903. The Union adopted militant forms of direct action including large-scale deputations to Parliament that often resulted in high numbers of arrests. Most of the offences were low-level so would be tried in London’s magistrates’ courts, including Bow Street. In 1908 the WSPU produced a leaflet that urged readers to ‘help the suffragettes to rush the House of Commons’ on October 13. Its leaders, Emmeline Pankhurst, Christabel Pankhurst and Flora Drummond, were arrested and tried at Bow Street. Although women were not allowed to practise law at the time, prisoners could defend themselves. Christabel Pankhurst had a law degree and conducted her own defence, becoming the first qualified woman to cross-examine witnesses in a court. A press photographer known to the Union took covert pictures of the trial showing the three defendants in the dock.” (Historic England)

By the time of Dixon Butler’s surveyorship a formula had been established: stations were designed with a mixture of police accommodation and cells; separate access for the police, prisoners and public was provided; and thought was given to the well-being of prisoners. One such occupant of Bow Road Police Station was the women’s suffrage campaigner and socialist Sylvia Pankhurst, who was arrested and held here for smashing windows in February 1913.

The cell block survives largely unaltered. The cells retain their doors with shuttered apertures for monitoring prisoners and inside there are solid half-height partitions indicating where there were once WCs. There are eight individual cells and one larger communal cell, this with a separate ablutions closet.”

“And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want…

…And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.”

Luke 15:11-32, King James Bible.

From Wikipedia:

“The Eastern Orthodox Church traditionally reads this story on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, which in their liturgical year is the Sunday before Meatfare Sunday and about two weeks before the beginning of Great Lent. One common kontakion hymn of the occasion reads:

I have recklessly forgotten Your glory, O Father;
And among sinners I have scattered the riches which You gave to me.
And now I cry to You as the Prodigal:”

From: Elizabeth Bishop – A Miracle for Breakfast (2017), by Megan Marshall:

“The whole “untidy” scene reflected her state of mind, “awful but cheerful,” as she had faced down a lonely birthday in February 1948.

“The Prodigal,” a double sonnet, was inspired by an encounter with one of her aunt Grace’s stepsons, who’d offered her a drink early one morning during her 1946 trip to Nova Scotia. He’d been standing in the pigsty when he held out the bottle of rum, and if Elizabeth wasn’t drunk or hung over herself, there had been many mornings that summer when she was. He’d recognised that in her, and she felt it; he was her double.”

Bow Road tube station

From Wikipedia:

“The station was opened on 11 June 1902 by the Whitechapel and Bow Railway (which was later incorporated into the District line), with the Hammersmith & City line (then the Metropolitan line) following in 1936.

The Great Eastern Railway Bow Road railway station, which closed in 1949, stood on the opposite of Bow Road.

Ownership of the station passed to London Underground in 1950.

The station building is Grade II listed since 27 September 1973. Red bricks form the exterior facade, featuring stone eaves cornice and brick blocking course. The structure is topped with a slate roof, and has round arched doors. The doors are finished with fanlights, with four windows arranged alternately. An enclosed footbridge hangs across the platforms sheltered with canopies, both of which are made of wood. The canopies are barrel-vaulted, supported by cast iron beams and wall brackets, and hexagonal cast iron pillars. The pillars are arranged in line, following the curvature of the platforms. There are 12 pillars on one platform, while the other has 14.

Bow Road station has two platforms, and marks the point where westbound trains from Upminster and Barking enter a tunnel; the gradient of the tunnel approach, which is to the east of the station, is 1 in 28, the steepest on the tube network. The station platforms are below street level, where the western end of the platforms is in tunnel while the eastern end is in an open cutting. Other stations on the District Line are designed in a similar way, such as High Street Kensington and Sloane Square.”