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 The metal windows to the flats have been replaced by plastic frames but those to the stable section survive.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.”