• Behind the Blue Lamp


The local Old Watch House known as the Old Cage was surrendered to the parochial authorities as being no longer required for police purposes in April 1851. The Metropolitan Police subsequently decided to build a police station on K or Stepney Division at ‪386 Barking Road at the junction with New Barn Street, Plaistow, and it was called Barking Road New Station.

It was built in 1862 and cost £1,729. Ground rent of £21 per annum was paid to the owner Mr Benjamin Bosher of ‪12 Duke Street, Manchester Square. The leasehold was purchased for 100 years and was set to expire in 1962, however it was essential for the freehold to be purchased and this occurred in May 1899 at a cost of £880.

The ground floor of the station had five main rooms: an inspector’s office, a charge room, a mess room, a library, and a kitchen and drying room. There were also two cells. The basement was for the storage of coal and had one room which was used as a cleaning room. On the first floor there was accommodation for one married sergeant and six constables. It was situated in K or Stepney Division.

On 14th August 1869 the name of the station was changed to Plaistow Police Station. One famous officer who served here was Chief Inspector Donald Swanson, who was appointed Station Sergeant of Plaistow station on 3rd October 1874.

At the turn of the century there was a need to update the housing stock of police stations within the Metropolis, and the station at Plaistow was identified as one for re-siting. Accordingly, in August 1908 the freehold of the premises a short distance away from the old station was acquired.

The site was located at 444, 446 & ‪448 Barking Road, and was purchased for £2,360. Tenders were accepted for the building and a new station was constructed after all the houses were demolished, opening in September 1912.

It was closed to the public in December 2017.

Information taken from the new book BEHIND THE BLUE LAMP. Click here to learn more.

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© 2020 ADAM WOOD.
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