• Behind the Blue Lamp


There was a Station House with a sergeant in charge at East Greenwich, shown with an address of 2 Park Row, which was rented from Lewis Glenton of Pageot Cottage, Blackheath, for 21 years from 1849. The premises appeared to be not up to standard, as there was a stipulation it should be occupied only when thoroughly repaired. The rent was reviewed yearly and cost the Receiver £63 per annum. Later, in 1873, the Freehold was purchased for £1,000.

It was described as a substantial brick and slate built house, having some 14 rooms over three floors which included a charge room, kitchen scullery, thee cells and a two-stall stable. The station also provided accommodation at the time for four married constables and one single constable.

Police Orders in January 1864 referred to East Greenwich (Park Row) Police Station for the first time, when it was shown as a station on R or Greenwich Division with strength of four sergeants and 19 constables.

By 1874 permission had been obtained from the Home Office for a freehold site to be purchased, since the old station was no longer fit for purpose. In 1881 it was reported that this was an old house with poor administrative accommodation, and a water supply that was insufficient for the station’s needs. It must have been very uncomfortable to live and work there, since the surveyors - when commenting on the sewers, sinks, sewer pipes and gas mains - suggested work to be carried out urgently. In 1893 Park Row became a Sectional Station of Westcombe Park, but it would take a further ten years before the police station was replaced.

New premises found at the junction of Park Row and Trafalgar Road were purchased on 22nd April 1902. The cost to the police was £8,250, the premises having been previously called The Good Duke Humphrey Hall and Coffee Tavern’.

Instructions were given for the re-location of the Divisional Headquarters for R Division to East Greenwich just three months before the outbreak of the Second World War. As with the Great War, because of their military significance Greenwich and Woolwich became the focus of German bombers, flying bombs and rockets. Between June 1940 and July 1941 the area suffered widespread damage.

On the evening of 10th/11th May 1941 six 1,000-pound bombs blew up most of Trafalgar Road, severely damaging the Police Station and killing Reserve Police Inspector Arthur Wells. As a result of the damage the headquarters returned to Blackheath Road.

Trafalgar Road was very unfortunate as three years later, on 8th July 1944, a V2 rocket hit it and five people were injured. After that only skeleton staff were left behind to man the token Police Office, the remainder being transferred to Blackheath Road. Some fourteen regular and auxiliary R Division officers were killed during enemy air raids in the war, and between June 1944 and March 1945 no fewer than 241 flying bombs and ‘Doodlebugs’, and 92 V2s, landed on R Division.

East Greenwich Police Station was shut for police purposes in 1962 at the same time as Blackheath Road. The new station, and current Greenwich Police Station situated on Royal Hill, opened in May 1962 and consolidated policing in Greenwich.

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

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© 2020 ADAM WOOD.
Book content ©Mango Books.