• Behind the Blue Lamp


An early section house stood at 4 Union Place, Chelsea, which may have had an earlier life as a watch house before 1830 when the Metropolitan Police started patrolling in this area. It was brick and tile built, with ten rooms and a yard at the back that was shared, along with a solitary water closet, with the neighbouring house. Another section house existed at Exeter Buildings, Brompton, but it was given up in 1851.

In 1836, a police station existed in Worlds’ End at Milman’s Row, later Milman’s Street. This road, where the former Gorges House once stood, ran from King’s Road down to the river. Milman’s Row was built up on its east side with rows of terraced cottages in 1836. On the west side were two brick and tile-built houses at numbers 1-2 which served as the police station and section house. They were rented, and described as being old in 1845, but there were eleven rooms on the first floor, a yard to the rear and two cells.

A plot of land was leased from Lord Cadogan in Strewan Place, Chelsea from Christmas 1850. Strewan Place was effectively part of the adjoining King’s Road, and the Receiver thereby gained control of a useful corner plot. A police station and section house were built for £1,500 in 1852. This was described as a substantial brick and slate building with a day room, charge room and three cells.

The amount of property in police possession in World’s End increased when Earl Cadogan’s estate leased premises to the Receiver at 389 King’s Road. Adjoining houses at 383-387 were then also purchased, and the freehold bought in 1892 for £2,750. Enlargement works were undertaken at a cost of £7,352 and the resulting new police station, covering the entire corner plot, was taken into use on 9th August 1897.

The 1897 Chelsea Police Station was closed when the new B Division headquarters were taken into use at 2 Lucan Place SW3 at 6.00am on Sunday, 6th August 1939. The old Victorian building was demolished in 1984.

It was at Chelsea Police Station that Acid Bath murderer John Haigh was questioned for the deaths of his six victims, and where actor John Gielgud taken and charged with importuning after making an approach to a plain-clothes policeman in a nearby public toilet.

Chelsea Police Station was closed in 2014, and the entire block at Lucan Place was sold for more than £40 million in 2015.

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.