History: Iconic Wanstead Police Station sold after 127 years in service

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: The former Wanstead Police Station has been sold and boarded up The former Wanstead Police Station has been sold and boarded up

Until its closure in September, Wanstead Police Station was the only London police station left to still have its famous blue lamp outside.

Now with windows boarded up and the famous blue lamp outside the station a thing of the past, the red brick exterior is the only reminder of the old station which opened its doors in Spratt Hall Road 127 years ago.

Before the station existed, a sergeant and three constables from Ilford began to patrol the area before a small temporary station was set up in 1845.

However it did not have any cells and prisoners were sent to Walthamstow police station.

A new building in Spratt Hall Road was built in 1885 in the traditional Queen Anne style, common with 19th Century buildings, normally consisting of terracotta brick work, broad porches and shadowed entrances.

The style was frequently used by Metropolitan Police surveyor John Butler, who designed Wanstead Police station as well as the old Scotland Yard building.

In 1886, at a cost of £2,366, the station opened, consisting of a detached building at the front, with a yard to the rear in which there was another building which held stables and accommodation for married officers to live in with their spouses.

An entry in Jones’ Woodford directory the following year read: “A new station has recently been erected near the Local Board Offices. The force consists of four inspectors, one sergeant and 16 constables.”

Information is known about one officer who was employed four years later called George Reim, who was awarded a special medal for his services in 1896 at the age of 24.

He later received a long-term service medal in 1914, when it was thought he left the force due to his potentially German surname and the start of the First World War.

According to the 1881 census of the George Lane area in South Woodford, previously called Wanstead Lane, many officers who were based at the station lived in the area.

At the station’s centenary in 1986, hundreds of police officers attended and an exhibition was held with photos, old uniforms, pocket books, lamps, truncheons and souvenirs.

Past police officers said the station had managed to retain its friendly atmosphere. 

Up until its closure in September, the original cells were still used to hold suspects, while the old accommodation previously used for married officers made way for the crime squad.

The station was finally closed as part of a range of cuts designed to save the Met £500 million across London by 2015.

Although the station no longer serves its 127-year purpose, the Met says the closure will improve services and 86 extra officers will be placed in the area over the next two years.

The station remains a locally listed building but failed to become nationally listed.

Wanstead Society member Geoff Horsnell said: “We did try to get it nationally listed, but English Heritage told us that, despite its pedigree, it was not sufficiently unique.

“Even so, it remains one of a very small number of Victorian buildings that still have the original stables at the back.

“I would have thought that a building designed by none other than John Butler was important in itself.”

It was confirmed by police that the building would not be used for any further police work and the it is now boarded up after being sold by London estate agent Knight Frank.

A spokesman for Knight Frank said: “I can confirm a deal has been made and the site is no longer available. The details are being finalised.”

Comments (6)

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2:42pm Mon 11 Nov 13

Billy Yerache says...

I hope this fine building remains externally unspoilt and that a sympathetic purchaser considers the area which i believe is now a conservation one.

There was already a guy wanting to build a mosque on the green near the police station and another chap wanting to make a massive block of flats and shops on the quaint little builders yard and shop in the High Street. It is such a shame when quite a unique area has developers intent on just making money without any consideration to how their impact effects the general aesthetics.

Walthamstow Village has had a recent resurgence where people have realised the historical importance of the buildings and location and have restored buildings sympathetically after years of monstrosities appearing like the mosque near St Mary's Road that has had building works going on almost continuously for the past 25 years.

I am told that Leytonstone Police Station is to become an Islamic Teaching Centre or similar and it would be a shame if this Police Station could not be made into some form of housing with say four or five units rather than the usual over-development. As long as it does not have a massive Starbucks Sign or Pizza whatever flashing across the green then I think the resident will be pleased.
I hope this fine building remains externally unspoilt and that a sympathetic purchaser considers the area which i believe is now a conservation one. There was already a guy wanting to build a mosque on the green near the police station and another chap wanting to make a massive block of flats and shops on the quaint little builders yard and shop in the High Street. It is such a shame when quite a unique area has developers intent on just making money without any consideration to how their impact effects the general aesthetics. Walthamstow Village has had a recent resurgence where people have realised the historical importance of the buildings and location and have restored buildings sympathetically after years of monstrosities appearing like the mosque near St Mary's Road that has had building works going on almost continuously for the past 25 years. I am told that Leytonstone Police Station is to become an Islamic Teaching Centre or similar and it would be a shame if this Police Station could not be made into some form of housing with say four or five units rather than the usual over-development. As long as it does not have a massive Starbucks Sign or Pizza whatever flashing across the green then I think the resident will be pleased. Billy Yerache

4:22pm Mon 11 Nov 13

rachael.knowles says...

MorrisHickey wrote:
......to have the infamous blue lamp......" (Listed items).

What on earth is "infamous" about it? Crap journalism.
The blue Met police lamp outside London police stations is iconic...like red post boxes or red London buses. It's recognised everywhere.
[quote][p][bold]MorrisHickey[/bold] wrote: ......to have the infamous blue lamp......" (Listed items). What on earth is "infamous" about it? Crap journalism.[/p][/quote]The blue Met police lamp outside London police stations is iconic...like red post boxes or red London buses. It's recognised everywhere. rachael.knowles

7:03pm Mon 11 Nov 13

mdj says...

..'the Met says the closure will improve services and 86 extra officers will be placed in the area over the next two years.'

Quite simply what on earth does this mean? 86 officers in Wanstead, or London, or what?
At the same time they tell us that crime is going down, so why the need?
Are we asked to believe that the £500 million now being cut was in fact stopping effective policing, and should by rights have been cut years ago?

The trouble with being PR-obsessed, and telling people what you think they want to hear, is that you stop hearing what you're actually saying.
..'the Met says the closure will improve services and 86 extra officers will be placed in the area over the next two years.' Quite simply what on earth does this mean? 86 officers in Wanstead, or London, or what? At the same time they tell us that crime is going down, so why the need? Are we asked to believe that the £500 million now being cut was in fact stopping effective policing, and should by rights have been cut years ago? The trouble with being PR-obsessed, and telling people what you think they want to hear, is that you stop hearing what you're actually saying. mdj

11:41am Tue 12 Nov 13

MorrisHickey says...

rachael.knowles wrote:
MorrisHickey wrote:
......to have the infamous blue lamp......" (Listed items).

What on earth is "infamous" about it? Crap journalism.
The blue Met police lamp outside London police stations is iconic...like red post boxes or red London buses. It's recognised everywhere.
That was not the point. The item listed on your website said Infamous - and has now been changed to what it should have been. No acknowledgement of error, of course............
[quote][p][bold]rachael.knowles[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]MorrisHickey[/bold] wrote: ......to have the infamous blue lamp......" (Listed items). What on earth is "infamous" about it? Crap journalism.[/p][/quote]The blue Met police lamp outside London police stations is iconic...like red post boxes or red London buses. It's recognised everywhere.[/p][/quote]That was not the point. The item listed on your website said Infamous - and has now been changed to what it should have been. No acknowledgement of error, of course............ MorrisHickey

1:59pm Tue 12 Nov 13

Pie-Face says...

If memory serves me correctly, George Reim (or one of his family) ran a bakery on the corner of Mansfield Road and George Lane in Wanstead, not South Woodford. The 'George Lane' in Wanstead ran from The George down towards what is now the Redbridge roundabout and was swept away by the Eastern Avenue.
If memory serves me correctly, George Reim (or one of his family) ran a bakery on the corner of Mansfield Road and George Lane in Wanstead, not South Woodford. The 'George Lane' in Wanstead ran from The George down towards what is now the Redbridge roundabout and was swept away by the Eastern Avenue. Pie-Face

12:59pm Fri 22 Nov 13

Michael John Goodwin says...

I am the grandson of George Reim.
I have his 'Special Service Medal' & his 'LOnf Service Medal' as well as his truncheon, whistle, & uniform fittings. As the Metropolitan Police Archives told me many years ago that they did not keep records for 'Special Constables' I have not been able to find out what he did to get the Special Service Medal in 1896 - He was only 24 years of age at this time. His brother-in-law was Arthur Henry Puffett & he was a police constable & based in Peckham, Surrey when he married George's sister, Eliza Mary Reim, on 9th April 1885 at Christ Church, Wanstead.. They returned to Peckham until Eliza Mary died in 1895 when he returned to Wanstead. The police sergeant at Wanstead in April 1881 had become the police superintendant at the Peckham Police station by April 1891.
Many years ago I carried out research on the police officers in Apr 1881 & Apr 1891 - There were many living in & around the George Lane area of WANSTEAD.
If any one has information on what my grabdfather did in 1896 to get the mewdal I would love to know - I now live near Cardigan in West Wales am not able to rewturn to Wanstead & carry out any researc into this.
I can be contacted direct on - john.brynsiriol@virg
in.net
I am the grandson of George Reim. I have his 'Special Service Medal' & his 'LOnf Service Medal' as well as his truncheon, whistle, & uniform fittings. As the Metropolitan Police Archives told me many years ago that they did not keep records for 'Special Constables' I have not been able to find out what he did to get the Special Service Medal in 1896 - He was only 24 years of age at this time. His brother-in-law was Arthur Henry Puffett & he was a police constable & based in Peckham, Surrey when he married George's sister, Eliza Mary Reim, on 9th April 1885 at Christ Church, Wanstead.. They returned to Peckham until Eliza Mary died in 1895 when he returned to Wanstead. The police sergeant at Wanstead in April 1881 had become the police superintendant at the Peckham Police station by April 1891. Many years ago I carried out research on the police officers in Apr 1881 & Apr 1891 - There were many living in & around the George Lane area of WANSTEAD. If any one has information on what my grabdfather did in 1896 to get the mewdal I would love to know - I now live near Cardigan in West Wales am not able to rewturn to Wanstead & carry out any researc into this. I can be contacted direct on - john.brynsiriol@virg in.net Michael John Goodwin

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