Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Liverpool (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 35329 93640






Former Divisional Police HQ, Parade Station, Bridewell and North District Fire Brigade Station, 1885, by Thomas Shelmerdine in Old English style.

MATERIALS: Common brick in English Bond with pressed brick & sandstone dressings. Mullion and transomed windows. Raised brick plinth with stone caps to entire complex. Police and fire station with hipped, tiled roofs with substantial end and ridge stacks. Pitched slate roofs to parade hall and engine house.

LAYOUT: The complex is bordered to front (W) by Westminster Road, Bradewell Street to N, car park (formerly Rockley Street) to S. Fire station sited on the corner of Westminster Road and Bradewell Street with the police station attached to the right and set back from Westminster Road. To the rear, beyond a central police yard, is a large parade room and fire engine house which are both gable end onto Bradewell Street. A high wall encloses the small central yard area.

EXTERIOR: Main fire station building: 2 storeys with pressed brick quoining and quoined window surrounds, stone lintels and sills, projecting stringcourse below first floor, dentil eaves cornice, tiled hipped roof with tile ridge crest and finials. 3-bay front to Westminster Road with two large Gothic arched vehicle entrances of moulded brick, upper section of original double doors survives to left entrance (lower part bricked up), later door inserted into original right door, decorative tiled panel above with relief lettering reads 'FIRE ENGINE STATION', brick hoodmould continues across to adjacent window to the right. This is a 6-light stone mullion and transom window. Three 6-light windows in same style to first floor, 4 panes to upper lights. Large, crow stepped end stacks. Elaborate stone carving of Liver Bird to NW corner with inscription 'ERECTED AD 1885'. 4-bay front to Bradewell Street with 8-light mullion and transom window to ground floor left, doorway to centre left with multipaned rectangular overlight, 2-light transom window to right, 4-light window to far right with brick mullions. Raised roofline to left bay with own hipped roof. 4-light sash windows with 4-pane upper lights to first floor, smaller 3-light windows to centre bays (sashes survive to right), 2-light sash windows to right-most in same style. Stone sills, mullions and transoms. Large stack above right bay with gableted stepped sides. Dentil eaves cornice.

Rear elevation, stone mullion and transom windows to ground floor of fire station (some bricked up) sash windows to first floor of fire station (all in same style as front elevation), cast-iron fire escape to rear of fire station.

Main police station building: 3-bay with central bay gabled. Spire rising from centre of roof with open galleried intermediary stage in form of bell tower. To the right there is a ridge stack. Ridge of hipped roof finished with a crest. Ground floor entrance door and mullion and transom windows set behind high wall to street frontage. 5-light mullion window to first floor of central gabled bay, each light with vertical sliding sashes with 4 panes to upper sashes, flanking 3-light windows to bays either side in same style. Cast-iron rainwater goods. Rear elevation: Pressed brick decorative band between ground and first floor with a large 6-light stair window above. The central bay has a raised roofline to accommodate a partial dormer window. 3 cell windows (complete with bars) to far left of ground floor, original wide panelled door to centre.

Engine House: Principal elevation is the gable end fronting onto Bradewell Street. This is large, 2 storied with pressed and moulded brick ground floor, two large square entrance openings with chamfered sides, folding doors, wide shallow oriel window supported on carved console to first floor incorporating panel reading 'STATION HOUSE', moulded brick cornice above. Narrow arrow loop style window to centre with pressed brick arched head, projecting moulded brick stringcourse above. Chequerboard diapered brickwork to apex of gable. To the left side elevation there are multi-light segmental arched casement windows (4-3-3-5) to ground floor, two casement windows to first floor; that to right a later insertion. The right side of the building forms a party wall with the parade room. The pitched roof is tiled. Small outbuildings to small rear yard behind engine house.

Parade Room Building Large gabled parade room with large square opening of moulded brick to ground floor left accessing the single bay engine house constructed in 1907, original doors survive underneath late C20 roller shutter. Smaller later inserted opening to right, slender window (blocked up) above left, later slender window directly above. Entrance doorway to right with shallow ogee arched head and stone surround to upper part, tiled panel above with relief lettering reads 'PARADE ROOM'. Brick pilaster strips to full height of building; those to upper floor levels narrower. Later inserted uPVC casement window to first floor level. Corbel table between first and second floor levels. 3 narrow arrow loop style windows with arched heads set between 4 pilaster strips to level above, projecting horizontal pressed brickwork bands, narrow projecting horizontal and vertical brickwork bands to apex of gable. Rear of parade room in same style as front with doorway to ground floor left, casement windows to ground and first floor. West side elevation (facing the rear of the fire and police stations across the yard) has an extremely large stack to centre. The pitch slate roof has dormer style vents.

Station Yard There is a central yard between the Parade Room and the buildings fronting onto Westminster Road. This yard includes a single storey outbuilding and is bounded by a high brick wall to both the north and south. The north wall has moulded copings and a recessed doorway into the yard area with a moulded surround and a stone keystone with fleur-de-lys carving. Above is a panel above with relief lettering reading 'DISTRICT POLICE OFFICE¿. To the left is a recessed window in a similar style which originally served a small storage area behind (now demolished). The south wall has a doorway with a stone lintel with a panel above with relief lettering reading 'POLICE STATION'. To the right there is a large inserted opening for vehicle access.

INTERIOR: Original floors survive throughout (some under later coverings).

Fire station: Appliance room fronts onto Westminster Road with stone flag floor, large brick and sandstone fireplace to N wall, bar counter inserted to rear right of room in former small internal yard area (infilled at ground floor level only). Former station office to right, S wall with doorway knocked through to connect to police station. Original corner fireplace and moulded cornicing to rear office fronting onto Bradewell Street. Between this and the appliance room there is the entrance hall with a sweeping dog-leg stair (damaged to lower part, balusters lost), stick and turned balusters to first floor landing. First floor incurred fire damage with rooms opened up, light well to centre right (originally small enclosed yard).

Police station: Fireplaces removed but chimneybreasts survive, moulded architraves to some doorways. Moulded cornicing to large front office. Large room to rear with brick vaulted ceiling (probably charge office). Former corridor leading to cell range to the south incorporated into front office. Cell range: Originally 4 cells, brick-vaulted ceilings, cement floor, iron gates, original 14-light windows with metal bars. Large double cell to rear left, one cell converted into toilets, cell to SW corner converted into gated corridor leading to enclosed front yard, complete cell to rear right with original metal door, toilet, wooden benches. Superintendent's accommodation to first floor: Moulded window architraves, moulded cornicing and decorative classical style frieze to front centre room. Timber dog-leg stair with turned balusters, wooden handrail and newel posts, wall string, large 6-light multipaned stair window, doorway to bottom of stair into police station blocked up, original rear 6-panelled door.

Engine house: Herringbone patterned brick floor to appliance room, coffered ceiling, patterned brickwork to walls, removable partition to centre, pit to rear of appliance room (covered over). Screened station office to rear right, chimneybreast (fireplace removed), late C20 suspended ceiling. Original fireman's pole converted into spiral stair. First floor with large front room with built-in cupboards beneath main window, small rooms to rear with some original panelled doors, door architraves, picture rail. Outbuildings to rear yard contain battery store, outdoor toilets and storage room.

Parade room: Open to roof, 7 wide arch-braced queen post roof trusses supported on corbelled brackets. Inserted ground and first floor offices with metal and timber dog-leg stair to rear. Removable mezzanine structure towards rear. 1907 single bay engine house to front left. Former locker and storage rooms for adjacent engine house now used for storage, connecting door blocked up. Original dog-leg stair to front leading up to first floor offices (modernised), connecting door into first floor of engine house blocked up.

HISTORY: Westminster Road fire & police station was constructed in 1885 when the Liverpool police force was being decentralised and reorganised into divisions similar to the Metropolitan police. It was built to the designs of Thomas Shelmerdine, Liverpool Corporation Surveyor who was responsible for municipal building projects in the city at that time. The station buildings cost £10,056 and the land was bought for £2,740. Residential accommodation was provided on the first floor of the police station for the Superintendent and sergeant. Originally there was no accommodation on site for the fire brigade Inspector and Sergeant who lived in nearby houses on Westminster Road and Leven Street. However, after the start of WWII it was required by Government that accommodation had to be provided in fire stations for the crews. As a result, the first floor of the fire station and some former ground floor office/storage rooms became dormitories. The complex originally had a small number of stables behind the engine house on Bradewell Street but these were demolished c.1917 to allow more space for vehicles after police transport had become fully motorised. The police and fire brigade at Westminster Road was originally one police brigade force founded in 1836 in which police officers also acted as firemen and provided ambulances. However, after the passing of the 1947 fire Services Act, which led to the creation of fire brigades in their own right the forces separated in 1948. Over the years the property's different areas alternated use between the police and fire Service. The engine house on Bradewell Street was originally used to house police vehicles and ambulances and the fire station was located to the front on Westminster Road and within a single bay engine house (created in 1907) in the parade room. However, in the 1950s the use was swapped over and the fire brigade took over the Bradewell Street engine house completely and the police used the single bay in the parade room as a garage. In the 1970s the fire Service regained control of the single bay garage, as police use at Westminster Road dwindled and it was converted into a night room. The fire brigade and police moved out of the premises in 1976 and 1985 respectively and the buildings were subsequently converted for industrial use and commercial use as a public house.

SOURCES: Liverpool City Archives: Report of the Head Constable. 1905 Merseyside Police Archives: Book of Police Station Plans. 1926 Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Archives: Service Records. 1882-1980s Pevsner N & Pollard R. 2006. 'Lancashire: Liverpool and the South-West'. The Buildings of England series. New Haven & London: Yale University Press.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION: Westminster Road fire & police station is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* It is a distinctive and well-preserved example of a late C19 police and fire station complex incorporating a divisional police HQ, parade station, bridewell and district fire brigade station * It was designed by Thomas Shelmerdine, City Corporation Surveyor who has one grade II* listed and seven grade II listed municipal buildings to his name * It is an uncommon and important survival of a late C19 large-scale fire and police station complex * The complex was constructed at a time in Liverpool when police services were being decentralised and new divisions were being created. As such it represents a transition to more localised and community based stations rather than those located solely within the city centre * The exterior is a well-designed and striking composition in Old English style that successfully conveys the importance and function of the complex through architectural styling and the use of imagery, such as the stone carving of the Liver Bird (city emblem) to the main elevation * It is remarkably unaltered externally and displays a high level of architectural distinction using high quality materials * The floor plans of the buildings remain clearly readable * Notwithstanding later alteration and some fire damage to one first floor section of the fire station, the interior of the buildings retain a considerable number of original features.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Pollard, R, The Buildings of England: Lancashire, Liverpool and the South-West, (2006)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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