Former Senior Constable's residence, police station, magistrates court and fire station
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- St Leonard's Road, Windsor, SL4 3BL
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- Statutory Address:
- St Leonard's Road, Windsor, SL4 3BL
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Windsor and Maidenhead (Unitary Authority)
- Non Civil Parish
- National Grid Reference:
A former Senior Constable's residence, police station, magistrates court and fire station of 1907, by Clerk of Works E Averne under the direction of the Borough Surveyor E A Strickland.
Reasons for Designation
The former, Senior Constable’s residence, police station, magistrates court and fire station, of 1905-1907, St Leonard's Road, Windsor, is listed for the following principal reasons:
* for its interesting and exuberant historicist composition, including Jacobean, Baroque and Classical detailing;
* the main entrance hall is richly decorated with stone panelling, cartouches and a good quality stone staircase with bronze astrolabe;
* the overall plan is still legible, and reflects the complexity of housing the connected but separate civic functions.
* the survival of the original fire appliance doors in unaltered openings is notable.
* as an example of a complex, civic building which utilised late-C19 central government funding for police stations, to house the four functions of Senior Constable's residence, police station, magistrates court and fire station.
The building was constructed to provide a Senior Constable's residence, police station, magistrates court, and fire station. It was designed by the Clerk of Works, E Averne, under the direction of the Borough Surveyor, E A Strickland, and constructed in 1905 by the contractor Y J Lovell. The laying of the foundation stone by Prince Christian was recorded in the August 1905 edition of The Builder. The article described the plan of the building as having a basement drill room, with public lavatories, and a room for engine repairs. On the ground floor there was a court with adjoining magistrates' and solicitors' consulting rooms. This floor also had a waiting room, charge room, inspector's room, and eight separate male or female cells. On the first floor there was a watch committee room, caretaker's room, parade room, recreation room and accommodation for six unmarried police constables. The southern end of the building housed the Senior Constable. In the fire station section, there were self-opening doors, which were operated from within the appliance bays, and the caretaker lived in rooms above. Construction was completed in 1907, and the building was opened by the Mayor of Windsor, Sir William Shipley.
Text on the 1912 version of the Ordnance Survey map shows that the majority of the building was used as a police station, with only the northern end used as a fire station. The map also records that the yard to the rear contained a detached service block to the western boundary, and possibly a practice tower; but these structures are no longer extant. The combined facility was in operation until 1966, when all the services were relocated. The building is now (2019) in use as offices and as an arts centre.
Historically, fire fighting was informally organised, but after the Fire of London in 1666, fire insurance companies began to establish their own brigades, and the profession of fire-fighting developed. The first truly municipal fire brigade was created in Edinburgh in 1824, and the trend expanded throughout England, culminating in London by 1866. These establishments focused first on providing equipment, along with a trained and paid workforce. From the 1850s, specialist fire stations began to be built, and a recognisable building type was established. The need for brigade staff to 'live-in’, prompted the design of larger stations, which provided domestic as well as operational facilities. From 1860 to the inter-war period the language, layout and functionality of fire stations remained fairly consistent. A number of stations were designed by architects, and central government funding for policing provision, prompted the building of combined police and fire stations.
Horse-drawn vehicles were the norm up to 1920, after which they were replaced by motorised appliances, resulting in the adaption of existing stations, particularly enlargement of the engine doors. Watch towers, which were once functional lookouts or hose drying devices, later became more symbolic structures, and were eventually superseded by separate practice towers. A watch-system of non-residential shift cover was also introduced in the 1920s, which allowed smaller stations to be built, however some larger regional headquarters were also constructed. During the later part of the C20, town and city fire services were often relocated outside of the centre, leaving the earlier fire stations redundant.
By the end of the C19, many of the larger English boroughs operated both police and fire services in a combined Police Fire Brigade under the control of the Senior Constable. As a result, a number of purpose built police stations were also fire stations, reflecting their dual role in serving the public and assuring their safety. Local authorities favoured combined services on the grounds of economy and especially since local police expenditure attracted a 50% government grant. Communication between the various functions of administration, operational police facilities, custody facilities and courts would be controlled, potentially with separate entrances and circulation. In central police stations a grandiose architectural style was frequently adopted to project the civic identity and wealth of the borough. At the Windsor site, the police station and Senior Constable's residence have been converted into offices, along with most of the basement. The former magistrates court and legal offices have been opened up and fitted out as a theatre, which also necessitated the removal of the court room fitted furniture. The former fire station has been converted to a cafe and ticket office on the ground floor, with offices on the first floor. To the rear, the building was extended behind the magistrates court in the later-C20 to provide toilets and a changing room for the theatre, and rear access for the offices.
A former Senior Constable's residence, police station, magistrates' court and fire station of 1905-1907, by Clerk of Works E Averne under the direction of the Borough Surveyor E A Strickland. MATERIALS: red brick in Flemish bond, reconstituted stone dressings, and a clay-tile roof. PLAN: the building is long and L-shaped, and consists of two storeys and a basement. The principal elevation faces east on to St Leonard's Road. At the north end there is a former fire station with a pedestrian entrance and appliance bays to the ground floor, and offices above. The magistrates' court and police station make up the centre of the building, and include the main entrance, the former courtroom, and offices. At the southern end of the structure, and on the return into St Mark's Place, there is the former residence of the Senior Constable, which has its own entrance. At the rear of the building there is a vehicle yard. EXTERIOR: the principal elevation is designed in the Edwardian free style, and is principally Baroque in character. The road front is divided into sections which reflect the different activities which were originally housed within; most prominent at the centre is the former magistrates court, with three bays set between projecting porch wings. North of this is the fire station, with the police station and Senior Constable’s House to the southern end. At ground floor level on the road front, the elevation is characterised by quoins and banded piers, with Gibbs-type window surrounds and transomed windows. There are two, elaborate two-storey porches (entrances to the fire station and magistrates court) which have lugged architraves and Ionic capitals. A dentil cornice runs along the length of the building. The pitched roof is hidden behind a brick parapet, and is enlivened by copper-roofed ventilation towers, with Classical detailing. Pedimented gables surmount the porches and shaped gables delineate the principal sections of the building. At the northern end, the fire station consists of four bays. To the south, the first two bays project forward to form an elaborate porch. It has round-headed windows set within Gibbs-type stone surrounds, alongside an oculus window above the pedestrian entrance. The original timber door has been replaced with a glass version. Set-back and to the north, the remaining bays each have an original appliance door. They stand beneath a plain stone architrave, inscribed with the words ‘FIRE STATION’, and supported on banded-piers. On the first floor, the windows are paired sashes with one lower pane and two x two above. Above the dentil cornice, there is a central, blind oculus. The return elevation facing on to St Mary's Road is similar in character but more plain. South of the fire station, the magistrates court is set-back between the pedimented porches, and is formed of three bays which are more Jacobean in style. In the centre and set into the cornice, there is a round-headed gable which frames a carved Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom, depicting a lion and a unicorn. Below, there is a four-pane, transom window and to either side there is a high-set, Diocletian version with a round-headed centerpiece. All windows have leaded lights and the upper examples have stained glass with circle decoration, and the date '1906'. Below the fenestration there are three stone plat bands. Between the magistrates court and the police station to the southern end, there is another elaborate porch with round-headed windows set within Gibbs-type stone surrounds. The entrance doors have been replaced with C21 glass screens. The police station continues south and is formed of five bays, the first three of which have transom windows in stone architraves. They are tripartite to the ground floor and intersected by three stone plat bands, while on the first floor they are paired sashes with one lower pane, and two x two above. To the south end the remaining bays are surmounted by a blind stone oculus window, under a shaped gable. Below, there is also a stone oculus window and a former entrance to the police station (now a window). The Senior Constable's residence is asymmetrical and faces south on to St Mark's Place. It is domestic in scale, and Classical in style. It is formed of six bays over two storeys, with a basement. Red brick is used on the elevations, and the pitched roof is clay-tiled. The openings are framed by flat-faced stone architraves, and the windows are sashes with a single pane below, and two x two above. The first three bays to the east end project, and have a central timber entrance door with multiple glass panes to the upper section. Above the entrance door there is a decorative round-headed window which has stained glass in multiple-panes, with scroll decoration. There is a bay window to the east at ground floor level. The remaining bays to the west, are more plain and progressively step back, terminating at the entrance to the rear yard. The rain goods across the entire building are square in section, and carry an embossed 'W'. The rear of the building is more plain and is faced in white-painted brick. The fenestration consists of two-pane sashes above moulded stone cills. Behind the magistrates court there is a late-C20 extension* which is two-storey and constructed of red brick. It is plain and functional. INTERIOR: the fire station appliance bays retain their open plan, but are fitted-out as seating areas. The former watch office has timber-panelling beneath a dado rail, and is now connected to the magistrates court by late-C20 fire doors. The first floor is arranged as offices, one of which has a tiled fireplace with a timber surround. The magistrates court is now set out as a theatre, but retains its tall timber-panelling to both sides. The ceiling is gently curved and has moulded ribs, springing from a cornice.The theatre seating*, stage*, and all equipment* associated with presenting performances are excluded from the listing. The northern end has a control room* above the seating, with connecting links * to a changing room housed in the late-C20 extension* to the rear. The entrance hall to the former magistrates court is richly decorated, and Classical in design. The ground floor has grey-coloured, stone panelling below a cornice. To the north side, there is a round-headed broken pediment, supported on paired granite columns with Ionic capitals. The pediment has a cartouche with the entwined letters 'VSV', and swag detailing to either side, above hardwood four-panelled doors, surmounted by smaller pediments. Above the entrance door, the arrangement is similar, but the cartouche has an image of Windsor Castle in relief. This is also the case for the south-side, but with a single door below a late-C20 marble sign, and the cartouche has the entwined letters 'JH'. There is a stone doorway to the rear of the hall (integral to the stone stairs), which also has a small pediment above, and this example is enlivened with a round-headed relieving arch and a pointed arch with foliage moulding. The central winder staircase is made of stone and has closed strings. It has a solid panelled-balustrade, and a broad, rounded banister. This rises and curves away from an octagonal newel post, which is surmounted by a brass astrolabe. The stairs have a half-landing where there is a six-panel timber door to the former magistrates court. The upper walls and barrel-vaulted ceiling have timber mouldings, giving the impression of panelling. To the front and rear of the hall there is a pair of leaded light, casement windows, bracketed by granite columns with Ionic capitals. To the sides, granite pilasters with Ionic capitals rest on stone brackets, and appear to support the ceiling. To the front of the hall there is a ground floor vestibule and to the first floor, an internal balcony, both of which have good quality hardwood joinery and glazed timber or solid doors, with brass fittings. The former police station has been fitted out as offices and is functional. The Senior Constable's residence has also been converted to offices but retains some good quality joinery, ceiling cornices, and two decorative fireplace surrounds. The wooden stairs are dog-leg with closed strings. They have a moulded-timber handrail, above spindle-type balusters. SUBSIDIARY ITEMS: along the length of the east facing principal elevation (except in front of the appliance bays) there is a run of square-section, stone gate-piers with moulded caps. They are connected by wrought-iron railings, which are characterised by a central wheel design, with spokes radiating out to a square-frame. * Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the features mentioned above are not of special architectural or historic interest, however any works which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require LBC and this is a matter for the LPA to determine.
Books and journals
Tyack, G, Bradley, S, Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England Berkshire , (1994), 703
'Windsor Police and Fire Station' in The Builder, , Vol. 89, (19 August 1905), 210
Royal Windsor History website, accessed 28/8/2018 from http://www.thamesweb.co.uk/windsor/windsorhistory/thenandnow/TheOldCourt.html
Historic England Report 6310 by Ecus on Police Stations of England 1850-1995 v1 dated 4 March 2015
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