Southminster former police station and associated coach house
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- Queenborough Road, Southminster, Essex, CM0 7AD
The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1472418.pdf
The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.
This copy shows the entry on 27-Jul-2021 at 10:21:05.
- Statutory Address:
- Queenborough Road, Southminster, Essex, CM0 7AD
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Maldon (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
Former police station complex comprising a police station and attached magistrates’ court, superintendent’s house, and married constable’s house, and detached coach house, built 1901 to the designs of County Architect Frank Whitmore, now vacant.
Reasons for Designation
Southminster former police station and its attached magistrates’ court, superintendent’s house, married constable’s house, and detached coach house, built in 1901 to the designs of County Architect Frank Whitmore, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
Architectural interest: * for the design of this group of buildings by County Architect Frank Whitmore, an accomplished architect with a number of listed municipal buildings and police stations to his name; * for the high degree of survival of the original complex, which included a police station, magistrates’ court, police residences, and a detached coach house; * the plan form of the police station, cells, yards, magistrates’ court, and houses, with their separate entrances, remains clearly legible; * for the architectural quality of the Queen Anne style composition and well-articulated elevations, which are deftly handled and well executed; * the interior retains a number of interesting original features, including but not limited to the police offices, custody area with cells, layout and stairs of the former houses, and layout and ceiling of the former magistrates court which is concealed by a late-C20 suspended ceiling.
Historic interest: * as a well-preserved example of a municipal building, which housed the functions of a police station, magistrates’ court and police residences.
Group value: * for its group value with nearby listed residential buildings on Queenborough Road and North End, including Spratt’s Farmhouse, 2 North End, The Laurels, and Home Farmhouse (each listed at Grade II).
Southminster police station was constructed in 1901 to the designs of County Architect Frank Whitmore (1844-1920), an influential architect in Essex in the late C19 and early C20. Born in Wickham Market in Suffolk, he is thought to have spent most of his life in Chelmsford. Early in his career he worked as an architect’s assistant and then for the Norfolk County Surveyors’ office. After gaining this experience, in 1863 he was selected to work for the Chinese Government to set up a new settlement. After four years he returned to England due to his father’s ill health, when he was appointed as surveyor to the Chelmsford Highway Board and then as County Surveyor for West Suffolk. Whitmore's earliest documented work is an ornate cast iron bridge over the River Chelmer in Howe Street near Great Waltham (1871). Early in his career he also built a new primary school at Ford End, Great Waltham (1873) and restored Mashbury Church (1873, listed at Grade II*). In 1881 he was appointed surveyor to the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, acted as provisional mayor of Chelmsford prior to the Borough being formed in 1888, and then as mayor between 1892 and 1893.
Whitmore served as County Architect for Essex between 1900 and 1914, during which time he designed a number of police stations and municipal buildings. At Chelmsford, Whitmore designed the police station on New Street (1903-1904, listed at Grade II), an extension to Shire Hall (1903-1904, listed at Grade II*), and part of the County Hall complex (1909, extended 1929-1939 by J Stuart, listed at Grade II). Whitmore is credited with the design of Severalls psychiatric hospital and its grounds near Colchester, the administrative building of which is listed at Grade II. He is also credited with the design of police stations at Maldon (1913), Harwich (1913-1915), and Rochford (1914), constructed in an increasingly Edwardian Baroque style.
The police station complex at Southminster is shown as ‘Police Station’ on the 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey (OS) map published in 1922. The station formerly had wrought-iron railings on a low plinth wall, red brick piers with stone dressings, and wrought-iron gates to Queenborough Road and Sheepcotes Lane, however these were removed in the mid- or late C20, and only the low plinth wall and tops of some piers remain. A single-storey porch was added to the rear of the police station in the late C20. The former magistrates’ court was adapted for use as a public library in the late C20, and both the former police station and library were closed around 2015.
Former police station complex comprising a police station and attached magistrates’ court, superintendent’s house, and married constable’s house, and detached coach house, built 1901 to the designs of County Architect Frank Whitmore.
MATERIALS: the roof has a red clay-tile covering, and walls constructed of red brick laid in English bond, with yellow stone dressings.
PLAN: the building is roughly rectangular in plan, and comprises: a former magistrates’ court and police station, each roughly rectangular in plan and single-storey in height, facing south to Queenborough Road; a former superintendent’s house, roughly square in plan and two storeys in height, facing east to Sheepcotes Lane; and a former married constable’s house, roughly T-shaped in plan and two storeys in height, facing east to Sheepcotes Lane.
EXTERIOR: the former police station complex comprises a single-storey former magistrates’ court to the west side, a single-storey police station to the centre, a two-storey former superintendent’s house to the south-east corner, and a two-storey former married constable’s house to the north-east corner, all attached. Each building has a hipped roof with a red clay-tile covering and red brick chimneystacks. The roof of the former magistrates’ court formerly had two lanterns however these were removed in the late C20. The walls are generally constructed of red brick laid in English bond, with yellow stone dressings, all united by a continuous stone cornice over the ground floor (with the exception of the married constable’s house). The former magistrates’ court has a Dutch gable to its front (south) elevation, bearing a stone plaque carved with the Essex coat of arms of three swords, and the date of construction, 1901. The front elevation has a replacement door and tripartite overlight, single window, and four-light mullion and transom window. The west side of the former court house has four bays of windows to the lobby and former court room, and two smaller windows and a door to the service area to the rear. The former police station has a stone parapet carved in relief with name of the ‘COUNTY POLICE STATION’, over a single-leaf door with a tripartite overlight, and two bays of six-light mullion and transom windows. The former superintendent’s house has a Dutch gable to each of its south and east elevations, stone quoins to the corners of the building and window surrounds, three bays of windows to its south and east elevations, and a half-glazed door with a rectangular overlight and bracketed canopy to the centre of its front (east) elevation. The former married constable’s house is comparatively plainer than the superintendent’s house, without stone dressings, save a stone keystone to each window, and has a half-glazed door with a rectangular overlight to its front (east) elevation. The windows of the former superintendent’s and married constable’s houses generally comprise a six-pane sash over a single-pane sash. A detached former coach house and stables stands approximately 8 metres north of the former magistrates’ court, and takes the form of a one-and-half storey coach house and single-storey stable. The hipped roofs have a red clay-tile covering, and walls were constructed of red brick laid in English bond. The front (south) elevation of the coach house has a double-leaf timber door with tripartite overlight, and gabled window over; the stable appears to have been extended with the addition of double-leaf timber doors in the late C20.
INTERIOR: the interior was not inspected for the purpose of this assessment, but photographic evidence provided indicates that the former magistrates’ court retains its original ceiling under a late C20 suspended ceiling, and the plan form survives relatively intact. Within the former police station, the cells survive intact with their original glazed-tile walls, doors and grills, The plan form also survives well, save some minor alterations to the layout of the front rooms. The plan form of the former superintendent’s house and married constable’s house again survive relatively intact, with their original stair, door surrounds and doors. The former coach house and stables are empty on the interior.
Books and journals
Bettley, James, Pevsner, Nikolaus, The Buildings of England: Essex, (2007)
Woodgate, John, The Essex Police, (1985)
Chelmsford Borough Council, ‘Frank Whitmore (1844-1920) Chelmsford Architect’, (January 2008), accessed 15 September 2020 from https://www.chelmsford.gov.uk/_resources/assets/inline/full/0/3656247.pdf
Maldon District Council, Draft List of Local Heritage Assets in Southminster, (May 2019), accessed 15 September 2020 from https://democracy.maldon.gov.uk/documents/s15307/Appendix%201%20Southminster.pdf
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