A guest post by LH Member Hannah Renier.
Near the Barbican, where the road splits around St Alban’s Church tower, you’ll find Wood Street Police Station. It’s large, historic, and about to undergo a partial rebuild. About twenty of us took the tour on the Saturday of Open House Weekend.
We heard about the origins of the City Police as a citizen force from 1285, the struggle to maintain its independence as a City institution, the years when every applicant for the job had to be six feet one in stockinged feet, and the unbroken tradition of separation from royal influence. To this day, there’s no crown on the cap badge. However there have been abundant crises and changes in 730 years, and at Wood Street a small museum holds a fascinating collection of uniforms, old photographs, weapons, records made long before Data Protection, and memorabilia from famous crimes like the Ripper Murders, the Siege of Sidney Street and the Houndsditch Murders. On these last we were all expert, having just re-enacted them. Some of us emerged as heroes, while still more were captured and later found innocent. Others were shot dead but fortunately, revived by tea, cake and laughter. The grand finale was a trip to the gloriously well-fitted Stables to meet Little Dave (the smallest horse in the City force at 16.1 hands) and his equine friend Lulu.
Continued funding for the City police horses is undecided; they’ll hear, at Wood Street, early in October. Our tour therefore ended on a note of trepidation; but many thanks for the kindness of serving inspectors Peter and Rebecca who gave up half of their Saturday – in uniform – and kept us informed and entertained non-stop.