Former police station, 1857-8, attributed to Thomas Stopher, Hampshire Constabulary Surveyor. Extended in Edwardian period. Minor later alterations.
Reason for Listing
* age: the station dates from the first phase of police station construction nationally, when stations were designed in domestic or vernacular styles
* architectural interest: a good example of a provincial police station, with its original County Police sign, designed in a domestic idiom
* intactness: the sash windows survive unaltered and inside there is a cell block which retains the majority of its principal features including cell doors with observation apertures, high windows, and a measuring rod for recording the heights of prisoners.
The building was constructed as a police station in 1858, probably to designs by the Hampshire Constabulary Surveyor, Thomas Stopher (1802-1874). Its principal façade bears a plaque reading 1857, the date at which the land was purchased from the Commissioners for Woods and Forests.
The building ceased to function as a police station in the second half of the C20. From 1985 until 2010 it served as offices for Natural England.
The former police station is a red brick building of two storeys with a hipped slate roof and brick chimneys with buff terracotta pots. Its frontage to Southampton Road is broadly symmetrical, but for a single bay extension to the west, added in the Edwardian period, in the same style and materials as the original. There is a four-bay central range, with doors in the outermost bays of the ground floor, flanked by two projecting wings of one window bay apiece. The brickwork is in Flemish bond and there are gauged-brick flat arches over the windows and a projecting brick string course between the storeys. The front doors have been replaced, but the Victorian bell push survives to the eastern door, along with an iron boot scraper. The windows are all the original hornless timber sashes, some retaining original glass. The iron guttering is embellished with lions' heads. A plaque in the centre of the elevation gives the date '1857' and the words 'County Police Station' incised in capital letters can be made out, although these are no longer painted. The rear of the building has a cat-slide slate roof with a dormer window. The windows here are timber sashes, casements, or modern replacements, except for the cell windows which are identifiable by their metal fixed panes and their location high up in the wall. To the rear of the site is a detached single-storey garage, formerly stabling.
Inside, the building has undergone various alterations to its plan, through the insertion of modern partitions. There were originally two staircases, located in the entrance hallway of each of the front doors, but that to the west has been removed and that to the east rebuilt. An Edwardian staircase survives in the western extension. The original four-panelled doors survive in most rooms, as do some timber wall cupboards. There are three fireplaces (one in the downstairs easternmost main room, a mantelshelf in a second ground floor room, and a mid-C19 surround in an upstairs room). The best preserved part of the interior is to the rear of the building, where a kitchen survives complete with pantry cupboards (including timber doors with ventilation holes and shelves). The cell block is especially intact, with three cells and a WC accessible off a stone-flag-paved corridor, which retains a timber height-measuring chart affixed to the wall outside one of the cells. There was originally an external door at the western end of this corridor, but this has been blocked. The cells too have their original heavy timber doors, these with observation apertures and slots for distributing food. One cell has a brass bell push inside.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.