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Former Police Station, Harrogate

Description: Former Police Station

Grade: II
Date Listed: 7 September 2012
Building ID: 1409826

OS Grid Reference: SE3075455279
OS Grid Coordinates: 430752, 455283
Latitude/Longitude: 53.9927, -1.5324

Locality: Harrogate
Local Authority: Harrogate Borough Council
County: North Yorkshire
Postcode: HG1 5PJ

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Listing Text


Divisional police station including domestic accommodation, built circa 1930.

Reason for Listing

Former Police Station, Harrogate is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural design: good example of the Queen Anne Revival to produce a genteel, yet quietly authoritative police station, prefiguring similar approaches taken with many military buildings constructed in the 1930s.
* Composition: the main building facing the front forecourt flanked by police houses possesses an architectural formality which endows the ensemble with appropriate gravitas for the building type.
* Materials: quality of materials exhibited by the brickwork and stone dressings, subtly varied to indicate the hierarchy of buildings.


The former Harrogate Police Station, including five police houses, was designed by the West Riding County Architect, Percy Oats Platts, in 1927 as the Police Headquarters for the Claro Division. This was opened in 1931 and is shown on the 1:2500 Ordnance Survey map published in 1932. Sometime in the 1960s a detached garage block on the east side to the rear was demolished and replaced with a two-storey, flat-roofed office block which extended northwards from the east end of the principal, central range. Probably at around the same time, the principal range was reordered internally, including the knocking through of a series of first floor rooms originally designed as bedrooms for single constables. In circa 1973 a further extension was added at the opposite end of the principal range, infilling former rear yards to Police Houses 3 and 4. These two police houses as well as parts of the principal range were also reconfigured internally. By 1990 further extensions and alterations had been made to the rear of the principal building. Sometime after this date, two infill blocks with hipped roofs were added to the rear of the two police houses flanking the police station forecourt (Houses 1 and 2), replacing earlier walled yards. The police station became redundant in May 2012.


MATERIALS: narrow red brick laid in a variety of bonds. Red sandstone ashlar and dressings. Red, plain tile roofs with tile bonnets and ridges.

LAYOUT: the main building faces south and includes a two-storey office range with a taller block to the rear (north) incorporating the custody suite on the ground floor and parade hall above. The forecourt to the front of the main building is flanked by two police houses (number 1 to the east, number 2 to the west) which project forward, both being connected to the main office range via small, single storey link buildings. To the north of the western house there is a mirrored pair of semi-detached houses (numbers 3 and 4) which face west and which are now interconnected to the main building via later extensions to their south and east. Further to the north there is the fifth police house, number 5, which is detached, but linked to the rest via a garden wall.

There are several flat-roofed buildings and extensions to the rear and sides of the central office range, with the post 1990 infill buildings to the rear of houses 1 and 2 having hipped roofs. These later additions are not of special interest, although the infill buildings with hipped roofs are sympathetically detailed.

DESCRIPTION: the original buildings are of two-storeys, and generally have a simple stone plinth, a first floor storey band and a string course above at window sill level. Windows are generally horned sashes with narrow glazing bars (typically 6 over 6 pane), with gauged brick flat arch lintels, some with stone keystones or architraves, the domestic windows typically having stone cills. Low status doorways have gauged brick lintels, with higher status doors furnished with stone surrounds featuring eared architraves topped by a cornice, the doors being panelled, part glazed with decoratively leaded overlights. Chimney stacks all remain full height and are tall, brick built with plinths and cornices.

The interiors appear to have been generally simply finished. All fire places have been removed, but chimney breasts generally remain. Most internal doors have been replaced with modern fire doors (normally retaining the original architraves), although a number of original panel doors do remain in situ, mostly on the first floor of the main building. All of the police houses retain various built in cupboards usually complete with original panelled doors. All staircases survive with original balustrading, hard wood newel posts and handrails.

Exterior: symmetrical south elevation of thirteen bays, the ground floor being of rusticated ashlar, the first floor of brick with a stone cornice. The centre bay includes the main entrance which is inset behind a round arched opening. Above the double doors (which are modern replacements) there is a carved keystone in the form of a bearded man's head (considered to symbolise Wisdom). The entrance is flanked by ornate lanterns on wall brackets. Above there is a balcony which includes the heraldic insignia of the West Riding Police carved in stone and forming part of the balustrade. The first floor window above has an ornamented stone architrave. The three bays to either side of the centre have round arched ground floor windows and first floor windows with stone keystones but no architraves. Rain water down pipes are also made an architectural feature here by being rectangular in section with decorated hoppers. The three bays at either end of the elevation are broken slightly forward, with the centre bay of each emphasised with a architraved first floor window and a keystoned ground floor window carved with a female head. The eastern carved head is blindfolded (a traditional representation of Justice) the western head including a pair of serpents (considered to symbolise the virtue of Prudence). The rusticated ashlar stonework is continued to project forward to form the single storey link buildings to the flanking police houses. These single bay link buildings each include a side facing doorway and are topped by an ornamental stone urn. To the rear, set back from the main elevation, there is a two storey flat roofed projection with a circular window (these flat roofed sections being part of the original building).

Side and rear elevations are mainly covered by later extensions that are not of special interest, although what is exposed of the original building (generally on the first floor) is more simply detailed but generally unaltered.

Interior: the interior has been reordered, especially inside the central entrance and within the rear custody suite. However the two staircases remain: that at the east end of the rear block being an open well staircase with an ornate iron balustrade; that at the west end being much more utilitarian. The first floor corridor is largely intact, complete with two roof lights incorporating stained glass and a number of panelled doors. First floor rooms to the front, originally individual bedrooms for single constables, have been knocked through. The parade room to the rear has been partially subdivided with stud partitions.

Exterior: three bay front which faces south, with a central entrance with stone architrave that is flanked by ground floor canted bay windows. The west elevation (facing the forecourt) includes a ground floor round window. The house has a square footprint.

Interior: the front door opens into an internal wind lobby (missing its inner door). The generous staircase is to the rear left and has twisted balusters. The original room layout is effectively unaltered with the exception of inserted doorways through to the post 1990 infill building to the rear.

Exterior: similar to Number 1 but without the round window and with slightly different side elevations. The house was originally L-shaped, although this is concealed by the post 1990 infill building to the rear.

Interior: the front door opens onto the foot of the stairs which is relatively plain with stick balusters. Interior layout unaltered: no direct interconnection with the infill building to the rear.

Exterior: semi-detached symmetrical pair of double fronted houses: the front (west elevation) is more simply detailed than the other houses, lacking the storey band and the architraves around the front doors. Above the front doors are round windows which light the staircases. Sides are blind, the rear is obscured by later extensions that are not of special interest.

Interior: in each property, the front door opens up onto the rear of the staircase which is otherwise similar to that in number 2. Apart from the staircase, the layout is altered, especially on the first floor which has been reorganised with some removed walls (including the party wall) and inserted partitions. The interiors also interconnect with the later infill buildings to the south and east.

Exterior: unaltered, L-shaped house which faces west. The front door (complete with architrave) is set in the west face of the south projecting wing and has a round (bathroom) window above. The west projecting wing is of two bays with keystones emboldening the ground floor windows. The south elevation of the west wing is blind, the south elevation of the south wing is asymmetric, three bays wide but blind to upper left. The east elevation is also asymmetric and more utilitarian with a back door and access to an external store. The north elevation is blind except for the stair window.

Interior: the front door opens into a wind lobby with a part glazed inner door and partition embellished with stained glass. This leads through to the stair hall with its half landing staircase. The interior layout remains largely unaltered.

Garden wall linking Police House 4 and 5: this high garden wall includes a gateway protected by a hipped roof retaining an ornamental iron gate.

Boundary wall, railings, gates and gate piers: the south and west sides of the whole plot are bounded by a low brick wall topped by ornamental railings. This is punctuated by ornamental pedestrian gates serving each front door as well as additional gates through the west boundary thought to have been garden entrances. To the centre of the south boundary, giving access to the forecourt, there is a vehicle access with ornamental gates hung from piers topped by stone urns. To the east there is a driveway leading to the rear which is marked by a simple brick piers with stone caps.

The mapped depiction of the Listing does not attempt to exclude the later extensions that are not of special interest. The mapped depiction of boundary walls with gateways are shown diagrammatically to aid identification.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.