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The Old Police Buildings to the North East of the Town Hall and Former Sessions Court, Dudley

Description: The Old Police Buildings to the North East of the Town Hall and Former Sessions Court

Grade: II
Date Listed: 14 September 1949
English Heritage Building ID: 217992

OS Grid Reference: SO9436190427
OS Grid Coordinates: 394361, 290427
Latitude/Longitude: 52.5117, -2.0845

Location: 21 Priory Street, Dudley DY1 1HA

Locality: Dudley
County: Dudley
Country: England
Postcode: DY1 1HA

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Listing Text


(Formerly listed as:


Former Police Headquarters and Police station buildings, including a Superintendent's house, for the Borough of Dudley, now municipal offices. Designed by Harvey Eginton in 1847 and probably added to by Henry Rowe in 1858. The buildings are of red brick with ashlar dressings and of two-storeys with three-storey turrets.

EXTERIOR: The entrance front facing Priory Street has a gateway at left with battered and battlemented, square towers to either side forming a barbican with a false portcullis channel, machicolations and battlements above the gate. The wooden gates have a grid of iron straps which give the impression of a portcullis. To right of this is a stretch of walling with battlements and the front ends with a tapered octagonal tower, which also has battlements. There are two and three light mullioned windows to the length of the building, but a photograph of c.1900 shows that the police building formerly had fewer openings and that several took the form of false arrow loops, lighting corridors at ground and first floor levels which led to cells.

Projecting north-west from the rear of the police building is a wing, formerly housing cells and offices and this connects to the superintendent's house which formerly had an area of garden in the central yard. Its entrance front is now joined to later buildings, but its former garden front has three bays of red and yellow brick, facing north-west with a prominent basement level, above which the ground floor has canted bay windows at either side of a door with chamfered surround. There is a central staircase window at mezzanine level and two light mullioned windows to either side at first floor level. The basement level has been partially rebuilt and the ground floor door is now approached by a metal fire escape ladder.

INTERIOR: Inside the old police building the space behind the barbican gate has doors with four-centred arches to either side, but otherwise the internal spaces have been altered to accommodate offices. The former superintendent's house has cornicing to two ground floor rooms and a staircase with stick balusters and chamfered newels with carved finials.
The portion of the building adjoining the north-west of the old police buildings and erected in the 1990s is of lesser importance.

The rectangular island site has been the location for various municipal buildings since the mid-C19. The Police buildings were the first such structure on the site. The former town hall building, on a corner site, facing Priory Street and Priory Road was designed by Rowe in 1858 in a Gothic style to blend with the pattern of the existing Police buildings. The library building facing onto St. James's Road was opened in 1908 to the designs of G.H.Wenyon.

Adjoining the Old Police Buildings to their south is a range of buildings including the Sessions Court, War Memorial Tower, Coroner's Court and Town Hall, all designed by Harvey and Wicks, and opened in 1928. To the north is the Council House, also by Harvey and Wicks, opened in 1935.
Part of the complex of police buildings, and probably added at a later date to the initial building, was a close of houses, opening onto Priory Road. These are shown on the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1884 and on the second edition map of 1904 they are marked as 'POLICE BUILDINGS' and again on the third edition map of 1919. They appear to have been individual houses for policemen and their families and they were overlooked by a Superintendent's house to the south. The close of houses was demolished to make way for the Council House, but the Superintendent's house survives. They are believed to be part of the work carried out by Rowe at the same time that he designed the Old Town Hall Building. The Superintendent's House was altered in the late-C19 or early-C20 when an extension was added, masking the south-eastern front. Alterations were made to the fenestration of the Old Police Building, fronting onto Priory Street, most probably c.1935 at the time of the building of the adjacent Council House. The former windows were in the shape of arrow loops and these were replaced by a series of mullioned casements with ashlar surrounds.

In the late-C20 an extensive range was built behind the St. James' Street front.

Chandler, G. and Hannah, I.C., Dudley: As it was and as it is to-day (1949), 32
Pevsner, N., Buildings of England, Staffordshire (1974), 122.
Dudley MBC, 'A Conservation Review of Properties within the Civic Quarter' (2007)
Images of England, Dudley, David Clare, 75.
Dudley as it was and is Today, Chandler & Hannah, 32.

The Old Police Buildings, Priory Street, Dudley, are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural: The facade onto Priory Street provides an impressive statement of civic pride and strength and its architectural detailing, particularly of the battlemented gateway, is well handled.
* Coherence: The combination of police headquarters building, range of cells and Superintendent's house forms a coherent and interesting grouping.
* Overall grouping: The buildings form one part of a strong grouping of related civic buildings in the centre of Dudley.

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

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