Old Police Buildings
Dudley’s first police station, complete with lock-up, was built by “the county of Worcester” around 1847 and is Grade II listed. It was the first municipal building on the site in Priory Street. Records indicate that the architect was Harvey Eginton.
It was built using red bricks with ashlar dressings (stone masonry regular blocks) in a Tudor style. However its style also reflects its proximity to the castle.
The three storey central gatehouse is a mock barbican, with embattled towers, machicolations (openings that enable missiles to be dropped from a parapet onto an enemy), and a four-centred arch with false portcullis groove. The wooden gates also have a grid of iron straps which give the impression of a portcullis.
On the other side there is a three storey embattled octagonal tower with battlemented parapet (edge of wall projecting above roof level).
Changes were made to the windows in the part of the building between the gatehouse and tower, probably in 1935, when the adjacent Council House was built. The windows lit corridors that led to the cells and were originally in the shape of arrow loops, but are now a series of single-light mullioned casements with ashlar surrounds.
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The records also indicate that in 1858 the purchase of land, and loans to cover the cost of “alterations and improvements” to the police buildings, was authorised. The accompanying plan includes land reaching to the “Private Carriage Road to the Priory”.
Further records show “…that the present Station shall be so altered as to consist of a House for the Superintendent – and accommodation for 14 single and 3 married men, and that 14 separate dwellings shall be provided for the residue, being married men…”. The whole project was anticipated to cost, by Henry Rowe, County Surveyor, £2600 (£325,500 approx in today’s money).
The superintendent’s house still survives but all the other policemen’s cottages were demolished around 1934 to enable the building of the current Council House.
Behind the barbican gate there are doors with four-centred arches to either side and mullioned windows.
The cells to the rear, with original doors and metalwork, still survive.
The building served as Dudley’s police station for nearly 100 years, until 1941, when due to the old buildings' inadequacies a new police station was opened in New Street. It now forms part of Dudley MBC’s civic buildings.