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Liverpool City Police

Woolton Police Station - 1912

In 1912 the village of Woolton, Liverpool was policed by Lancashire Constabulary. It is now part of Merseyside Police. Here are some photographs taken at that time at the Police Station...

Woolton Police Station 2011
Constable Tom Perry - click to enlarge
Constable Tom Perry & his section - 1912 - click to enlarge
Constable Tom Perry & his section - 1912 - click to enlarge

The original Woolton Police Station was at the other end of the Woolton village just opposite the Elephant public house on Allerton Road. Woolton Police Station in Quarry Street was built for the Lancashire Constabulary in 1873.

It was in 1865 that Liverpool first started to expand its boundaries. When Liverpool became a city in 1880 the boundary had increased considerably. Each occasion the Boundary change was subject to Bill going through parliament later enacted as "Liverpool Corporation Act " ** In 1912 Woolton became part of the City of Liverpool. The amount of that expansion can be seen by the number of Liverpool Bridewells that were formerly Lancashire Constabulary Police Offices or stations; Anfield, Dog & Gun, Garston, Lark Lane, Old Swan, Tuebrook, Walton, Wavertree West Derby and Woolton.

Nearly everyone of these premises like many of the old County nicks there were tales that a County Sergeant had killed himself on the premises and his spirit remained. Probably with a view to frightening the young Constable who was drawn to be alone in the premises overnight. However in respect of Woolton Bridewell a Sergeant did die. He was on the box (where the driver sits) horse drawn Black Maria when the wheel struck a small bollard on the side gate to Bridewell yard. The Black Maria was forced upwards and the Sergeant was thrown off the box

There are at Woolton events that can only be described as "unexplainable". The large county stations like Woolton were self-containable. With a Police (later Magistrates) Court on the upper floor. One of cells could be turned into a mortuary were post-mortems could be performed. In the early 1970s the nocturnal activities at the former Woolton Bridewell were subject to a full article in the Liverpool Echo. The sounds in the night and one occasion a dead body being moved from the cell bench to the cell floor. Police Officers are observers and will attempt to rationalise unusual events they hear and see. For instance "it's an old building with wooden floors that will contract after the heat of a summers day". But that argument can be used in the depths of winter. When the noise above your head sounds like someone walking across the floor.

In the 1960s Liverpool City Police moved into Belle Vale. Woolton Bridewell became redundant and was passed to Liverpool Ambulance Service for use as a Training School.

By the later 1980's the premises were converted into apartments. As a Patrol Inspector covering Woolton I would often pass by the old nick. It did not surprise me that there always appear to be a For Sale notice for one of the flats posted outside the premises.

** The last Liverpool Corporation Act was about 1956. It saw Liverpool attempt to bring Kirkby within the City Boundary. Though Liverpool was successful in getting Speke Heath ( area around John Lennon Airport) with the City.

Shaun R. Rothwell
Inspector Merseyside Police (Retired)

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