Mapperley’s Old Police Station

We recently posted a photograph of the wrought-iron entrance gate of the rather neglected former police house at 649 Woodborough Road (opposite the top of Porchester Road). This became a police station in around 1904, two years after the tram reached that location and a year after the Methodist Church was built. Nottingham was expanding and there were plans to build many new houses in the area. The building was originally opened as offices for the waterworks in 1890, but it remained as a police house up to the late 1960s.

The photograph generated some interest, particularly that it was a police house.

Police Stations in Old Nottingham

There is a useful blog by Graham Woodward entitled Nottingham’s Police Stations which details many of the historic police lodges and houses.

Graham Woodward wrote:

Today the police are located in large centralised police stations, but at one time there was a station in almost every district. By 1885, Nottingham had fifteen police stations and a number of lodges spread across the town. A few of these old stations are still standing, now used for different purposes with no hint of their earlier use.

Woodborough Road Police Station opened in about 1904. A PC Hinman Whittaker was ‘in residence’ and by 1910, Sgt. R. Parkes was in charge.

According to the 1968 Ordnance Survey map, it was still a police station in 1967.

Photo Credit: Graham Woodward

Followers of Mapperley People were quick to contribute with memories of the

Nigel Cottee said:

I had many happy hours there as a child, my mother was friends with PC Douglas and his wife.

Paul Ward told us:

In the old Carlton Police station there where framed period pictures on the wall of this Police House with an officer outside. I’ve never been able to locate them online. Lost to history I guess.

Anne Meadows confirmed the year:

Definitely still a police house in 1968. I found a watch in Woodborough road as a child and took it there

Tess Palmer had a real family connection:

I recently found out my paternal great grandfather was a police officer Thomas Mead he and live this house in 1921. I makes me sad to see it in such a state

Paul Chapman remembered a public safety role that the station played:

This was the place of the public fire alarm. You set it off and waited for the fire engine. When they arrived you gave them the address of the fire. This was before the 999 system and I believe the fire engine came from Nottingham City. I was taught this as an eleven year old, I’m nearly 70 now. This was part of the Scout training.

Incredibly, we then we heard from a relative of Hinman Whittaker, the first police officer to live at the station in 1904.

Wendy Pattison said:

My great grandfather Hinman Whittaker was the first constable to live in the police station and my grandma was actually born there. I would love the opportunity to see round it. Hinman had retired before the 1st World War but was asked to help at the courts in the Guildhall, according to family memories. Grandma had to clean some of the cells as a young woman, and wrote about it in her diary. Unfortunately all of those interesting details were removed from the diary by my auntie,who didn’t want anyone to know that her mother had done such menial tasks!

Danielle Redgate then provided us with some unique images of the building, taken in 2023 using a drone, whilst inspecting the roof on behalf of the owners, Nottingham City Council.

What of The Gate Manufacturer – HUGHES 

Lastly, what about the iron gate, that is still in use and presumably the original gate from 1904.

The lock bears the name HUGHES and NOTTINGHAM.

A search for the name Hughes as an iron monger or foundry in Nottingham does not identify the company itself but an interesting link does appear on an Australian website. It provides the service details of a Great War veteran, as follows:

HUGHES, Cyril Percival

Service Number: 547 – Rank: Private – 14th Machine Gun Company – Born: Nottingham 25th Feb 1896 -Occupation: Ironmonger.

Cyril Hughes died on 7th May 1953 (aged 57) and is buried Beresfield Crematorium in New South Wales in Australia. Could he be from the family company in Nottingham that made the gate 120 years ago?


    Hinman Whittaker was my great grandfather and my grandma was born in that house. I would love the chance to look round it.

    1. Editor

      Hello Wendy.
      Thanks for your response. We have added your memory to the article. Just to let you know that did approach ST Water a year or so about the state of the iron railings and whether they could be re-painted. They acknowledged our suggestion but no reply was forthcoming. We have also contacted a local Councillor and asked him to look into the plans for 649 Woodborough Road.

  2. Bob

    I love this building and worry about its current state and future. Such places should not be allowed to go into decline, only yesterday I read a lovely cast iron sign buried amongst trees and undergrowth just beyond the larger gates to the right of the house next to the reservoir. It warns against trespass.

    Does anyone know much about the large house behind the police station? It’s in a similar state of neglect, parts of the roof have been stripped of lead. I contacted Severn Trent last year to inform them that the fence had been breached, encouraging the vandalism. It’s since been patched up.

    Both these buildings require protection and recognition.
    I’ve only lived in Nottingham for 20 years and have seen its wonderful history slowly fade due to thoughtless and unimaginative development. This process is exemplified in the railings of the old police houseitself , a section was damaged a few years ago and replaced with a flimsy, poorly constructed and matched modern section which has already weathered poorly due to its inferior materials and workmanship.

    1. Editor

      Totally agree Bob. I believe the ST Water property was up for sale.
      We did approach ST a year or so about the state of the iron railings and whether they could be re-painted. They acknowledged our suggestion but no reply was forthcoming. We have also contacted a local Councillor and asked him to look into the plans for 649 Woodborough Road.

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