Police Station Information

Witham Newland Street was opened in and closed in

On Friday June 18th, 1937, the Essex Chronicle featured the opening of the new Witham Police Station in Newland Street.



On Wednesday the handsome new police station at Witham which has been built by the Essex Standing Joint Committee at a cost of £16,000, was opened by Mr. S. A. Courtauld, J.P., chairman of the Committee. The new station, built in red brick with stone facings, is quite the most ornate building in Witham. It stands beside the main road adjoining that on which in former years stood the Grove, the Georgian residence of the late Mr. Percy Laurence, J.P. Facing the road are two beautiful fir trees in front of the station, which provide a contrast in colour with the red bricks and tiles. The buildings were erected to the design and under the supervision of Mr. John Stuart, F.R.I.B.A., the County Architect, and the construction has been admirably carried out by Messrs. G. J. Hawkes and Sons, of Chelmsford. The excellent plastering work has been done by Messrs. Albert Willett and Sons, of Chelmsford, and the timer has been supplied by Messrs. Wm. Brown and Co. (Ipswich), Ltd. The building materials were from Messrs. Hall and Co., Ltd., of Romford.

Witham Police Station 1937In the front of the new building are the offices, with quarters on either side for resident Inspector and police clerk, and corridors lead to the two police courts, one above the other, and handsomely fitted in Australian walnut, with oak floors. There are also a recreation room, retiring roos, robing rooms, and waiting rooms. Beneath are cells - all in white glazes bricks - and other accommodation. Mr. E. B. James, Brentwood, was clerk of the works.

The opening was performed at the front doors by Mr. S. A. Courtauld, to whom Mr. Collingwood Hop, K.C., C.B.E., chairman of the Witham Bench, handed a silver-gilt key. Mr. Courtauld unlocked the doors, and said he ha the greatest pleasure in declaring the new Witham police station open, with bet wishes for its usefulness.

The company then entered the Court on the ground floor, where Mr. Hope presided.

Mr. S. A. Courtauld said the old police station in Guithavon Street had served, with a slight enlargement, since 1849. It would bow be used in a Government scheme for increased motor police patrols, and a number of constables would live there. He had been told already that the acoustic properties of the new court were not what they might be. He had also been told that the Shire Hall at Chelmsford, recently altered and improved, was deficient in the same way. The Standing Joint Committee had done its best, but at the present time the Essex County Council was rather going in for economy, which was no doubt quite right, and the Standing Joint were anxious to keep step with it. At the same time, they wanted creditable buildings. Essex was not a poor county, and when a new police station was built it should be one of which the county could be proud, and not a niggardly building, built as cheaply as possible. Everybody expected better accommodation now; schools, hospitals, and other buildings had to be really comfortable and convenient. In that new Court they had tried to provide that added comfort and convenience, from the magistrates at the top of the scale, to the prisoners in the cells at the bottom (Laughter.) He remembered a lady, with us no longer, who used to live in Witham, and she said she regretted leaving Witham, "where everyone was poor and no-one was proud." (Laughter.) He hoped Witham would be proud of that new building. A Police Court was one of the Royal Courts of Justice, and he hoped the Royal Arms would appear above the chairman's seat. (Applause.)

Ald. Alfred Brooks, chairman of Essex Quarter Session, advised Justices to visit Quarter Sessions, to see how justice is administered.

Mr. Collingwood Hope thanked the speakers. After 32 years' experience in the old Court at Witham, it was a great pleasure to move to the new one. At the old Court the Justices' retiring room was transformed into a second Court, and when the Bench wished to retire they had either to gather on the back stairs or borrow the use of a sitting-room from the Inspector. Those were not circumstances in which justice should be administered. There should be a dignity surrounding it. All justice was from the King, so if anyone gave the Court a Royal Coat of Arms the Justices would be entitled to put it up as a sign that the King's Justice was being administered there. (Hear, hear.)

The County Council had to find the money for all such new buildings, so they were "not to be undertaken lightly or wantonly - like marriage." (Laughter.)

The building's current function is: Social/Community
Newland Street Police Station - Essex Police Museum ref M144
Image credit: Newland Street Police Station - Essex Police Museum ref M144

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