Thursday, 7 April 2011
Bollards come in many different shapes but this must be one of the most unusual. This bobby stands guard outside the former Gerald Road police station in Belgravia.
Until the early nineteenth century this part of London was still covered with fields but from the mid-1820s it was rapidly developed by Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster. Construction of Belgrave Square began in 1825 and the first mansions on Eaton Square emerged two years later. The streets to the south of Eaton Square were laid shortly afterwards and it was in one of them, Cottage Row, that a police station opened in 1846. The name of the street was changed to its present one, Gerald Road, in 1885. Over time the officers based at Gerald Road became responsible for enforcing law and order in an area bound by Exhibition Road, Hyde Park Corner, Victoria Station and Chelsea Bridge. By 1978 though, the Metropolitan Police was considering closing it down and merging it with Rochester Row police station. After years of debate, the police left the building in 1993 and moved to the newly-completed Belgravia police station. The Gerald Street building was renovated and converted into a residential property. One can imagine this bollard was placed then, as a reminder of the building's original use.