Portslade Police Station

As a great supporter of historic Portslade, I was somewhat disappointed in myself when I discovered how little I knew about the town’s old police stations.

Portslade’s newest police station, now sadly closed, is situated halfway along St. Andrew’s Road. It was built in around 1909 and is a most interesting structure due, in part, to its connected dwellings.

The police station and, in particular, its sorry state, were brought to my attention by Frederick Andrews (Peter to his friends) who owns the first of the building’s associated residences, an imposing house attached to the east side of the main station building (No. 67). To confuse matters slightly, the main building cleverly incorporates the second residence, a large house (67A). A further two houses are attached to the west side of the building (67B and 67C). I understand that these four homes were specifically built for the police which is supported by the fact that Superintendent W. Suter and three constables were recorded as residents in 1919.

A sandstone portico highlights the derelict building’s main entrance and the word ‘POLICE’ is spelt out by clean sections of stone which were once covered by lettering. Above is an interesting arched triptych window with two leaded lights (the third is missing!). Brick voussoir lintels grace the ground floor window openings where some of the original sashes are still in place. There were once stables at the rear of the site which is now home to a number of garages. The cells beneath the building were used as an air raid shelter during the Second World War and a decontamination chamber was added in case of gas attack.

The first record of a constable in Portslade dates from 1576. The previous police station on North Street nearby was certainly in use by 1862. North Street runs parallel to St. Andrew’s Road and once served as a busy shopping hub. However, it’s now unrecognisable in its modern industrial guise. On the subject of change, Portslade’s town hall and fire station, on Church Road and Victoria Road respectively, are no longer used for their intended purposes. The fire station, at least, is in excellent condition following sympathetic conversion works.

I wonder what, if anything, is planned for this charming building but why the delay? I’d be more than happy to take whoever is responsible for its neglect on an extended tour of the old cells.