Trafalgar Square, it goes without saying, is one of London’s most visited attractions. Each year, millions of guidebook-toting tourists and unemployed locals while away the hours gawping up at Nelson’s column, frolicking around the National Gallery and scaring the stuffing out of pigeons.
And yet there’s one great Trafalgar Square sight that passes most of them by – or, rather, that they pass by – without so much as a cursory camera-click: The World’s Smallest Police Station.
One of London’s most-seen and yet least-known features, WC2′s stealthy cop shop sits perfectly visibly on the south-east corner of the square, and has done since the 1920s. After a spate of demonstrations, protests and riots in the square, the Met decided they needed a secure base in the thick of things, so they built this stone outpost with just enough room for one brave copper and a badly-wired telephone (connected, if they were lucky, to the standard-sized Canon Row police station).
They also put a giant lamp-light on top to ensure the booth was always visible to passing officers who got into a spot of bother … and to miffed protesters who wanted a nicely-lit target. Many booth enthusiasts claim the lamp comes from Nelson’s HMS Victory, but they’re talking rubbish.
Sadly, time hasn’t been kind to the World’s Smallest Police Station. As the modern British bobby is simply too lardy to squeeze into the cubbyhole during an ill-informed student riot, the station was decommissioned in the late 1980s. After briefly being commandeered by the BBC, it is now used to store cleaning supplies for the square’s professional guano-scrapers.
The World’s Largest Cleaning Supplies Cupboard.
Now if that’s not worth a cursory camera-click, what is?