Policing in the 19th and 20th Century to modern apartment living

Date Published 15 August 2023

The old Police Station still stands proudly in the lower section of Leonard Street, Leek; its red brick facade, intricate stonework, and 12- and 15-pane sash windows giving the impression that it's been part of a varied and interesting history.

The building was designed by William Sugden & Son in 1891 and it was opened as a Police Station in 1892. At that time the impressive building also comprised the Superintendent's House and stables.

As policing changed over time, so did the building. The double gates at the front with rounded arch, brick pilasters and heavy ball finials, allowed access for ‘Panda' cars rather than horses. The Superintendent's House was repurposed to become the canteen and bar area with the main building accommodating administration staff and growing police numbers.

The cells had little improvement over the years and remained rather austere in true Victorian style until their conversion to dwellings. In fact, part of the Miss Marple episode 'They do it with mirrors' (1991) was filmed there.

What tales this building could tell!

The Police Station became Grade II listed in 1971 and many of its original features remain visible to this day. The heavy double doors with concave arch above, which now form the entrance to Apartment 2, would have been where officers and staff entered and left the building at the start and end of their tour of duty. The spacious living room was once the busy Control Room where phones were answered and patrols dispatched.

Move on to Apartment 3 and you'll be watching TV in a comfy lounge where once the locker room contained rows of metal lockers containing officers' tunics, helmets, truncheons and coats.

Moving upstairs to Apartment 4 reveals that the living room, formerly CID, overlooks the gated yard, while the bedroom was where the Superintendent had his office in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Finally, Apartment 5, also on the first floor, has two notable points of interest. The window on the landing looks down on to what was the prisoner's exercise yard which was accessed directly from the cell block, and the fabulous arched window above the main front doors has been incorporated into the bathroom structure.

The building has certainly changed over the past century, but it has also been preserved. Whilst the interior is light and inviting with modern kitchen areas and spacious rooms, the exterior retains its carved stonework, cast iron down-spouts and stone lintels. And where else could you see two fabulous round turrets with conical tiled rooftops?

The building became unsuitable for modern policing as the number of police vehicles grew and police numbers increased, and so was finally vacated in 1987 when a new Police Station, a short walk away in Fountain Street, opened.

To have let this fabulous building fall into disrepair would have been a crime (ahem!) and so its development into modern apartment living, alongside its Grade II listing, means that it has a long, and no doubt intriguing life yet to live.

The old Police Station is now managed by Westwood Lettings, an independent agency based at 54 St Edward Street. Chosen as the sole agent not only for their knowledge of the local area and expertise in lettings but also for their passion for property, Westwood Lettings are keen to work with the developers to ensure this remarkable building continues to be one of the most striking buildings in Leek

Already maintaining another well-known William Sugden development, Sugden House on Stockwell Street, Westwood Lettings are thrilled they can offer tenants the opportunity to live in such a historic property. If you're looking to rent a modern apartment retaining all it's quirks and charms, with off road parking in the heart of town, call the team at Westwood Lettings on 01538 372 025 for more information.