|The house as it is today|
The house was built in 1814. It is also sometimes referred to as the Old Police Station, which it became in 1836. Its symmetrically organized features and the use of stock brick are very similar to Georgian buildings all over London but this is one of the few classic late Georgian buildings to survive in Rotherhithe, and therefore offers a particular value to the area. When it was built it was one of a number of other similar houses that flanked this stretch of Paradise Street. It is nice to see that following its restoration it is being so well maintained.
|Detail of the brick work|
To a late report (vide Repository vol. iv. p.85) on the deleterious influence of London Porter, by producing apoplexy, I am sorry to add, ten more fatal cases have come to my knowledge, and most of them in the labouring classes. Two happened in Bermondsey parish; they were hearty-looking men, one 50, the other 60 years of age, and great porter drinkers. They dropped dead in the street. Two others happened in Lambeth parish. Four more took place in Newgate-street; and two more in the Parish of Rotherhithe. One of these was a fine young man of 28, the other a coal meter about 56.
|London Gazette 21st February1832|
Somewhat ironically, given Gaitskell's alleged body snatching activities, 23 Paradise Street became a police station in 1836 and was the base of M Division. The Watch House on St Mary Church Street, which had been established in 1821, was in operation until 1829 when the Metropolitan police force was established, and it is unclear where the watchmen who operated in the area between 1829 and 1836 were based. In 1850 an extension to the west was added in order to house cells. By 1864 there were 117 officers working from there. A 1917 photograph shows it with bars over the ground floor windows, and only three windows on the eastern wall, where now there are seven. During the Second World Ware an air raid shelter was placed on the roof. The police moved in 1965 to new, typically 1960s premises on Lower Road. Although it stood empty for some years afterwards it was restored and is now used as offices.
|The front door with fanlight, railings|
and the gaslight arch
The house, together with the railings, handrail and the lampholder are all Grade II listed.
My thanks to Geoff Fairbairn for pointing out that Sir William was probably never knighted, even though he adopted the title.