Last Updated on 10. May 2021

The Bow Street Police Museum will open in Covent Garden at the end of May 2021, documenting the history of the police station at No. 28 Bow Street and its duties in the area.

The Bow Street Police Museum

No. 28 Bow Street was home to one of London’s first police stations for over 100 years. It shared the building with the neighbouring Magistrates’ Court. The ground floor offices and cells have now been turned into the Bow Street Police Museum, which will open from 28 May 2021.

What can be seen at the museum?

The museum covers the history of the police station from the 18th century until its closure in 1992. Police equipment and uniforms are on display, lots of stories of the inmates, some of whom were famous (including Oscar Wilde, the Kray Twins and Sylvia Pankhurst) and you can also take a closer look at some of the cases from the adjacent Magistrates’ Court.

The highlight of the visit is probably a visit to a real cell. “The Tank” was used to hold drunken men who had attracted negative public attention.

Who were the Bow Street Runners?

The Bow Street Runners were the first professional police force in London. When they were formed in 1749, their group consisted of just six men. They operated until 1839, when they were integrated into the Metropolitan Police Service, which had been formed a few years earlier. Their base of operations a few years later included Bow Street police station.

History of the Covent Garden Police Station

The police station and courthouse opened in 1881, with the Metropolitan Police Officers keeping Covent Garden and the surrounding areas save. Those who were jailed overnight for their behaviour could be tried the very next day in the Magistrates’ Court. The station also dealt with extradition proceedings (against the former dictator in Chile, General Augusto Pinochet) and IRA terrorist cases due to a unique status the Court held.

Where is the Covent Garden Police Museum located?

The museum is located in the NoMad Hotel building, which will also open at the end of May 2021 after a complete restoration of the building. The entire building complex is Grade II listed.

Useful information for your visit

  • Address: 28 Bow Street, London WC2E 7AW
  • Tube Station: Covent Garden, then a short walk
  • Admission: £6.00; children under 12 go free
  • Opening hours: For the first six months, the museum will be open Friday to Sunday from 11am to 4.30pm
  • Find the latest events and more information on the Bow Street Police Museum website. They also have a brand new podcast.

What do you think of the museum? Will you visit it? Leave your comment below.

This post is also available in: Deutsch