The former Wray House, Elystan Street, Chelsea, London SW3

From: A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 12, Chelsea, ed. Patricia E C Croot (London, 2004):

“Wray House (G. Mackenzie Trench, 1934-7) on Elystan Street contained 114 flats for policemen. Sold by the Metropolitan Police c. 1986, it was converted in 1989 to a residential development (Crown Lodge).”

The House Historian wrote for the Country Life blog of 13.4.10:

“…Wray House was built in stages, with the first section completed in 1935 and the entire building completed by 1937 with a total of 114 flats. Wray House was designed by Metropolitan police architect and surveyor, Gilbert Mackenzie Trench, who was responsible for a number of police buildings across London during the 1930s and 40s. This now less recognised architect was not only responsible for the design of police buildings, but Trench was also the man responsible for the design of the iconic Police call box made famous as the ‘Tardis’ in Doctor Who.

The first call box designed by Trench was launched in 1929 and although there have been a few different designs and colours, it is the distinct blue police box by Trench that is most recognised due to its fame as The Tardis in the BBC’s Dr Who. It is difficult to imagine a police force without communications systems such as two-way radio and mobile phones, but in the past the call box was the only form of communication a Bobbie had while out on his beat.

When first completed the flats in Wray House were said to be of a particularly fine type and in August 1935 The Times also said that it had “the latest labour-saving devices”. Wray House, along with other similar blocks of flats, were constructed to provide accommodation for police men and women and their families that allowed them to live close to their stations in the centre of London. Wray House provided accommodation for police staff until the 1980s, but was sold in 1986 and converted into residential apartments by 1989. It was at this time that it was renamed Crown Lodge.

Today, Crown Lodge is certainly a building that stands out, with distinct exterior stair well towers combined with red brick…”

2 thoughts on “The former Wray House, Elystan Street, Chelsea, London SW3”

  1. Very informative, I only hope that awesome buildings such as this, are well protected and preserved. I’m always very saddened by seeing old, beautiful buildings torn down, there have been so many pulled down in my home town, only to be replaced by LIDL or ALDI stores, it’s quite sickening. Beautiful old schools, cinemas, hospitals etc have been allowed to go into dilapidation and ultimately destroyed . The County Council should be held responsible for the wanton destruction and bloody get a grip, cut it out asap.


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