Trafalgar Square is one of London’s best known landmarks. Thousands of people visit every day. But very few of them would have taken notice of a small cylindrical building in the south-east corner of the square. It is made of granite and has a lamp on top of it. In fact a lamp to light the area was its original function.
Britain’s Smallest Police Station
However, in 1926 the granite column was hollowed out in order to become a one-person police station. Why? As it is today, Trafalgar Square was the focus point of many demonstrations. Scotland Yard decided it would be a good idea to use it as a place where secret surveillance of the demonstrators could be carried out. And if you look carefully at it, you will see vertical slits cut into the sides to allow such observations. There was also a telephone installed where the officer could talk directly with Scotland Yard.
It is said that the lamp on top of the structure came from HMS Victory, Admiral Nelson’s flagship a the Battle of Trafalgar but there is no real evidence for this. Today, it is no longer a police station or observation point. Instead it is used to store cleaning materials for the upkeep of the square. But as with other “secret” London locations, I have used it in a series of novels in the “Knights of Zardonia” stories.