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‘Another piece of modern history gone’

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The former home of the police services's Central Division has been reduced to rubble.

The Allenhurst Building on Parliament Street, Hamilton, which has police links dating back to the 1920s, was torn down to make way for a new international arbitration centre.

The destruction of the 1906-constructed building, which became the Hamilton Police Station in 1978 as a stopgap measure, but was only vacated when a new station opened in the Dame Lois Browne Evans Building 33 years later, brought mixed emotions from former police officers.

Andrew Bermingham, who joined the service as a constable in 1964 and retired in 1994 as a Superintendent, admitted the building was not designed for the job and was never ideal for use as police station.

Mr Bermingham, who served at the previous Parliament Street station, where the Government Administration Building now stands, said he remembered when the news was broken that Central Division would have to move.

He added: “We were told we'd moving out and we'd be in the Allenhurst Building for two years.

“It took more than 30 years to move from the Allenhurst Building to the new police station.”

The Allenhurst Building, however, had been of use to the police before.

It was built for the Furnishing & Supply Company and converted to the Allenhurst Hotel a few years later.

The Government bought the building in the 1920 for offices and it became the headquarters of HM Customs and also housed the Accountant General's department.

But the upper floors were used as police barracks for Central Division officers for several years.

Mr Bermingham, the president of the Bermuda Historical Society, said: “In my recollection, the old station was very antiquated, but in many respects it was a better facility than the Allenhurst, which had four storeys.”

He added the earlier station had been purpose-built for the police.

But he added: “The Allenhurst Building had history to it, no doubt about it. In different days, it may have been salvaged — it looked pretty solid when they knocked it down.

“But it's another piece of modern history that's gone. It's sad to see it go.”

Former Detective Superintendent George Rose, who spent several years in the station as CID officer, wrote on the ex-police association website earlier this month: “The building was abandoned by the Accountant General when it was condemned structurally and also declared a fire risk by the fire service.”

He added: “The roof was flat and was a constant source of water drip.

“During the height of Hurricane Emily in September 1987, a ‘waterfall' was seen running from the rooftop down inside the building and into the basement where it had to be pumped out later.”

The Allenhurst Building was pressed into service when Government told police that a replacement for the rundown Casemates Prison in Dockyard would have to take priority over a new police station in Hamilton.

An article on the Bermuda Ex-Police Officers Association website said that the Allenhurst Building had fallen into disuse, was “practically derelict” and ravaged by termites by the end of the 1960s, when Customs officials moved out.

It needed major renovations before it could be used as a police station, which included the installation of holding cells, a reception area, interview rooms and offices for unformed and CID officers.

The adjoining Valerie T Scott Building, last used as the Information Commissioner's offices and also demolished, was used to house CID officers from the 1960s.

Photograph by Akil Simmons
Photograph by Akil Simmons
Photograph by Akil Simmons
Photograph by Akil Simmons
Photograph by Akil Simmons
Photograph by Akil Simmons
Photograph by Akil Simmons
Photograph by Akil Simmons
Photograph by Akil Simmons
Photograph by Akil Simmons
Photograph by Akil Simmons

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Published July 19, 2020 at 2:09 pm (Updated July 19, 2020 at 4:09 pm)

‘Another piece of modern history gone’

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