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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
19th March 1944 Tippett's oratorium Child of Our Time, premieres in London
Mystery of Scotland Yard
Scotland Yard was built on the site of an unsolved murder.
Location: Scotland Yard, Westminster
Description: Scotland Yard, spiritual home of the police, was built on an unsolved murder mystery. When the previous building was being removed a headless female body, the victim of an unsolved murder, was found in the basement of the building. It remains unsolved.
By the 17th century, the street had become the site of a number of government buildings, with the architects Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren living there. From 16491651, the poet John Milton lived there during the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell's rule.
Scotland Yard was founded along with the Metropolitan Police by Sir Robert Peel, with the help of Francois-Eugene Vidocq. It opened for business as administrative headquarters of the Service on 29 September 1829, housing the two commissioners and their administrative staffs in a complex of about 50 rooms. It was not (and has never been) a police station in the usual sense, with each division of the police instead operating their own local stations.
The building's main entrance was at number 4 Whitehall, but a public office was installed at the rear of the building in Great Scotland Yard and so gave the building its name. The staff of Scotland Yard were responsible for internal security, public affairs, recruitment, correspondence and other administrative matters. Their duties grew steadily over time as the size of the Service increased.
On 30th May 1884, the Fenians exploded a bomb at the location, which blew a hole in the wall of Scotland Yard, and damaged the Rising Sun public house. People came to inspect the damage, and the proprietor charged 3d (about 1p) a head for spectators, and his premises thereby gained an unsought popularity.