Scotland Yard
New Scotland Yard
New Scotland Yard sign.jpg
The iconic sign outside the New Scotland Yard building on Victoria Embankment, City of Westminster. The sign came to prominence when it was first located outside an earlier Scotland Yard building.
General information
Town or cityCity of Westminster, Greater London

Scotland Yard (officially New Scotland Yard) is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, the territorial police force responsible for policing Greater London's 32 boroughs, but not the City of London, the square mile that forms London's historic and primary financial centre. Its name derives from the location of the original Metropolitan Police headquarters at 4 Whitehall Place, which also had an entrance on a street called Great Scotland Yard.[1] The Scotland Yard entrance became the public entrance, and over time "Scotland Yard" has come to be used not only as the name of the headquarters building, but also as a metonym for both the Metropolitan Police Service itself and police officers, especially detectives, who serve in it.[2] The New York Times wrote in 1964 that, just as Wall Street gave its name to New York's financial district, Scotland Yard became the name for police activity in London.[3]

The force moved from Great Scotland Yard in 1890, to a newly completed building on the Victoria Embankment, and the name "New Scotland Yard" was adopted for the new headquarters.[4] An adjacent building was completed in 1906. A third building was added in 1940. In 1967, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) consolidated its headquarters from the three-building complex to a tall, newly constructed building on Broadway in nearby Victoria. In summer 2013, it was announced that the force would move to Westminster's Curtis Green Building, which was once again renamed "New Scotland Yard."[5] In November 2016, MPS moved to its present headquarters, which continues to bear the name "New Scotland Yard," the fourth location to do so.[6][7]


The Metropolitan Police Service is responsible for law enforcement within Greater London, excluding the square mile of the City of London, which is covered by the City of London Police, and the London Underground and National Rail networks, which are the responsibility of the British Transport Police.

4 Whitehall Place

The original Scotland Yard (left, with clock) and Public Carriage Office (right)
The original Scotland Yard (left, with clock) and Public Carriage Office (right)
The "New" Scotland Yard (built 1890), now called the Norman Shaw Buildings; at the far right is the Curtis Green Building, which became New Scotland Yard in November 2016
The "New" Scotland Yard (built 1890), now called the Norman Shaw Buildings; at the far right is the Curtis Green Building, which became New Scotland Yard in November 2016

The Metropolitan Police was formed by Robert Peel with the implementation of the Metropolitan Police Act, passed by Parliament in 1829.[1] Peel, with the help of Eugène-François Vidocq, selected the original site on Whitehall Place for the new police headquarters. The first two commissioners, Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne, along with various police officers and staff, occupied the building. Previously a private house, 4 Whitehall Place (51°30′22″N 0°07′34″W / 51.50598°N 0.12609°W / 51.50598; -0.12609 (Original Scotland Yard - 4 Whitehall Place)) backed onto a street called Great Scotland Yard.

This building was acquired by hypermarkets operator Lulu Group International in 2015 and redeveloped into a luxury hotel, operated by Hyatt, which opened in December 2019.[8][9]

Victoria Embankment

By 1887, the Metropolitan Police headquarters had expanded from 4 Whitehall Place into several neighbouring addresses, including 3, 5, 21 and 22 Whitehall Place; 8 and 9 Great Scotland Yard, and several stables.[1] Eventually, the service outgrew its original site, and new headquarters designed by architect Richard Norman Shaw were built (51°30′08″N 0°07′29″W / 51.50222°N 0.12463°W / 51.50222; -0.12463 (New Scotland Yard - Norman Shaw North Building (second location))) on the Victoria Embankment, overlooking the River Thames, south of what is now the Ministry of Defence's headquarters. In 1888, during the construction of the new building, workers discovered the dismembered torso of a female; the case, known as the 'Whitehall Mystery', was never solved. In 1890, police headquarters moved to the new location, which was named New Scotland Yard. By this time, the Metropolitan Police had grown from its initial 1,000 officers to about 13,000 and needed more administrative staff and a bigger headquarters. Further increases in the size and responsibilities of the force required even more administrators and space. Therefore, new buildings were constructed and completed in 1906 and 1940, so that New Scotland Yard became a three-building complex. (51°30′07″N 0°07′28″W / 51.50183°N 0.12446°W / 51.50183; -0.12446 (Norman Shaw South Building (extension to New Scotland Yard))). The first two buildings are now a Grade I listed structure known as the Norman Shaw Buildings.

The original building at 4 Whitehall Place still has a rear entrance on Great Scotland Yard. Stables for some of the mounted branch are still located at 7 Great Scotland Yard, across the street from the first headquarters.

10 Broadway

The former New Scotland Yard building in Victoria Street
The former New Scotland Yard building in Victoria Street

The headquarters of the Metropolitan Police were moved to 8-10 Broadway in 1967, in a new building constructed on a site that also bordered onto Victoria Street.

In 2008, the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) bought the freehold of 10 Broadway for around £120 million.[10]

10 Broadway was sold to the Abu Dhabi Financial Group in December 2014 for £370 million, and redevelopment plans for a six-building, mixed-use development were approved in February 2016.[11] Ownership was officially passed from the MPA to the Abu Dhabi Financial Group when the relocation was completed on 31 October 2016;[6] the building began demolition later that year.[12]

Current location

Further information: New Scotland Yard (building)

The current site of New Scotland Yard, formerly the Curtis Green Building
The current site of New Scotland Yard, formerly the Curtis Green Building

In May 2013 the Metropolitan Police confirmed that the New Scotland Yard building on Broadway would be sold and the force's headquarters would be moved back to the Curtis Green Building on the Victoria Embankment. A competition was announced for architects to redesign the building prior to the Metropolitan Police moving to it in 2015.[13] This building previously housed the Territorial Policing headquarters and is adjacent to the original New Scotland Yard (Norman Shaw North Building).

Rotating sign
Rotating sign

In December 2015 construction work on the exterior of the Curtis Green building was completed.[14] On 31 October 2016, the Metropolitan Police staff left the building at 10 Broadway and moved to their new headquarters.[6] The new New Scotland Yard building was to have been opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 23 March 2017, but that same day it was announced that the Royal opening would be postponed, due to the preceding day's terrorist attack at Westminster.[7] The opening was re-arranged for 13 July 2017.[15] Like all three of its predecessors it houses the Met's Crime Museum (formerly known as the Black Museum), founded in 1874, a collection of criminal memorabilia not open to the public.[16]

Popular culture

Scotland Yard has appeared in books, films, television etc. since the Victorian era when it featured in the Jack the Ripper cases and the stories of Sherlock Holmes.[17][18] In Monty Python's 1969 sketch "The Funniest Joke in the World", Graham Chapman plays a Scotland Yard inspector who leaves the house with the joke in hand before dying from laughter.[19]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Metropolitan Police Service – History of the Metropolitan Police Service". Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  2. ^ Newton, Stephen Leslie (1992). German/English Lexicographical Contrasts: City, Queen (quean), Yard. University of California, Berkeley. p. 75.
  3. ^ Farnsworth, Clyde H. (15 May 1964). "Move is planned by Scotland Yard". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  4. ^ Hutton, Mike (15 March 2012). The Story of Soho: The Windmill Years 1932-1964. p. 104. ISBN 978-1-445-60684-2.
  5. ^ "New Metropolitan Police HQ announced as Curtis Green Building". BBC News. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Bullen, Jamie (1 November 2016). "Metropolitan Police staff move out of New Scotland Yard after 49 years". Evening Standard. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  7. ^ a b The words "New Scotland Yard" (in tall letters) can be seen in a photograph of the front of the building, atop the glass entrance at the base of the facade. Patel, Salina (23 March 2017). "Royal opening of new Met Police HQ postponed following London terrorist attack: The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were due to visit New Scotland Yard today". Trinity Mirror Southern. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  8. ^ Ackerman, Naomi (9 December 2019). "First look: Scotland Yard hotel opens after revamp". Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  9. ^ "Great Scotland Yard Hotel". Hyatt. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  10. ^ Justin Davenport (30 October 2012). "Metropolitan Police to sell New Scotland Yard". Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  11. ^ Curry, Rhiannon (24 February 2016). "Green light to demolish New Scotland Yard to make way for flats". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  12. ^ Rowlinson, Liz (18 October 2019). "Prime property buyers return to Westminster". Financial Times. London. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Met confirms Scotland Yard to be sold". The Australian. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  14. ^ Spendelow, Nathan (1 December 2016). "New Met HQ officially completed, with police to move in by end of next year". Get West London. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  15. ^ Grafton-Green, Patrick (13 July 2017). "The Queen comes face-to-face with bomb disposal robot and arsenal of weapons on tour of Scotland Yard's new HQ". Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  16. ^ "The Crime Museum". Metropolitan Police. Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  17. ^ Begg, Jack the Ripper: The Definitive History, p. 205; Evans and Rumbelow, pp. 84–85
  18. ^ "Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson in the 21st century: it's elementary". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  19. ^ "Monty Python's 10 funniest sketches". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 September 2019.
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Coordinates: 51°30′10″N 0°7′27″W / 51.50278°N 0.12417°W / 51.50278; -0.12417