The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Spot listing saves Art Deco Nottingham fire station from demolition

Art Deco bas relief of a fire fighter that adorns the exterior of Nottingham’s central police and fire station (R.M. Finch, 1938-40)

Image: Zoe Clarke

Nottingham’s Art Deco former Police and Fire Station (R.M. Finch, 1938-40) has just been spot-listed at Grade II with the support of C20, saving the building from demolition. The prominent city centre site was earmarked for a new 12 storey student accommodation development, with a planning application due to go to committee in January 2023.

Finch, the Nottingham city engineer and surveyor, designed the building as an extension to the neighbouring late 19th-century Guildhall – also listed at Grade II. It is an important and distinguished interwar building in a modest Art Deco style, yet with a strong street presence that relates well to other prestigious civic buildings of the late 19th- and early 20th century in the area, several of which are listed. It is also remarkably well preserved, externally and internally, retaining original carvings of stylised police officers and fire fighters on its exterior. The interior is distinguished by high-quality elaborate steelwork balustrades with moulded timber handrails, carved and moulded timber surrounds to the appliance bays doors, fine timber wall panelling, decorative ironmongery and and terrazzo floors.

Some of the high-quality original fabric that survives internally, with richly decorated ironmogery, elaborate steelwork balustrades with moulded timber handrails, and decorative carvings on the door surrounds.

Numerous former C20 police & fire stations are still at risk across the country, but recent projects have seen many reborn as hotels, residences, schools, galleries & more. Pilgrim Street in Newcastle, Wood Street and Snow Hill in the City of London, Worship Street in Hull and Belsize Park in North London being notable examples.

In a key location among the Nottingham Trent University campus and close to the cities’ central core, Nottingham’s newly listed police and fire Station now represents a wonderful opportunity for a similar sensitive conversion to suit a range of new uses.

The full Historic England list description can be read here.

A period image of of the existing Police and Fire station, with the 12 storey student accommodation block that was proposed in its place.