Great Scotland Yard

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Great Scotland Yard
Great Scotland Yard SW1 - - 1623573.jpg
Great Scotland Yard, at the junction with Scotland Place
Location St. James's, Westminster, London, England
Postal code SW1

Great Scotland Yard is a street in the St. James's district of Westminster, London, connecting Northumberland Avenue and Whitehall. It is best known as the location of the rear entrance to the original headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service of London.


Street sign of Great Scotland Yard

Although the etymology is not known for sure, according to a 1964 article in The New York Times, the name derives from buildings in the area being used to accommodate the diplomatic representatives of the then Kingdom of Scotland and occasionally Scottish kings when they visited English royalty.[1] By the 17th century the street had become a site of government buildings and residences for civil servants. The architects Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren once lived there. From 1649–51, the poet John Milton lived there during the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell's rule.

According to the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), the original Metropolitan Police Commissioner's office was located at 4 Whitehall Place, with a rear entrance on Great Scotland Yard. An 1862 map of Westminster shows this location.[2] Over time, the name Scotland Yard came to be used generally as a metonym for the police headquarters.[3]

"The Clarence" pub at the corner of Great Scotland Yard and Whitehall

A 1799 map of Westminster shows two other streets (no longer existing) named Scotland Yard. Middle Scotland Yard was located to the south of, and parallel to Whitehall Place. Lower Scotland Yard was the next street to the south.[4]

The Clarence pub dates from 1896 and was named after the Duke of Clarence. At that time it was attached to the opposite corner across Great Scotland Yard by an archway. In 1908 the archway was removed in the redevelopment of Great Scotland Yard, the end of the building was refaced with newer and slightly different coloured bricks.

Since 1953 The Civil Service Club has been based in the Old Fire House, located at numbers 13–15, and is a social club for current and former members of the UK civil service.

Filming location[edit]

A World War II scene in the 2007 movie Atonement with Keira Knightley and James McAvoy was produced in this road as was a scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. The road was also used as part of the car chase scene from James Bond's Skyfall.


  1. ^ Farnsworth, Clyde H (May 15, 1964), "Move is planned by Scotland Yard", The New York Times .
  2. ^ Stafford – London & is suburbs (image database), Motco, 1862, retrieved 21 December 2010 .
  3. ^ Great Scotland Yard, Metropolitan Police Service, retrieved 24 July 2010 .
  4. ^ Horwood, Richard (1799), Map of London (image database), Motco, retrieved 21 December 2010 .

External links[edit]

Media related to Great Scotland Yard at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 51°30′23″N 0°07′32″W / 51.5064°N 0.1256°W / 51.5064; -0.1256