Search

Retired Hampstead police station sergeant laments the loss of ‘happy nick I loved’

12:00 17 January 2013

Jonathan Nicholls was a sergeant at Hampstead police station for 22 years

Jonathan Nicholls was a sergeant at Hampstead police station for 22 years

Archant

Jonathan Nicholls served as a sergeant at Hampstead from 1973 until his retirement in 1995. He now lives in Hertfordshire and is an author and musician. He recalls the good old days when the Victorian station was fully functioning and reflects on its closure.

I have just heard with disbelief and some sorrow that my “Happy Hampstead” nick which stands like a sentinel guardian in Rosslyn Hill will soon cease to be an operational police station and the front counter will close.

I joined the Met in 1968 and, after serving at Paddington for five years, was posted to “Happy Hampstead” in 1973 on promotion to the rank of sergeant.

I was told by one old sergeant: “You will love it here and won’t want to go anywhere else.”

How right he was. I soon grew very fond of Hampstead and its colourful community of writers, artists and actors. I stayed for the rest of my service and have some wonderful memories.

Life was busy at “E” Division Hampstead and we were the mother station to West Hampstead, situated in Fortune Green Road.

In spite of its location in a relatively peaceful plot of north London, Hampstead was a busy nick, manned by professional cops who genuinely cared for the community.

Among the many wonderful characters I met while working as a station sergeant at Hampstead was former Labour leader Michael Foot, who would lose Dizzy (his scruffy companion of a dog) when taking a morning jaunt up Rosslyn Hill. Sunday was always “Dog Day” at Hampstead when everyone seemed to lose their dogs on the Heath.

Where will they report their missing mutt now? How can there not be an active nick in Rosslyn Hill?

The police station is a necessary centre of the community.

I now live in Hertfordshire but often come up to Hampstead to meet old colleagues in one of the local hostelries and I am still addressed as sergeant by several locals who have not realised I retired 17 years ago. Hampstead needs a nick!

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Nazanin with her husband Richard and daughter Gabriella

West Hampstead mum Nazanin has finally seen a specialist for her back and neck, who said that without urgent treatment she could run the risk of permanent impairment

The new community centre designed by architects RCKa

The director of a community centre in Highgate Newtown is celebrating his services being saved - thanks to private

13:14
Gakleen Shahata

Police are increasingly concerned for the wellbeing of a deaf woman with learning difficulties after she went missing from a church in Golders Green.

11:37
The Magic Paintbrush will be performed at Jacksons Lane

A Highgate multi-arts venue has announced its spring season and it is bursting at the seams with shows for all the family.

Friday, February 17, 2017
Professor Emma Morris in her laboratory at the Royal Free. Photo: Anna Behrmann

Anna Behrmann speaks to Professor Emma Morris, part of a team of researchers who are genetically modifying patients’ immune cells to find tumours and kill them

Friday, February 17, 2017
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Haringey's cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Photo: Nigel Sutton

An overseas developer has been confirmed for Haringey’s plans to privatise large swathes of council estates and land - as legal action is launched and hundreds waved colourful signs in protest

Friday, February 17, 2017
Colin Leacock          Picture: CENTRAL NEWS

A man charged with raping a woman he met on a dating site after his domineering sister turned her into an “unpaid skivvy” has been cleared.

Friday, February 17, 2017
A tool surrendered in Dodoma, Tanzania, used to perform the 'dangerous practice' of FGM      Picture: Sala Lewis/Irish Aid/PA

The number of new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Haringey, Camden and Barnet have been revealed as the NSPCC said the practice has “no place in any society”.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Are you in need of a new kitchen? Try our competition and you could win a brand new one!

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now