Scotland Yard, version x

Posted by Matt Kuhns on Apr 25, 2013

Spent a week in London, earlier this month. Good time, mostly, though I think even Dr. Johnson might find the modern city can be legitimately tiring even if one has not lost all interest in life. Unfortunately, the only detective-related sightseeing I fit in was this (which I found delightful); didn’t make it to Paddington Green or the Met Police Heritage Museum. Perhaps next time.

But I do have a photo of Scotland Yard, acquired through a photo exchange with a friend who also visited London this spring.

Scotland Yard of a sort

NOT the modern Scotland Yard, note.

I’m not entirely certain what vintage this is, or whether Jonathan Whicher would have recognized anything here. The red and white Victorian castle clearly matches an illustration at the Met’s web site, which indicates that it was the first “New Scotland Yard” (of multiple such), but I’m not sure when it was built. The photographer described the scene, meanwhile, as “old old Scotland Yard, the one before Old Scotland Yard. [i.e.] the location of the courtyard of Whitehall Palace… around which the part of the palace reserved for Scottish royals, should they ever visit, was situated.”

It may be both? Just to add to the confusion, the Met’s web site suggests that even the etymology of the original Scotland Yard is in question. In addition to the “London guest house for Scottish royalty,” they suggest that the name is also “said to have derived from the land being owned by a man called Scott during the Middle Ages.”

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