Ex-police station hit by bomb attack could be turned into flats

A pipe bomb was thrown at the building in 1881, causing some damage and waking the local constables.

Ex-police station hit by bomb attack could be turned into flats Google 2020

Midlothian Council has submitted plans to turn a former police station that was targeted by bombers in the 19th century into flats.

The local authority has submitted plans to its own officers for the former police building on Church Street, Loanhead.

They outline a plan to create a reception at the front of the building area and seven studio flats within the two-storey main body of the property.

Loanhead Police Station was one of a number of bases closed by Police Scotland following a review three years ago.

Policing in Loanhead had an explosive history dating back to the 19th century, when the old station was targeted by bombers as part of what was described as the world’s first organised terrorist campaign.

A series of bombings in 1881 were carried out by a small group led by Jeremiah Rossa, who had broken away from the Irish Republic Brotherhood after the abortive rising in Ireland in the 1860s and believed targeted attacks on mainland Britain were the way ahead for his cause.

On Saturday, June 12, 1881, Loanhead Police Station was the target.

A pipe bomb was thrown at the building, causing some damage and waking the local constables, although no one was injured.

The attack was linked to members of Rossa’s group, with no explanation offered; however, Loanhead had, at that time, become a  gathering spot on Saturday nights for local miners, many of whom were Irish.

It was reported at the time that a number of Irish miners had been locked in the cells on the night in question after what had become regular disturbances, and friends appeared to have tried unsuccessfully to help them escape and take revenge on the local police officers.

The arrested men were removed to Joppa Police Station following the explosion and later appeared in court, where they received sentences of up to 30 days hard labour for breach of the peace offences.

By Local Democracy Reporter Marie Sharp