The first headquarters was in the old Guildford Borough Police Station in Corn Market house but only until the new headquarters was completed in Woodbridge Road in 1854. In 1946 the county force was rapidly expanding and in the process of absorbing the previous Borough forces of Guildford and Reigate and a more suitable headquarters was required.
The Surrey Constabulary had been looking for new headquarters for some time and, finally, in 1948, Mount Browne in Sandy Lane, Guildford, was purchased at a cost of £17,500.
Many alterations had to be carried out from creating access roads through to arranging refuse collections. The then Home Secretary, The Right Hon. J Chuter Ede MP formally opened the new headquarters on 23 September 1949 in the presence of 78 guests and 120 police officers from across the county.
The History of Mount Browne
The 19th-century, red-bricked building at the heart of the headquarters complex was originally bought in 1891 by George John Browne, the Third Marquis of Sligo. The family crest is an eagle and has the motto “Suivez la raison” – let reason be your guide – an equally fitting motto for police officers.
Browne, of Irish descent and living in County Mayo, succeeded his father as Marquis in 1845, at the tender age of 26. He married Isabelle de Peyronnet of France, and moved to England, initially to Loseley Park near Guildford, with ambitions of witnessing ghost activities. He then moved to Oakdene and renamed it Mount Browne. He died in 1896, leaving his widow and twin daughters – Ladies Isabel and Mary – to the house. His widow died in 1927, but the house stayed within the family until the death of his daughter, Lady Isabel, in 1947. After that, Mount Browne was purchased by Surrey Constabulary.
The Dog School
World War I saw the first formal use of dogs by the Force, with bloodhounds used to track escaped prisoners. Although they proved successful, the end of the war also brought the end of the use of dogs.
It was not until 1948, that the Chief Constable with an interest of working dogs renewed trials. PC Harry Darbyshire transferred from the Metropolitan Police to Surrey with an Alsatian bitch, named Anna of Avondale (left), and her son Loki. Anna soon proved her worth when she tracked from the scene and located an offender of a burglar. It was from these two that the Surrey Police Dog Section was formed.
PC Darbyshire had trained and competed with Alsatians in working trials for years and brought with him much experience and expertise. Kennels were subsequently built at Mount Browne and several successful litters of Alsatian and Doberman Pinscher puppies were reared. In honour of the Force’s first dog, the Anna of Avondale dog trials are held every year. The Dog Section was later expanded to become a regional police dog training centre and has since trained dog handlers from around the world.
In 2002 the dog school underwent a full refurbishment. The old kennel block was replaced, the classroom facilities were improved and a separate facility for vets to treat the dogs was added. The new facility was officially opened by Bruce Forsyth OBE.
Development of Mount Browne
|1949||23 September – Formally opened by the Home Secretary, the Rt. Hon. J Chuter Ede MP.|
|1969||New four-storey extension, including study bedrooms, opened|
|1970||Work completed, within the mansion, on a Command Suite for Senior Officers|
|1975||Second extension completed, housing much of the crime department together with the operations room, where all 999 calls originating within the Force area are dealt with. In the same year, 13 more acres of land to the east of the estate purchased for dog training|
|1984||New training school completed on land adjoining the sports field, followed by the Firearms Range|
|1996||New Force Information Centre completed|
|1998||Scientific Support Centre opened|
|2001||Creation of the Force Museum. The museum is currently closed to visitors until further notice.|
|2002||The newly refurbished Regional Police Dog Training School is opened|
|2003||The old stable block is converted to the Call Handling Centre and Crime Reporting Bureau.|