What does the name evoke?
Crimes, criminals, police and the worlds of Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, Adam Dalgliesh and Hercule Poirot.
There is a mythic persona to the place so much so that even when you utter the name, you do it reverentially.
There are only a handful of buildings in the world which have this kind of aura, this kind of mythology – The White House, Kremlin, The Tower of London, Bastille etc.
Of course, I am leaving out the religious places and tombs from this list – that’s why no Vatican, no Taj Mahal, no pyramids, no Angkor Wat or Temple of Bayon, no Mecca, no Kashi Vishwanath Temple, no Temple Mosque/Synagogue of Jerusalem – I am only looking at the government institutions.
Also, when you talk about Chichen Itza and Machu Pichu, what you get are entire cities, not a specific building.
And so Scotland Yard – one of the Jerusalem, Vatican, Mecca and Kashi for all crime story aficionados.
So what is Scotland Yard?
Some yard in Scotland where the Scottish people get drunk on Scotch and then rue that the Scots ruined Scotland?
Nope, Scotland Yard (officially New Scotland Yard) is a metonym for the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, the territorial police force responsible for policing most of London.
The name derives from the location of the original Metropolitan Police headquarters at 4 Whitehall Place, which had a rear entrance on a street called Great Scotland Yard. The Scotland Yard entrance became the public entrance to the police station, and over time the street and the Metropolitan Police became synonymous.
A name to be revered and respected.
And now to be crapped in.
That’s right folks – Scotland Yard is dead.
Its time for Scotland Yard Hotel.
The original Scotland Yard police station is to be turned into a new five-star luxury London hotel with rooms costing up to £10,000 a night under a £110mdeal involving Galliard Homes and a Dubai-based developer.
Galliard acquired the lease in December 2013 but has now secured the backing of LuLu Group, a Middle East business run by Yusuffali Kader, one of India’s richest men, to open the Great Scotland Yard Hotel in early 2017.
The Great Scotland Yard as it will be called, will offer guests suites costing as much as £10,000 per night after it undergoes a £50m refurbishment.
The seven-storey hotel will also host two bars, a restaurant, library, and private entertainment and dining space, employing 250 staff.
Don O’Sullivan, managing director of Galliard Homes, said: ‘Galliard Homes is delighted to have reached an agreement with Lulu Group International to create a bespoke five-star hotel in the heart of London’s Whitehall.
‘Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts were chosen as the operator because of their reputation for perfect hospitality, quality and outstanding customer service.
‘The Great Scotland Yard Hotel will be a brand synonymous with exceptional service and refined luxury and quality.’
The hotel will provide a mix of luxury bedrooms, two bars, restaurants, library, lobby/lounge and private meeting, entertaining and dining rooms complete with 24/7 concierge service.
An adjoining Grade II listed Victorian townhouse will be incorporated into the hotel and used to create an entertaining suite.
The hotel is scheduled to open in early 2017 and will employ 250 full time staff.
Puneet Chhatwal, chief executive officer of the Steigenberger Hotel Group, said: ‘This iconic five-star hotel will mark the entry of the Steigenberger brand into the vibrant and world-renowned London hotel market.
‘Our vision is to create an outstanding five-star hotel drawing on our reputation for quality and service combined with the outstanding central location, grand architecture and fascinating history of Great Scotland Yard.’
Lulu Group is run by Indian businessman Yusuffali Kader, who is worth £1.6billion.
He is the latest Indian to plough his cash into the London property market, with more than £1billion invested over the past two years.
So there you have it folks.
We Indians have bought the goddamn Scotland Yard.
The current batch of Englishmen are pissing themselves silly with indignation at the “inhumanity” of the thing.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, Queen Victoria, Lord Kitchener, Winston Churchill and all those Victorians just dug themselves out of their graves, dug new graves and went into those new graves and turned over.
Somewhere in heaven, Netaji, Sardar, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Bhagat Singh, Lala Rajpat Rai and all those eminent Indians are cracking up with laughter at the irony and schadenfreude of the thing.
The Buckingham Palace and the Tower are next.