All of the witness statements in the Barney case, plus interviews with defendants and forensic experts, took place at, or were collated at, Gerald Road Police station.
Because of its situation, in the heart of Belgravia, this was no ordinary “cop shop” and some police historian could do worse than tell its tale. Until it closed in 1993, it probably dealt with more upper-class misdemeanours , misbehaviour and criminality than any station in the country – from Woosterish pranks in the 1920s, through to Victor Hervey, the Marquis of Bristol, and his “Mayfair Mob” in the late 1930s up to the Lord Lucan case in the 1970s. It also had a particular association with the lost art of Cat-Burglary – legendary names such as Peter Scott, Taters Chatham and Ray “The Cat” Jones were all regular “customers”.
This familiarity with society’s upper-echelons partly explains what seems today to be the undue deference and patience accorded to Elvira, who threatened dire consequences for the officers attempting to arrest her. She slapped one and pointedly invoked her mother’s name and status to the others. Instead of being hauled off to the station she was allowed to return to Belgrave Square until she was actually charged.A similar reluctance to intervene ,despite numerous complaints about the noise and arguments at 21 William Mews, may be said to have allowed Elvira to believe she could behave pretty much as wildly as she wished.
The flipside of this forelock-tugging was that the Gerald Road interviewers knew how to get their posh clientele to talk. This explains why a set of people, who largely treated the police force with scorn, gave such full and detailed statements. Reluctant to come forward they may have been but, within a few days, a reasonably comprehensive picture of the night of May 30th had been provided to the police by the witnesses – and Elvira herself.
Gerald Street station was also famous for its floral display. If you want a glimpse of a lost England, check out this British Pathe footage from 1957.