Boutique hotel makeover for cells that once held Oscar Wilde and the Kray twins

George Sell By George Sell
19 September 2013 | Updated 19 September 2013

UK: Planning permission has been granted to turn London's Bow Street Magistrates Court into a boutique hotel.

Westminster Council approved a £20 million redevelopment, which will create a 99-bedroom hotel in Covent Garden. The development will also include a police museum called the Bow Street Runners' Museum.

The developers, Austrian brothers Rudolf and Christian Ploberger, will create four hotel bedrooms from 10 of the existing police cells, while a further eight cells on the ground floor will form part of the museum.

The Plobergers, who own a string of hotels across Europe, bought the Grade II listed site from Irish group Edward Holdings, and hope to open the hotel in 2015.

Dr Chris Miele, heritage and culture planning specialist at Montagu Evans, said: "Bow Street, the site of the famous 'Runners', has stood vacant for too long. The hotel and museum attraction will be unique in Covent Garden."

The courts closed in 2006 after 267 years in operation while the neighbouring police station closed nearly 20 years ago. As well as Wilde and London gangsters the Krays, suffragettes Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, Italian lothario Giacomo Casanova and infamous murderer Dr Crippen appeared in the court.

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