Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Eleven TARDISES for Eleven Doctors

If you’ve been reading my other blogs, you’ll have seen that I’ve met up with a number of fellow Who fans and taken them on guided tours of London and the sights to see Who-related.
Amongst my regular stop-off points are the Earls Court Police box and the two Police Posts at Picadilly Circus and St Martin Le Grand.

I always knew of the Picadilly one, but it was some time before I found out about the one near St Pauls. With little other information, I always assumed (the eighth deadly sin) that that was that was left.

But following my latest write-up about the tour with Mark Ferris, a friend contacted me to let me know he had spotted another one, this time in Grosvenor Square, a stones throw from the current American Embassy. What?? There’s THREE? Sure enough, after looking it up on Google Street View I found it.

That got me thinking and so I did some digging on the net and discovered - to my amazement - there are actually ELEVEN surviving Police Posts in the Greater London area. This needed further investigation, so I have been to visit all of them, and here ther are:


View London POLICE POSTS in a larger map

Post One
Location: Aldgate High Street

Model: PA450



Of note: This is quite a typical and good exampe of the City Of London Police Posts. It has a red glass lamp above the City’s crest, which is stuck on an arched plate. The door panel has a moulded PULL handle, as with a vast majority of surviving posts.

It uniquely has a row of holes on the rear top and bottom (see below, left and right).


Post Two
Location: Old Broad Street

Model: PA450



Of note: This is absolutely unique, with its Lantern Pole raising the lamp several feet above the Post (see left).
It looks like it has been butchered for a Terry Gilliam film, but this is aparently how it was!

Sadly the post is missing the POLICE Public Call POST sign on the front and the POLICE ones form the sides (see below, left).

Again it has the City Of London coat of arms on the arched front plate (see right).


Post Three
Location: Walbrook Street

Model: PA450



Of note: This is absolutely classic example of the City of London Posts.

Like the Aldgate High Street one it has a red plain glass lamp in excellent conditon, as also is the general paintwork of the post itself.


Post Four
Location: London Guild Hall Yard

Model: PA450



Of note: This further classic post is a bit tricky to spot. It is hidden around the corner of a building, and is obscured from view of the main street.

Post Five
Location: St Martin’s Le Grand

Model: PA450



Of note: This was the first City Of London Post I was aware of, and is a nice example.

The coat of arms doesn’t have the commonly-seen arched panel under it, making it more asthetically pleasing to my eyes!

Post Six
Location: Queen Victoria Street

Model: PA450



Of note: A further typical example, this one has seen better days and is missing its lamp and cage.
The paintwork has lost its gloss and it could do with some TLC.


UPDATE
Sadly on a recent revising, I discovered this post has been removed and where it stood has been paved over.

Post Seven
Location: Victoria Embankment

Model: PA450



Of note: This is undoubtly the sadest of all the surviving posts – all that is left is the shell as it is now missing its door, signage and lamp glass.

In recent years it has become a litter bin, with passing pedestrians using it for their rubbish.

The arched panel seen behind a lot of the City Posts is here, though there is no attributation, either City Police or Metroplitain, though it is probably the latter.


UPDATE
Sadly on a recent revising, I discovered this post has been removed and where it stood has been paved over.

Post Eight
Location: Piccadilly Circus

Model: “Fake” MP - PA450



Of note: I always thought this was an original one as I recall it going back many years, but I now gather the original was stolen, and a replacement was sited in its place. Though still an ‘original’ post, it is a City Police Post rather than the MP Post that had been there.
The MP logo was added, though it lacks the central crown (see posts 10 & 11 below).


Post Nine
Location: Grosvenor Square

Model: (MP) - PA350



Of note: This is one of only two surviving PA350s in London (the other in Northwood). They are earlier than the rest, dating from the late 1930s.
It is also a working post, with a modern phone inside! (see below, left).

Sometime since 2005, this post was relocated from its original kerb-side position a few feet away.

As it is possible to walk around the post, it is possible to see the makers mark on the back at gournd level: CARRON COMPANY, STIRLINGSHIRE.

The post has a nice example of the light, ala The Doctor’s TARDIS circa 1970s (see below, right).


Post Ten
Location: Northwood Police Station

Model: (MP) - PA350



Of note: This is probably one of the oldest surviving examples of this type of Police Post. Its possible that this is a first model made in 1937 or 1938.

The 4 inch brass handle on the telephone door (see below, bottom left) is the same as on Police boxes.
(All other surviving Posts have iron Pull handles moulded into the door)
The door still opens, as it has a working telephone inside! (see below, top right) This is probably because the Police Station it is outside (see below, top left) is only open six hours a week!

Finally, in the rear of the post, right down at the bottom, is the makers mark: CARRON COMPANY, STIRLINGSHIRE (see below, bottom right).


Post Eleven - well, Box
Location: Hendon Police Training College

Model: Police Box



Of note: This box is a converted period box, though it is not clear when or where it originally stood.

It is not accessible to the public, though it can be viewed from the window of Northern lines trains running between Colindale and Hendon Central.
Other Boxes and Posts
Box Twelve
Location: Earl’s Court Road
Model: Watchbox
Of note: I have not included this in the Eleven Posts and Boxes above as this is not an original from the 1950s or 60s, having been commissioned in 1996.
It was, however, constructed to the original speficications, with some modifications.
The ‘lamp’ on the top is actually a survellance camera (see below, left).

Post Thirteen - missing in action
Location: Liverpool Street (removed)
Model: PA450
Of note: This post stood on Liverpool Street up until relatively recently. This photo (see right) show it only a few years ago. it’s fate is currently unknown – probably lost in the vortex somewhere!



Box Fourteen
Location: Trafalgar Square (south east corner)



Of note: This is a Police Box where the chameleon circuit is still working!

Prior to the conventional blue-box shape, police boxes were in a variety of shapes, often built into street settings.

This is a rare surviving example from the 1950s and has now become a broom cupboard for the maintenance workers of Trafalgar Square!

The lamp housing is reported to be a fitting from the HMS Victory.




Saved for the nation!
If you can’t get to London to see the posts listed above, there are a number of rescued Police Posts in various museums across the UK. All are PA450s, most in very good condition.
The can be seen at: Crich Tram Museum (MP) (also Police Box, see left), The Amberley Working Museum, The Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings,  National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, Milton Keynes Museum - PA450 (Best decal of London City Police logo), Dyfed-Powys Police Station in Llangunno, Police museum in Ripon, Yorkshire and The Beamish Museum (newly restored).


5 comments:

  1. Nice one! Good to see so much history remains intact.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great blog post - very informative. You can see a picture of ours here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/beamishmuseum/4687642153/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Its a great summary you have here.
    I can see some of my notes peaking though, mostly the PA450 bits.

    PA 450 was the telecommunications system they used inside the Posts and at the Police station. If you manage to get a peak at GPO documentation it will say PA XXX somewhere on the drawing. If you see somehting older you might see PA 350, or really old like 1932 or earlier it would be PA 150.

    Although as a classification tool its not bad, but when describing the age it is actually more clear to go with the manufacturing details. Which would make all the Police Posts PA No.3; except for Grosvenor Square and Northwood which are actually PA No.2 posts. The Ericsson Pillar from the early 1930s is a PA No.1 in case you were wondering.

    Now within the Pa No.3 group there are two age markers. The 1955 style, and the 1963 style. Where the Victoria Embankment Post is from somewhere around 1955 to 1963, the Piccadilly Circus Post is from 1963 to the end of the era in 1970 or so when radios ended Police Telephone dependency.

    The easiest way to tell where they fall in the range is to look at the lantern. If the lantern rods attach directly to the stepped base then you have a 1963 style post. However if the rods connect to the stepped base with an bar bracket then its from the 1955 style.

    Co-incidentally the older 1937 style like Northwood has the bracket on the lantern as well. Which stands to reason as the 1955 style was really there to lighten the design by making it modular panels for erection on site. Its something like 780lbs vs 560lbs for the new design. As well the change in cap designs in 1963 was to make a cleaner casting and presumably make it easier to access the light bulbs.

    Anyway, I'm not sure if you are aware but your map is a bit low on Police Posts. There is actually a few more around London. There are two in Sidcup, and then one more in Greenwich area, and another in front of the Metropolitan police Museum.

    Pity about Liverpool street. It was a fine Post, I wonder why they removed it. Do you have any photos of the area? Was there road work done recently.

    Cheers

    ~Starcross

    ReplyDelete
  4. Its a great summary you have here.
    I can see some of my notes peaking through, mostly the PA450 bits.

    PA 450 was the telecommunications system they used inside the Posts and at the Police station. If you manage to get a peak at GPO documentation it will say PA XXX somewhere on the drawing. If you see somehting older you might see PA 350, or really old like 1932 or earlier it would be PA 150.

    Although as a classification tool its not bad, but when describing the age it is actually more clear to go with the manufacturing details. Which would make all the Police Posts PA No.3; except for Grosvenor Square and Northwood which are actually PA No.2 posts. The Ericsson Pillar from the early 1930s is a PA No.1 in case you were wondering.

    Now within the Pa No.3 group there are two age markers. The 1955 style, and the 1963 style. Where the Victoria Embankment Post is from somewhere around 1955 to 1963, the Piccadilly Circus Post is from 1963 to the end of the era in 1970 or so when radios ended Police Telephone dependency.

    The easiest way to tell where they fall in the range is to look at the lantern. If the lantern rods attach directly to the stepped base then you have a 1963 style post. However if the rods connect to the stepped base with an bar bracket then its from the 1955 style.

    Co-incidentally the older 1937 style like Northwood has the bracket on the lantern as well. Which stands to reason as the 1955 style was really there to lighten the design by making it modular panels for erection on site. Its something like 780lbs vs 560lbs for the new design. As well the change in cap designs in 1963 was to make a cleaner casting and presumably make it easier to access the light bulbs.

    Anyway, I'm not sure if you are aware but your map is a bit low on Police Posts. There is actually a few more around London. There are two in Sidcup, and then one more in Greenwich area, and another in front of the Metropolitan police Museum.

    Pity about Liverpool street. It was a fine Post, I wonder why they removed it. Do you have any photos of the area? Was there road work done recently.

    Cheers

    ~Starcross

    ReplyDelete
  5. A post was recently erected - late 2011 - (in commemoration of fallen comrades presumably) outside of Huntingdon Police Station. No details of the type of post at present.

    ReplyDelete