They may not actually be able to time travel, but these original blue police call boxes are as close as you’ll get to a real Tardis…
In 1963, when Doctor Who began, hundreds of blue police phone boxes were scattered all over the UK. They served a very important purpose in the days before the Internet and smartphones. Inside these iconic boxes was a telephone in which passers-by could alert the police when something was awry on the fair streets of Britain.
Over the years, local authorities tore them down, but little did they know the Doctor Who phenomenon would outlive them. However, Glasgow is one city in the UK that has preserved a handful of original (Tardis-style) police call boxes. One clever chap named Ward Westwater bought some of the remaining boxes and restored them (now they are even considered listed buildings!). Here’s exactly where you can find them on the streets of Scotland…
1. Buchanan Street, Glasgow G1
Find this central police box outside Nationwide building society, near Central Station. It was moved recently to make way for a city shopping centre, but we think it fits in rather well. You can just imagine Matt Smith leaping from the door wielding a sonic screwdriver. This particular box has been made-over a number of times. Once it was painted white with polka dots by some art students and another time it was splashed with gold and black. At one point, it was even used as an ice cream stand.
2. Cathedral Square, Glasgow G4
This box on the corner of Castle Street used to be red, but was painted blue for the Who fans. At one point the police box here was transformed into a coffee hut, selling homemade beverages to warm up walkers on a cold day; we’re not sure the Doctor would have approved – surely tea is more his tipple?
3. Wilson Street, Glasgow G1
This police box once stood beside some underground loos. It was on an island in the middle of the street, next to some iron railings leading down to said bogs. Now it sits on a new improved larger pavement, fully refurbished with a reinforced concrete exterior, new metal six pane windows and the whole thing was rewired, so it fully illuminates on top.
4. Great Western Road, Glasgow G12
Set on the corner of Byres Road and Great Western Road, next to the Botanical Gardens, this one sits in the middle of a fence, like it’s just landed from space and taken a chunk right out of the iron. After being restored, it’s in pretty good nick and well worth a photo. Remarkably, this one used to be a coffee shop too.
Police boxes around the UK
Original Tardis-style police boxes can be found elsewhere, but you will have to pay for the privilege. There’s one at the Grampian Transport Museum in Aberdeenshire (entry £9.50), one in Derbyshire at the Crich Tramway Village (entry £13), one at Avoncroft Museum in the Midlands (entry £6.50) and another at Kent Police Museum in The Historic Dockyard (entry £18.50). Replicas can also be found throughout the UK, including one at Wetherby Police Station in North Yorkshire and Earl’s Court tube station in London. Meanwhile, Dorset is currently building a police box – find out more here.
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