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Police Boxes

Preservation, the Crich story

The Crich Police Box began life in 1936 as one of the hundreds commissioned for London. The box was situated in Tooting, although it's precise location there is unknown, it is presumed to be the box from outside the train station. There it saw service until later 1969, when most of London's Police Call Boxes were destroyed. The Tooting Box however was withdrawn intact, as an example of defunct Police Technology to go in the Hendon Museum. It's whereabouts from 1969 to 1983 are unknown.

In 1983, the Met. Police tried to give the box an indoor home, but weighing in at just under two tonnes, it proved to be a little too heavy for the floors, and a replica was sought. The box, still intact, was donated in 1983 to what was the the National Tramway Museum, and installed at the Town End Terminus, so the Inspectors and staff could make use of the telephone in the Box. It remains there to this day, although in recent years the Box has been deteriorating to a stage where it now needs urgent work to stop the British Weather and it's long years of service from ending a long and valiant career.

Somewhere along the line, time overtook the Police Box, and the Tooting Police Box is now the only existing example of a Mark Two Metropolitan Police Telephone Box, a single remaining link to both an earlier period in British History and a Science Fiction program that insured the Box's notoriety in British, Worldwide, and Sci-fi history

It was discovered in late 2003 that the Crich Police Box is a listed Heritage Building and that the Crich Tramway authorities were legally obliged to keep it in good repair. Unfortunately, they were failing to keep or even acknowledge this obligation and deterioration of the box continued, as did pressure on the tramway and council authorities to take action.

In late 2005, we were delighted to discover the restoration work had been begun on the Crich Box - the last of it's kind. Crich Tramway Village organised the work and supervised it's carrying out by an external contractor - Ward Westminster (heritage expert who has saved so many boxes about the country) is now the current guardian and came up with half the funds for the operation - CTV came up with the other half and get their Police Box back in their custody (a Police pun!) at some point in the future.

The Box has not yet been formally unveiled but reports indicate that the work has been done extremely well and aside from some quibbling about whether it has been painted the *exact* shade of blue, it now looks like the Crich box will continue to stand proudly and may yet outlast us all.

When a new set of photos showing restoration come through they will be added here - until then, here is a set of snaps showing the Crich box through time.

Click on any image for a larger version



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