Police Boxes in Scotland
Originally written by Pete Darrington & updated by Gordon Barr
As explained in the history section, Scotland is really the only place you can still see traditional Police Boxes in their natural environment, with the exception of the new oversized box in Earls Court, London. Edinburgh has literally dozens of them still, but these are sadly more of the garden shed variety, not the more TARDIS-like Metropolitan style.
This is because Edinburgh City Council decided the Metropolitan boxes were not stylish enough for their city streets, so had their own unique design commissioned. Still worth looking at though, just to see what could have been, if Totter's Lane had been in Edinburgh...any way, Glasgow is the place to look and most of the Police Boxes there have been restored and are looked after by Ward Westwater and his wife.
Ward has spent many years and much effort rescuing police boxes from the scrapheap that the Glasgow police condemned them to. Altogether Ward owns 7 Police boxes and two of them are still in storage awaiting funds for restoration. He owns the box that on Buchanan St, the box on Wilson St, the box at Cathedral Square and the box in the process of being restored at the Transport museum. He also lent the Avoncroft Museum the two Police Boxes that currently reside there and in my opinion the man should be hailed as a hero! You can find details of his project on Police Box restoration at: http://website.lineone.net/~civildefence/
As mentioned in the introduction, Glasgow's boxes were originally red (as they were painted and maintained by the GPO, this was the same red as post boxes), but then later changed to blue. At the moment, all but one of the boxes on the streets have been painted blue, to better fit what people expect them to look like!All the boxes are Mk1 types.
1) Buchanan Street
The easiest to find of Glasgow's Boxes. Near the junction on Buchanan Street and Gordon Street, just along from Central Station. This box originally stood further up the road but was moved to make way for a new shopping centre. It now stands in the heart of the pedestrian area of the street. For a while it was painted white with coloured spots by art students, and featured an art installation that could be viewed through a lens behind the 'Pull to Open' door panel on the left. This used mirrors to make the box look bigger on the inside! Later returned to a standard blue colour, the art installation no longer works, and the box is looking slightly dilapidated.
2) Wilson St
This box should be next on your hunting list after the Buchanan box. Traveling on foot, follow St Vincent Street east from Buchanan St, along past George Square. Go south for a block on South Frederick Street, and turn left on Ingram Street. Walk east along Ingram St until you get to Glassford St on your right. Turn down here and Wilson Street is your second right. This box, situated on a traffic island, is the only on-street box still in its original red livery.
3) Cathedral Square
Another of Ward Westwater's recently restored boxes and the next closest of the five. Leave Buchanan St by West George St and follow the road until it is crossed by High Street. Turn left up the High Street, and carry on up the hill towards the Cathedral. The box is on your right just before Cathedral Precinct. This box was red until quite recently, and will shortly be being refurbished prior to being used as a coffee kiosk. Currently missing its lamp.
4) Museum of Transport
The Museum of Transport is at 1 Burnhouse Road. Take the underground to Kelvinhall station. From the main exit, go left onto Dumbarton Road, and follow the road along. Just after crossing over the river Kelvin, the Kelvin Hall is on your right. Go down the side of the Kelvin Hall to find the entrance to the Transport Museum (admission is free!). The box sits towards the front left of the main hall, and is in a state of extreme disrepair. The museum intend to restore the box back to health soon.
5) Great Western Road
This box can be found at the top of Byres Road, where it meets Great Western Road, next to the entrance to the Botanical Gardens there. On the Underground, get off at Hillhead station, and on leaving the station walk up Byres Road to your left. The box is obvious sitting at the junction at the top of the road. This box has recently been restored and repainted, and if you visit during the day, you can buy a coffee from the kiosk inside it! (aka "Coppacino!")