The BBC’s perennially popular hero, Doctor Who, journeys through space and time in his TARDIS, a time machine that looks like a blue telephone box. The tardis has now entered British parlance as a synonym for something that appears deceptively small, but contains hidden dephts.
A few of theses mysterious blue box have survived on the streets of London, like this ones on the photos from places such as: Postman’s Park, Guildhall Yard, outside St Botolph Church in Alddgate, Liverpool Street Station, Aldersgate Street, Victoria Embankment (opposite Middle Temple Lane), the corner of Queen Victoria and Friday Street and on Walbrook (opposite Bucklersbury). Also look out for other survivors on Piccadilly Circus and outside the US Embassy on Grosvenor Square. Irronically, the latter is not locked and is still in working order, despite the heavy 24-hour police presence.
Before the advent of the walkie-talkie and the mobile phone, British “bobbies” on the beat relied on theses police boxes to report crimes, request back-up, or even to lock up a suspect until a patrol car arrived. If the blue light on the roof was flashing, passing officers would pop in to call the nearest station then hotfoot it to the crime scene.
The phones also served as emergency hotlines for the public. The first wooden police boxes appeared in Britain in 1888. They cost a trifling £13 to build and were equipped with a desk, log book, first aid kit, fire extinguisher and eletric heater. No doubt they also contained a kettle in case coppers wanted a cuppa.
In 1929, Gilbert Mackenzie Trench devised a sturdier concrete design. With sirens replacing the flashing lights, they doubled as air raid warning signals during World War II. By 1953, there were 685 police boxes in London; but technology soon rendered them obsolete and in 1969 the Home Secretary ordered their removal.