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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > 527 > Box of Delights

Box of Delights

The police public call box is best known as the shape adopted by the Doctor’s TARDIS, but at one time these distinctive structures had an important real-life function. Alarmed by the disappearance of police boxes from the streets of Glasgow, Ward Westwater decided to save as many as he could…
This restored police box was installed on Glasgow’s London Road for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Photo © Kenny Smith.

“Police boxes went out with flower power”, said Tegan in the 1982 story Time-Flight, and she wasn’t far wrong – home secretary James Callaghan ordered the removal of police boxes from London streets in 1969.

Once a common sight in Britain, police boxes were rendered obsolete when officers of the law began using two-way radios in the late 1960s and early 70s. Sadly, the boxes vanished not with a wheezing, groaning sound, but more of a crunching noise as the concrete installations were demolished by workers with hammers.

Although replica boxes have since been created, notably at Earls Court in London, there are still some original police boxes on the streets of Britain – and they’re in the birthplace of former Doctor Peter Capaldi. Glasgow’s police boxes were akin to the famous Gilbert Mackenzie Trench design for London’s Metropolitan Police, on which the TARDIS was based. These boxes first materialised on the streets of Scotland’s largest city in 1932, and over the next six years a total of 323 were installed, connected to the divisional headquarters, the public telephone network, police stations and other police boxes in Glasgow. In the early 1930s each box cost around £60 to construct, the approximate equivalent of £3,843 today.

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Issue includes: Exclusive interviews with companion actors Wendy Padbury, Sophie Aldred and Carole Ann Ford BACK TO SCHOOL Class cast members Greg Austin, Fady Elsayed, Vivian Oparh and Jordan Renzo, and composer Blair Mowat, talk about the spin-off series' new audio adventures at Big Finish. LONDON, 1965! An inside look at Twitch's viewing marathon which is live-streaming over 500 episodes of Doctor Who's original 1963-89 run. GLASGOW'S POLICE BOXES One man's mission to save the disappearing police boxes from the streets of Glasgow. NEW DOCTORS The third part of our series of articles looking back at the ways new Doctors have been introduced to the public. WHO, ME Australian comedian Rob Lloyd tells DWM about his Doctor Who themed show Who, Me. THE MAN WHO SAVED THE DOCTOR A tribute to Graham Strong, the man who made soundtrack recordings of 1960s Doctor Who. THE CLOCKWISE WAR Part Four of The Clockwise War, our new comic strip adventure featuring the Doctor and Bill, written by Scott Gray and illustrated by Martin Geraghty. TIME TEAM The Time Team takes a virtual trip to Gallifrey, watching three adventures set on the Doctor's home planet: 1969's The War Games, 1976's The Deadly Assassin and 2015's Hell Bent. THE FACT OF FICTION This issue's Fact of Fiction delves into the 2010 Eleventh Doctor story The Vampires of Venice. VORTEX MANIPULATOR We show you how to make Captain Jack Harkness' favourite gadget in a simple step-by-step guide. PLUS... The Blogs of Doom, previews, DVD and audio reviews, news, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!