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Bridgeton Cross Box

Started by starcross, Nov 02, 2013, 09:07 am

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Nov 02, 2013, 09:07 am Last Edit: Mar 20, 2014, 07:16 am by hb88banzai



Mar 21, 2014, 04:22 pm #1 Last Edit: Nov 19, 2014, 12:54 pm by hb88banzai
The Box at Bridgeton Cross, between the underground lavatory entrances at the edge of The Umbrella - C4.

The above photos, however, are of the replacement Trench-inspired type Box that was installed when it was moved from the end of the eastern lavatory entrance stairs to the end of the southern lavatory entrance stairs (I'm not sure which was the Men's and which the Women's entrance). The new location is where a Tram control tower had previously stood.

Here's a photo of the original Box at its original location, probably circa 1950 --


From the many photos I've found of these boxes, the moving and replacement happened some time between about 1953 and 1960.

A blowup of this earlier Box --



First I've seen of these. Does this mean the Trench style boxes only started appearing during this time frame or are you talking about just replacing old boxes?


Mar 23, 2014, 05:38 am #3 Last Edit: Mar 28, 2014, 07:46 am by hb88banzai
They certainly came as a surprise to me when I first realized what they were.

As far as I can tell, these type of Boxes were installed right alongside the Trench-inspired boxes (of which there were two types) in 1933 only and they were kept in service for a very long time. The only one I know for sure was even replaced with a Trench type was this one at Bridgeton Cross. The one at St. Enoch Square probably was when it was moved in 1979, but we have no photos of the new location so don't know for sure.

The ones I've discovered so far:
A22 -
C2 -
C3 -
C4 -
C8 -

Where these particular Boxes came from are a bit of a mystery, as until I started looking at all the Box sites I had no clue they even existed. Of course we barely knew anything about the Mark 2 cast iron Boxes before one was discovered sealed up in a wall a few years back either.

Glasgow 1912 Mark 2 Box.jpg

Some background - The Mark 1 and Mark 2 Box types were cast iron and their designs date from 1891 and 1912 respectively, each ordered in response to Station and personnel shortages ensuing as a result of statutory expansions to the area under the jurisdiction of the Glasgow City Police Force in those years. Only 14 Mark 1s were initially ordered at the end of 1891, but by 1914 there were a total of 56 cast iron boxes of one or the other type in service, and Mark 2s appear to have continued to be installed over the next few years.

A Mark 1 in Springburn (E22) some time after 1901 (though there's another of it before 1894, so this was probably one of the first) --


A Mark 2 in Pollokshaws (D33 - in 1932 --


In late 1931 Percy Sillitoe took over as Chief Constable and conducted an audit of the Force. A big supporter of the new integrated Box systems sweeping the nation, he was surprised to discover there were already 91 Police Boxes on the streets, and the impression is that they were all cast iron types, but we really don't know for sure as there was quite a gap between the last report of 56 in 1914 (known to be all cast iron) and the report of 91 boxes in 1931. Most interesting, however, is that it was also noted that there were another 9 boxes on order. Were these more Mark 2's, or might they instead be a new, more modern concrete design?

It's currently my theory that these alternate type boxes (like the first one installed at Bridgeton Cross) were in fact those 9 new boxes that were on order, and that they may have been ordered specifically to test the new Ericsson Speakerphone equipment developed between 1930 and 1932 (an early version demonstrated to Police authorities in Glasgow in 1930). That, or they were an alternate design ordered in small numbers from another builder during the initial phase of installations for the new system in 1933. Regardless, they appear to have been considered worthy to keep as part of the new system and I think it's more than warranted to designate these as Mark 3 Glasgow Boxes, with the more familiar Trench-type boxes being Mark 4's (or Mark 4a and Mark 4b for the two different types initially installed that first year). Based on available photos, only Mark 4b's were installed after 1933.

The Mark 3 at St. Enoch Station (A22 - in the early 1950s --
St_Enoch_Square_Box-A22-( c1952-1955)-Blowup.JPG

A Mark 4a (D25 - some time around 1933 --
Glasgow Box 2.jpg
Note the windows and other panels are shifted will down on the front side of the Box. You can see another Mark 4a here: D4 -

And the more typical Mark 4b (C52 - in 1962 --

It remains remotely possible that these Mark 3's predate the Ericsson system, and that small numbers may have been installed prior to 1933, but this seems unlikely. None of the previous cast iron types were retrofitted with the new system, and the only ones that remained on the street appear to have been ones overlooked or not directly replaced by a concrete box on the exact same site (being retained as storage sheds or for some other purpose). Also, though we have quite a few photos of Mark 1's and Mark 2's in service between 1892 and the early 1930s, we don't have any of these Mark 3's that predate Sillitoe's scheme to modernize to the Crawley type of integrated Police Box System (as pioneered in Sunderland in 1923 and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in 1926).

Note: If the differences between a Glasgow Mark 4a and Mark 4b are deemed to be significant enough, perhaps we should just designate them Mark 4 and Mark 5 and have done with it. The differences between a Metbox Mark 2, Mark 3 and Mark 4 were certainly more subtle, and even the timber Metbox Mark 1's have been mistaken for the later types on occasion.


Nov 21, 2014, 06:27 am #4 Last Edit: Nov 21, 2014, 08:32 am by hb88banzai
Long overdue to update this.

Here is the only OS map I got before my source became problematic (1933-1934)--


Regrettably, the data for this map appears to have been collected just before the Box was sited, so it's not shown, but the Umbrella and Lavatories are. The original site was at the south end of the eastern Lavatory entrance (which is the rectangle just above the "a" in "Lav." at centre), and the 1950s resite was at the eastern end of the southern entrance (the rectangle just to the left of the lower line in the "L" in "Lav.").

The later OS maps were a bit of a mess anyway, as they tried to mash everything together at the Cross (items, labels, title to the Cross, etc.) so the clutter made it very hard to see what was what at these low resolutions (probably a bit better on the actual maps).

Here are the other photos I've found to date, in more or less chronological order - first of the original Mark 3 Box:

Probably the mid-to late 1930's, shortly after it was erected, but before the Tram control tower was --

bridgeton Cross (C4) - early Box again (probably circa late 1930s).jpg

Blowup --

bridgeton Cross (C4) - early Box again (probably circa late 1930s)-Blowup.JPG

And after (probably late 1940s to early 1950s) --


Blowup (all the way on the right, just behind the car) --


Near the same time period --


Blowup --


And the last photo I have of the early (Mark 3) type Box, this one from Coronation Day, 2 June 1953 --



Some time between the Coronation and about 1960 the Tram Control Tower was removed and the original Mark 3 Glasgow Box was replaced by a Mark 4 (Trench/Sillitoe) Glasgow Box:



Circa 1960 --

Bridgeton Cross (C4)-(c1960).JPG

Blowup --

Bridgeton Cross (C4)-(c1960)-Blowup.JPG

This one was tagged as being from the 1940s, but is clearly after the replacement, probably more than a bit after as the window above the phone door has been covered --

Bridgeton Cross (C4)- states 1940s but must be late 1950s-1960s.jpg

Enlarged --

Bridgeton Cross (C4) - states 1940s but probably later-enlarged.JPG

From September 1962 --

Bridgeton Cross - C4 - (Sep1962).jpg

Blowup --

Bridgeton Cross - C4 - (Sep1962)-Blowup.JPG

From a film chronicling the procession of the last Trams through Glasgow, 4 September 1962 --

Bridgeton Cross (C4) - LastTrams-1962.JPG

Bridgeton Cross (C4) - LastTrams-1962-1.JPG

Bridgeton Cross (C4) - LastTrams-1962-2.JPG

From 1967 --

Bridgeton Cross (C4) 1967.jpg

Blowup --

Bridgeton Cross (C4) 1967-Blowup.JPG

Early 1970s --

Bridgeton Cross (C4) - early 1970s.jpg

Blowup --

Bridgeton Cross (C4) - early 1970s-Blowup.JPG

25 September 1974 --

Bridgeton_Cross-(C4)-at_London_Road_and_Dalmarnock_Road--25 September 1974.jpg

Blowup --

Bridgeton_Cross-(C4)-at_London_Road_and_Dalmarnock_Road--25 September 1974-Blowup.JPG

December 1975 --

Bridgeton Cross (C4) from Orr St. at the Olympia.  December 1975.jpg

Blowup --

Bridgeton Cross (C4) from Orr St. at the Olympia.  December 1975-Blowup.JPG

Here's what The Umbrella looked like in 2009, after the area around it had been enlarged, but just before removal of the old Lavatories (view looking south) --

Bridgeton Cross 2009.jpg

Photo from November 2009 showing the demolition of the underground Lavatories --

Bridgeton Cross - LavatoryDemolition-Nov2009.jpg

What the Cross looked like as of October 2012 (eastern side now closed to traffic) --


The view is centered on where the Boxes once stood.

Finally, here is a higher resolution version of the photo that started this whole Topic (circa 1960) --


Blowup --



Nov 21, 2014, 09:01 am #5 Last Edit: Nov 21, 2014, 09:33 am by hb88banzai
Well, guess it's been awhile since I checked for more, so if the above mega-post wasn't enough for you here are a couple more photos:

The original Box (date unknown, but the group is the local Protestant Defence League) --

Bridgeton Cross Box (C4-Original)-ProtestantDefenseLeaguePhoto.jpg

Blowup --

Bridgeton Cross Box (C4-Original)-ProtestantDefenseLeaguePhoto-Blowup.JPG

You can better see here that the concrete Glasgow Mark 3's (like the cast iron Mark 2's before them) weren't square, but rather rectangular in floor plan with the door in one of the short ends. As far as I can tell, the only windows in these were in the door itself (with circular vents high in both side walls), and the speakerphone access door was on the left side of the box rather than in the front, main door side. Also, unlike the Trench/Sillitoe Mark 4 Glasgow Boxes they were never painted red. I haven't seen any colour photos of them, but they appear to be an off-white or stone colour with a darker door - the speakerphone door and top signal light housing (and possibly the front door as well) were probably GPO Red like the whole of the Mark 4's were painted before the late 60's.

Its replacement, probably some time in the 1960s --


Blowup --



Another image of this box found on ebay...


And a blowup:

s-l1600 blowup.jpg

Looks awfully light, doesn't it?
"Ashes and diamonds; foe and friend - we were all equal in the end."


Great Photo limerence...Is there a date on the postcard?
I'm guessing at early 1960's.....
Now it's to early for the box to have been painted blue (that was during the 1970's)
It certainly isn't red in this photo...
So maybe like quite a few of the met boxes it was going through an official renovation and we've got a snapshot of it with it's white primer mid-renovation.......  :o



No date unfortunately! 60s seems about right though based on the cars. Always a nice thing to see boxes being repainted! Or just seeing new box photos in general, really, but there's always something so exciting about seeing things out of the ordinary with them, since it brings in a lot of interesting discussion!
"Ashes and diamonds; foe and friend - we were all equal in the end."


Nice colour pic here