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Tardis in Hastings

Started by type40plus, Apr 18, 2014, 04:50 pm

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No matter how much detail you remember, the memory does cheat.  Years back when I first discovered this forum, I posted a request for a photo of the Police Box that was at the bottom of our road when I lived in London.  I even remember going back there in the 70s and finding it gone, only to be told by an old friend that it had been demolished after a lorry had run into it sometime at the turn of the decade.  I posted Google Street view captures of the site.

It wasn't until Dalekoracle posted the Met List that I realised there was never a Police Box at the bottom of our road, and that I must have meant one a couple of miles away, near some shops that we used to visit.  Yes I was wrong.  But to this day I can still remember walking down that road past a Police Box.  The details are correct (we did walk past it on the way to some shops), but the location isn't.   No matter how detailed my memory's in error.

Not saying this lady is also wrong, but it is possible, no matter how well she remembers it.  Especially since one would expect there to be at least some documentation of a Police Box in a park in Hastings.  This is definitely an unusual photograph since it isn't from the front (where most photos are taken).  If it is a Met box in the Greater London area, then there probably does exist a photo from the front, with railings on either side and a Post Office box and A.R.W. siren to the right.


Jun 15, 2015, 03:12 pm #16 Last Edit: Jun 15, 2015, 03:25 pm by galacticprobe
I don't know if this will help any, but looking at the enhanced photo (and lightening it up a little):
Possibly Park in Hastings (per girl in pic - Tina Onions) - Coronation Day 1953--Enhanced.jpg
We may be looking at the rear of the box. That fence has a support brace right next to the box (yellow arrow); another such brace "could" be on the other side, indicating a break in the fence where the front of the box is. It also looks like the fence might have smaller additional braces attaching it to the box's corner post (I didn't mark those because it was too difficult since they are so small in the photo, but they're at the top and bottom horizontal cross-bars/rails of the fence) and all of those braces are keeping the fence rigid. (This break in the fence would put the front of the box on the street where one would expect to find it.)

Also, could the pink arrows be part of that A.R.W siren, and the blue arrow be part of a Post Office? (Or was there a hard and fast rule that said the siren and Post Office had to be right next to each other?)

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


In the past, when looking for identifying markers for this particular box location, I'd always focussed on 1: it was a park. 2: It was "probably" south London.  One line of thought was that the background showed either a railway / transit goods yard , and possibly either a docks wall, warehouse wall.

Looking at the photo, I had often thought that this might not be the elusive "Peckham" but possibly M7 in Rotherhithe. It had a park, railings, a road, a high wall in the background, and where the houses now stand, maybe a goods yard or storage area.
If its post war, looking at the bomb sites map for London, there was a high explosive device that landed on the old warehouses along there, which might account for the tall wall thats still there (possibly he remains of an old warehouse backing onto the railway line adjacent to the site)

Post war, the site could have been used for open air storage, especially with the docks close by.

I'd forgotten about this, until the Twitter posting and comment that it was in Hastings. I dug out my old notes and whilst there are identifiers that "could" work with the entrance to Alexandra Park in Hastings, M7 still has my MetBox senses twitching again.

Fellow hunters, have a look at the site, and let me know your thoughts!

(And its only a mile or so to Peckham.... given we used to call the North Blackwall tunnel box the "Mile End Box" - again a mile or two difference - South Quays / Rotherhithe could actually be the elusive Peckham!)




Jun 16, 2015, 12:47 am #18 Last Edit: Jun 16, 2015, 01:08 am by hb88banzai
Dino - Yes, I believe there had been previous discussions even with the old photo that this was the back of the Box and set into the railing. One of the things I looked for in both the Alexandra Park Box and the St. Leonards Gardgen Box in Hastings was that they were shown on the OS maps in just such a position, with the body of the Box behind the railing line and facing the sidewalk. Good observations, though. No idea what that object on the right edge is - been scratching my head over it - could even be part of a vehicle.

Mark - Ah yes, M7 - the China Hall Gate Box. It was an interesting one, but unfortunately I don't think it quite fits.

First off, no A.R.W. Siren (while it's not certain that the mast/pole in the photo is one, it's pretty likely). Secondly, the character of the wall that separates the lot area from the sunken railway bed in Rotherhithe isn't really consistent with what we see in the photo (it looks old, so is likely original/contemporaneous and would have been visible, yet is a different shape and construction (brick instead of steel)).

Here's a small extract of the 1949-1951 OS map (earliest we have with the Box) showing that the position doesn't quite work either --


As you can see, the Box was positioned beside the north end of the China Hall Gate and outside the fence line. Also, the angles would have put the houses across the street in full view in the photo, and the angle of the Box to the road was different as well. Finally, Lower Road had a Tram line running down it, so while the Trams had been removed the year before, the roadway would have been a bit wider than the one in the photo seems to be.

Oddly, the 1962-1964 OS Map doesn't seem to show the Box at all, even though it supposedly wasn't removed until 1966, noting that the gate area had been remodeled with a more sweeping curb line cutting close to where the Box had stood. Suggests it was either resited before 1962-1964, or else the Ordnance Survey simple didn't mark it (not all that unusual, unfortunately) - unless the removal date was wrong, of course.

Excellent suggestion though - wouldn't have been able to rule it out without looking it up again. Keep them coming.


Jun 16, 2015, 01:31 am #19 Last Edit: Jun 16, 2015, 02:52 am by hb88banzai
Just found an aerial photo of the China Hall Gate Box from 28-July-1949.

Here's a closeup (Met Box at centre frame) --


Small, but still identifiable and quite definitely outside the fence. The wall separating the railway from the residential areas is there, and in the foreground are Timber Sheds in the Surrey Docks Station Yard adjacent to the Canada Dock.


Wow!  Our first image of M7! Superb work there Alan.
And the Peckham/Hastings box remains an enigma!
Don't you just love hunting for Boxes!



I just saw this box (the first one at the beginning of this thread) reported as sighting on someone's facebook (they were posting it on a Doctor Who group publically)

Looks likes its moved!



Aug 18, 2018, 05:01 pm #22 Last Edit: Aug 18, 2018, 05:03 pm by lymerence
I assume it's already been noticed before by others, but this is probably the best place to put this since there's no other topic for Hastings boxes.

This is what I believe is the box at St. Leonard's Gardens in Hastings (a box mentioned earlier in this thread):


Screen Shot 2018-08-18 at 17.47.48.png

As expected, not a Met-type box. Since the "Hastings Met box" (speculated to be at Alexandra Park gate) has basically been debunked already, it's probable that it was a box of this design too.


If one of the Mods could move the posts in this thread regarding M7 (China Hall Gate box) into its own thread, that would be great!



dr hue

Feb 09, 2020, 01:46 pm #24 Last Edit: Feb 10, 2020, 09:38 pm by dr hue
Wondering if "Tina Onions" is P35 Sydenham Hill, east side 15 yards south of London Road

Southern Electric Lordship Lane Station was just opposite and closed in September 1954. Perhaps Tina and her mum had some time to spare before her train to Hastings.

1953 map angles could be and no buildings then and road goes off at angle , no ARW in entry but no removal date either. I know its not shown within park railings but could be wrong.

Map 1953:

D Fn Drinking Fountain

Tr Trough

Map 1958:




dr hue

Re Tina Onions Box

I don't think its Hastings, P35 or

P37 Brockwell park ( Box OUTSIDE railings ARW far back )

Could it be R23 which did have an A.R.W. siren ?


A.R.W. Siren    
07 Jun 69   
Northwest corner of junction of Bexley Road and Crown Woods Way
District: Eltham    
Subdivision: Eltham

The OS map says levelled 1952, surveyed March 1956


A note vertical divider feature

B note end roof top

I know the chimneys are now different but does that look like the top floor divider ?

The field across the road had nothing built on it

There is a large unidentified building with grounds. Could the bench have been in there ?


The 1945 google earth image does seem to show the box in the position shown

on the os map but was the box moved when the road was widened ?