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Early Glasgow Police Box in Wall

Started by Dori, Sep 05, 2006, 01:14 pm

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Dec 12, 2017, 04:30 pm #15 Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 04:35 pm by starcross
I've had my phone interview with The Curator.
I recorded it so I can go over it properly later, but for the highlights here they are now.

1) It was found on Fleming street, making this probably C31

2) The Door was missing and replaced with sheet metal obviously not original to the box.
the Curator and I speculated that the door might have been damaged at some time and replaced with this sheet metal because they couldn't repair the cast iron. Or possibly the door was wood like the concrete box and this was a long term solution to replace a rotting door.

3) Most the the inside was gutted, no signal or electrical equipment. The Board on the back is where they would have been was still attached and when removed old notes and oxo tins fell out. The candle stick telephone was returned by a gentleman in his 70s when he heard the museum had the box. He had taken from it from the box when he was a teenager.

4) The lock was rusted shut tight but it had enough give that the curator thinks his key would have worked. He said the 1930s boxes had a different key, however the 1912 box and the 1890s box were likely the same.

5) He has the blueprint for the 1890s box and its key. He will be passing this off to me. Apparently they are quite detailed, I could probably build on from it. They did say that they do not have an example preserved.

6) they Found 5 layers of paint on the box when recovered. It was all red, likely the same red as the GPO.

7) they don't have measurements but he said my 3x5x7 to 8ft tall estimate sounds right. They never took dimensions since they had the physical box. They can't check because when they moved buildings they box that weighs a ton couldn't be assembled on the first floor, because the floor couldn't handle the weight.

8 ) they Box is disassembled and hidden tight to the walls behind the current display cabinets. They can't get to the box panels even if they wanted to.

9) They took lots of photos of the recovery and restoration. He will send me those pictures to be able to post.

That was the best hour to spend today. I learned a lot and hopefully when we get the Blueprints and photos we'll have lots of data to mine for the years to come.

I'll be arranging a paypal donation to the museum for all this information.
I'll share the details in a PM if you guys feel like contributing as well.

The Box Location in 2012
You can see the new bricks where the box was removed, it matches the reverse view from the Article.
Streetview 2012.JPG

Edit: Phone Interview Transcript
000 to 400: Introductions and a brief explanation of Tardisbuilders and our group.

4:00 Talking boxes
ME: We've been coming across photos of the 1912 Glasgow Boxes. Of course there was an article where you guys found one embedded in a wall.

Alistair: That's correct, Yup that was me.

Me:  We speculated that at some point the 1930s concrete box was resited a little down the street and they bricked up the old police box.

Alistair: Yes that's correct. Where it was prior to the building round about it, it was a piece of empty ground.  The police box stood out quite prominently, but of course when they built things round about it, and built the wall round about it etcetera, it became hidden really. So they put a new style box, I think about 1935, at the crossroads not far away and that replaced it. All they did was painted it, and it was forgotten.

Me: Its a good thing too, otherwise it probably would have been sold for scrap and melted down.

Alistair: Exactly, that's right. When we got it, it had a few bits of damage to it. Which required welding, and its a specialist type of welding to weld cast iron. WE managed to get it done, and we renovated it. WE had it on display in the museum , but we had to move from that building to our present location. We're one up in the building and the floor is not strong enough to take it, it weighs about a ton, so we have got it in now storage. We dismantled it and put it into storage, but it was there to be renovated and relocated sometime and put in a more prominent place.

Me: I think I have one photo of it from 2008 that did show the box displayed in the museum

Alistair:  Yes the red one, it was painted red. When we dismantled it we found paint flakes. I took the paint flakes up to the Police Laboratory. They looked at it through the microscope, and they told me there had been Five Red Coats of Paint on it. That confirmed the suspicion the original colour had been red, same as the post boxes and telephone kiosks.

Me: Someone once told me that in the old days red paint was the easiest and cheapest colour to make. It's why a lot of Barns in Canada and the USA and things were painted red.

Alistair: Yes it's quite Possible. The GPO, looked after the telephones. They were principle telephone operators in the UK and they also in charge postage etcetera. The Post boxes were red, and they just used the same paint to paint the police boxes. They maintained the Police boxes in Glasgow until about 1974, so all our police boxes were red in the 1930s until 1974.

Me: And then they switched them to blue

Alistair:  Yeah, because they got another contractor and they switched them to blue. But in reality all Glasgow Police Boxes until that time were red.


Dec 12, 2017, 05:55 pm #16 Last Edit: Dec 18, 2017, 03:05 am by hb88banzai
Positively wonderful - well done Starcross!

The info and plans on the 1891 Mark 1 boxes alone would be incredible, much less the info on the Mark 2 they have.

On the subject of keys - don't know if you can drop him a line, but if in the items he sends to you he could possibly send photos of both the older and 1930s type keys he seems to suggest he has it would so very helpful to our research. In all my looking over the years, I have never been able to find a photo of the Trench type Glasgow Box keys, and everything I've seen points to them not being Yale type keys at all, so getting a photo of one would be brilliant.

And yes, donations sound most appropriate.

EDIT: The subject of keys has been split off to its own Topic here -


Dec 13, 2017, 12:06 pm #17 Last Edit: Dec 13, 2017, 12:18 pm by hb88banzai
Quote from: starcross on Dec 12, 2017, 04:30 pm

The Box Location in 2012
You can see the new bricks where the box was removed, it matches the reverse view from the Article.
Streetview 2012.JPG

A view a bit closer and more square on to the discontinuity in the wall (still from 2012) --

C31--Recovered Glasgow Mark 2 Box original location - Streetview 2012--Close on Site.JPG

Here's a slightly enhanced enlargement of the original recovery photo to compare (obviously from the other side of the wall) --

C31--Glasgow 1912 Mark 2 Box--Recovered in Wall-2005--200per-Enhanced.jpg

You can see that the street light pole has the same details, and is in the same relative position to the Box and wall.

Here's a google earth photo from 2002, not long before the discovery (looking west) --

C31--Glasgow Mark 2 still in wall - Google Earth (Dec -2002).jpg

You can just make out the Box right next to the street lamp, as above -- look at centre frame, not where the pointer is.

Looking around further I found this aerial photo from 1935 --

C31--aerial pic 1--1935 full (SPW048761).jpg

A bit closer, and you can start to make out the Box --

C31--aerial 1--1935 med.JPG

And even closer, there it is --

C31--aerial 1--1935 close.JPG

Unfortunately, none of the OS maps show this Box. Perhaps not unexpected considering the OS didn't even start noticing Police Boxes until the early 1930s. There is a 1933 OS map, but the later concrete Box that would have stood here was never erected and the cast-iron Mark 2 might have already been decommissioned by the time the survey was done. Regardless, the track record for showing PCB's before the mid-30s was decidedly spotty (and even worse for Posts).

Here's an extract of an OS map from 1951-1954, showing nothing where the Box was actually located (approx. centre frame) --

C31--Glasgow Mark 2-Fleming St at Duke St--1951-1954 OS Map Extract 1-1250.png

Below I've drawn a Box site and label in red to show where it was located based on measurements of the above photos --

C31--Glasgow Mark 2-Fleming St at Duke St--1951-1954 OS Map Extract 1-1250 (Site in red).png


Dec 13, 2017, 12:47 pm #18 Last Edit: Dec 18, 2017, 03:24 am by hb88banzai
Quote from: hb88banzai on Dec 13, 2017, 12:06 pm
Looking around further I found this aerial photo from 1935 --

C31--aerial pic 1--1935 full (SPW048761).jpg

Found that one eh?
Of course I saw it yesterday and tagged it myself at BFA. However I'm surprised you didn't speculate why it's missing.

If you look in the back ground of the Aerial photo you can see the Concrete Box C32, just a few blocks west of the Mark2. Also just a few blocks west is C1. So I would speculate that they felt the C31 position was too close together to the other and dropped it. Letting it sit in the wall forgotten in the middle of the two locations.

See here is C1 in the Top Left to the Mark 2
C1 to C31.JPG

Here C32 is in the Centre Right.  
C31 to 32.JPG
This is from the Aerial photo in the top left by the Tram.

EDIT: Response regarding keys moved to -- hb88banzai


Dec 13, 2017, 04:12 pm #19 Last Edit: Dec 13, 2017, 04:28 pm by hb88banzai
Yes, it's quite understandable that they elected to nix C31's siting considering the proximity of the other two Boxes. What's interesting is that they got far enough to actually give it a number assignment and keep it in the lists despite its not being used.

In contrast, a very similar situation occurred at Parkhead Cross, where an existing Mark 2 at the Cross itself was replaced by two new Trench type Glasgow Mark 4's; one a little south on Burgher Street (C49), and another a few blocks up Westmuir Street (C46), yet there doesn't appear to have been any similar plan to keep the one at the Cross as part of the system, despite its being in a more prominent position.

Similarly to C31, the Mark 2 Box at Parkhead Cross remained in place well into the 1960s; however, unlike the one on Fleming Street, it must have served some purpose not to have been removed due to being an obstacle to pedestrian traffic in a very busy area. In fact, here's another pic of it from what appears to be some time in the 1950s --


I get the impression that the Fleming Street Box was simply forgotten.


Quote from: hb88banzai on Dec 13, 2017, 12:06 pm
C31--Glasgow 1912 Mark 2 Box--Recovered in Wall-2005--200per-Enhanced.jpg

It occurs to me that looking at it, the wall is our key to getting rough dimensions.
The wall Still exists, and therefore can be measured.

The Gap of new material is our basic Box width.
The Height of the bricks to to just below the wall cap is basically level to the Roof.
The Average height of the Bricks helps, but if we stuck a measuring tape to the wall and recorded how it matched up, we could count bricks and mortar to get the basic heights of the various features.
The depth will be harder, we'll have to wait until the photos arrive to see if there is a good side view to work from.

When I get the pictures from the Museum, these features will become much easier to relate to the wall.
Therefore I suggest to advance our knowledge of the Mark2's we need to know about that wall since the Box is inaccessible.

I wonder if there is anyone in the forum close enough to go do a site visit and take a few measurements?


Dec 13, 2017, 10:18 pm #21 Last Edit: Dec 13, 2017, 10:20 pm by starcross
Photos from the Glasgow Police museum, given to me by the Curator A. Dinsmor.
This is just a teaser, I'll have more soon.

The Box on October 24th 2004, now we can see what it looked like from the Front!

The Original Telephone

Another unidentified Box.
Although the Bank might help give it a location.


Jan 09, 2018, 11:35 pm #22 Last Edit: Jan 09, 2018, 11:54 pm by hb88banzai
Quote from: starcross on Dec 13, 2017, 10:18 pm
Photos from the Glasgow Police museum, given to me by the Curator A. Dinsmor.


Another unidentified Box.
Although the Bank might help give it a location.

Found it!

In the process of researching Mike's list (which I've split off to I found that this is A4 --

Streetview for comparison --

A4--West Campbell Street at Argyle Street Box--POV Streetview--Jul 2015.JPG

Not a bank anymore, but OS maps show that it was at the time. The 1:500 scale one from 1895 even specifies it as being a "Branch of the Clydesdale Bank." God I love those turn of the century ultra large scale maps - shame they did away with them for being uneconomical.


May 22, 2018, 10:48 pm #23 Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 01:49 am by starcross
Quote from: starcross on Dec 13, 2017, 10:18 pm
Photos from the Glasgow Police museum, given to me by the Curator A. Dinsmor.
This is just a teaser, I'll have more soon.

Sorry for the wait, Real life was a real hindrance that kept this from making it's way to me in a timely way. Still it's here now.

The pictures show the Discovery, Disassembly and Recovery, the Repairs, and final assembly in the Museum. What's interesting about the photos, is they detail the interior more than the exterior. There is a single Decent photo of the Exterior panel and only the Top Right Panel. It's enough to work from but I would have liked a few more. Every other photo of the exterior seems to be on an angle.

Best Panel Details





00 - Exterior Top Right Panel.jpg

5_06 - Cropped.jpg 00 Boc Coat of Arms.jpg

Interior Panels.jpg

The Recovery from Flemming Street






3_06 - Cropped.jpg

3_12 - Crop.jpg



3_15 - Crop.jpg


May 22, 2018, 11:36 pm #24 Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 11:44 pm by starcross
Quote from: starcross on Dec 13, 2017, 10:18 pm
Photos from the Glasgow Police museum, given to me by the Curator A. Dinsmor.
This is just a teaser, I'll have more soon.

The Repairs







May 22, 2018, 11:46 pm #25 Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 11:50 pm by starcross
Quote from: starcross on Dec 13, 2017, 10:18 pm
Photos from the Glasgow Police museum, given to me by the Curator A. Dinsmor.
This is just a teaser, I'll have more soon.

The Setup at the Museum





CIMG0562a - Crop.jpg




May 23, 2018, 12:03 am #26 Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 12:39 am by starcross
So there you have it the Photos of the Mark 2 from Obscurity to Restored in a museum.
Sadly now hidden away from view again hidden in the walls of the museums new building.

A few things I noticed from looking at the Box in pieces, the mast looks like it would have been reused as a casting somewhere for a lamp post.  The Crest of Glasgow is also likely to have been copied on some other street furniture. It would be interesting to see if any other street furniture matched the patterns, Perhaps a member in Glasgow or someone close could keep an eye out for matching objects.

We know from the Curator that they never took the time to draw up any plans or other size details. While the Box may be gone into hiding, the brick wall remains in the open. It would benefit us greatly to have measurements from the Flemming street site to match to the photos. Those Bricks and the heights they represent agaist the side of the box would be very helpful. There is also the lifting equipment as well, the forklift and the extendable dolly. IF the spec sheets for those could be found they too would aid in dimensioning the Box.

The shape is simple enough, but without accurate measurements of something for reference we will never be able to get it close. Until they Put the box in public again of course, but it might be a very long time for that though.

I would encourage any of our group to make the trip out there and see what can be done to get those measurements. I also encourage everyone who liked the information we received from the Glasgow Police Museum to find a way to donate to them. Small museums like theirs depend on such donations.

Here is a Comparison image of the Bricks from the Photos and the Streetview.
It would be so easy to get the measurements. The box is basically the height of the wall.
I highlighted bricks that have noticeable stains or chips, you can see they cut the bricks down and made the hole wider. It makes me wonder what the coalyard side looks like now, I don't have an after shot of that. Are those bricks still there, or will they have been removed?

00 Brick Height Comparison.jpg