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The Starcross Street Police Post

Started by starcross, May 10, 2018, 02:30 am

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May 10, 2018, 02:30 am Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 03:29 am by starcross
00 - Starcross Street Sign - Final.jpg
Every Project needs a Logo to work under eh?

Where does one start a TARDIS build, I like to think it was in the late 1980s. We watched Doctor Who every chance we could get back then. Dad would Crank the Volume and we'd hear the Theme for Tom Baker's Era clear across the neighbourhood. We'd come running and Launch ourselves over the couch to take a seat. I remember those days fondly, nothing these days comes close.

After the show went on hiatus and Canada, it caught up to the end of the 7th Doctors run in 1993, we had nothing except the 1996 movie and then it all stopped. Region locks, and narrow distribution and supply means we never got the Big finish audio dramas or other spinoff media to keep things going. Doctor who became that childhood memory that gives you the warm fuzzies, but you just don't see anymore. I had a very well worn copy of the 25th anniversary book I liked to pull off my shelf every now and again but like all things School became king.

Whilst I was at College the 2005 Series came along, and for some reason it was airing in Canada too at nearly the same time! I loved it and all those feelings about the show came rushing back in nostalgia filed insanity.

In 2007 I had finished college, paid off all my loans, and finally had some time and money. It was great, so I took a trip to the UK to celebrate and what not. I'd never been anywhere that wasn't my home province, so first trip an ocean away was a bit of a big deal. It was a fairly conservative holiday really. A few days at the Severn Valley, mostly because I found out The Chronicles of Narnia was filmed there. Who could resit Steam Railways. Spent a few days Wales if I recall correctly, castles and more railways. And finally a few days in London itself. Navigating the Tube was a trick the first time, So many lines to follow but we managed.

The real treat was shopping around near Piccadilly Circus. We had just been in a Shop that was basically a Japanese Department store that sold classic omiyage (gifts) themed for the UK. We had found this hilarious because my fiend had just been living in Japan where it was common. We continued towards the Circus traveling east on Piccadilly Street along the south side and just as we got close I could see the Brilliant Blue Object pop out from behind the building corner on the North Side of the Street.

I can honestly say I had never Seen a Police Post before that moment, but June 15 2007 at 6:25pm I fell in Love. I didn't know what it was but I knew that color, and that Fresnel Lens is hard to place anywhere else. It was a TARDIS alright, but what kind?


This new object was about the size of a Grandfather Clock, and I knew then that I could fit it in my house unlike a full sized TARDIS. I  I had just bought my house 8 months Prior and it was considerably more empty when I hatched the next thought. I'd build a replica, full size, of this "Police Post" and I'd do it in five years. (Sadly that is not what happened, it took 10 years to get it mostly built which is why I can finally start this Build Diary. Its been half built sitting at my Mums shop in a corner waiting until I get back to it.)

I work in Engineering, so I travel with a Measuring Tape, just in case I see something I want to remember the size of. So I went back to the Post the Day before we were to leave England. I took a bunch of reference photos and dreamed of how I'd turn those few measurements into a Police Post of my very Own. My SO was less enthusiastic, and Over the next ten years I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about it. So It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that it got nicknamed "The Mistress" Long before any such character appeared in the 2005 series.

Measured - P1010276 - Small.jpg

I turned those few measurements into a set of Drawings. Then a friend of the family was heading out to the UK for Work in 2008. I asked him to take a few measurements and reference photos. Things that were complicated like the dome and the interior because I hadn't thought of that the first time. He did it bless him. Turns out he had photos of it himself on a previous trip. He thought Piccadilly Circus was a bit too busy to measure the Post, so he went to Northwood instead though that was a PA2.
He also visited the PA2 at Grosvenor Square. I wanted to get a good look at what I thought was an original sign. I Still have the Pencil Rubbing he made of it somewhere on file. WE know now that it wasn't original, or a very good copy. Still we learned afterwards that Grosvenor Square is home to all the Embassies in London apparently. Chief among them was the paranoid USA Embassy, who upon seeing someone investigating the police post called the SO13 or Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch. He said about 8 guys with H&K Assault rifles and 2 motorcycle cops show up. He said he heard the sirens but didn't think anything about it at the time. When the guns were pointed at him that when it got interesting. They asked him what he was up to and he replied "Have you ever heard of Doctor Who?". This was the exact line I used on him when I started asking him on this errand...
Eventually after everyone in the group took turns asking the same questions and got the same answers they let him go. He probably still has a citation in his passport that reads "stopped for questioning for measuring a Police box". It is for this reason that Grosvenor Square Police Post is the only Post in London I have not visited in person over the years.
The two motorcycle cops did circle back for an additional chat, they loved the fact they caught a Whovian measuring a Police Box. Serious shades of Logopolis that is I think.

GSO13ATB1 - Rotated - Small.jpg

With new references and corrected plans I updated my Drawings. It is about this time in 2009 that I was noticed on Flickr for having all the photos of the police posts and my Lost and Found List. Claude Ball approached me with his set of original Drawings, he wouldn't sell them to me but he did take lots of photos. He had a PA3 Police Post in his basement, and took photos of hard to reach spots for me. Excellent stuff I can't thank him enough. Because now I had original drawings, and excellent reference photos from him and my friend.

It's about this time (2010) that I convince work to get into 3D drafting programs. We purchased one that year and I started learning. It was slow going but eventually I got better. it took me nearly 5 years of self learning to be able to start making decent parts. I had started building a model from the plans. Not just close but exactly as intended. I'd chip away at it here and there and see where we got. In 2015 I had a decent model done from the plans, and It was finally looking like I could make it work if I ever got to build it.

I hadn't stopped collecting parts and photos though over the years. A few trips over to the UK again on specific research missions as side trips. I got tons of photos and videos. All sorts of interiors and various parts. The Best was Avoncroft Museum, they had a working post so much of the interior parts were present. In fact I matched up quite a few parts from the blueprints to that Post. I was pleased as punch in 2016 when I Identified it as the City of London Post No.33 from Threadneedle Street. It was my Favorite Post when researching, I nicknamed it McDuck because it was surrounded by banks on every side for several hundred meters.
I bought a close match Fresnel lens, and an original Door and sign, upper signs, and an original Lantern Cap. I have close match Fuse Box, though not the one I want. I have a 240V bell to match Avoncroft, and recently in 2017 I bought a 24VDC bell I can actually power up and ring. The main piece is my 244 Pyramid telephone. The Base is original but the rest is whatever I could afford to bolt together, and prices aren't much better 10 years later.
I still need a lot of things, Conduit, the GEC Fuse Box, a signal unit or replica shell, a line filter, etc... but I'm getting there.

DSCF5575 - small.jpg
I had the parts sand blasted by a friend and it turned out well. My Dad welded a few bits and got it fixed up with screws for hinges. It and the lantern dome cleaned up really well. I kept all sorts of paint chips. The Door itself has one section of the original paint that I preserved.

So I have a lot of original parts, a 3D model, and a dream. But in 2016 I got laid off from work in a bust cycle, it wasn't fun however it does give one a lot of time to build a Police Post. I suppose in an effort to get me out of my funk, my Mum finally said "Let's build that Police post". I'd been dreaming of this thing for nearly 10 years at this point. I jumped at the chance. I should mention my Mum is a carpenter so she has a lot of tools and the know how to do this stuff properly.

So we went to the Hardware store, and looked around to see what we could build the post out of. I was very particular about what I wanted. I wanted to make it look correct outside and in. Which meant I have to compromised on wall thickness if I was to route out the sunken panels inside the post. Though I did compromise on how length they went, I wanted the Telephone and Witting desk sections to look correct, but that the lowest section has so much bolted on to the sides and back that no one would notice it wasn't indented. This would give it some strength and we chose 3/4" inch pine as the material for the panels. I went all over town to locate Angle iron for the main frame that would mimic the real Post flanges to bolt it all together.

That was the beginning of the physical build September 2016 . I have a rough plan on the process, the basic materials to make it from, and my 3D model from the original plans from the 1950s. Add a dash of insanity and a lot of yelling and we were having fun!

Assembly - DRG 90544 - PA 3 Post - June 19 2016.jpg P1100888 - Copy.JPG


That is looking very nice.

Looking forward to seeing this progress.

Bob's your Uncle

Incredible!   :o
I love the story and can't wait to see the finished product.

"Listen. All I have to do is dive into another dimension, find the time traveler, help her escape the monster, get home before the entire dimension collapses, and Bob's your Uncle."

'Hide'  S07 E09


Jun 20, 2021, 02:00 am #3 Last Edit: Jun 20, 2021, 05:53 am by starcross
Step 1 - Hang a life size blueprint on the wall for inspiration

My Mum who was helping me design and build the wooden Police Post was having trouble visualizing the true size of everything. So I took the General Arrangement and printed them full sized.

It helped quite a bit as we decided what features could be made as-is and what needed to be modified. There were quite a few discussions had in front of these prints. Eventually these needed to be removed as every time the doors opened they blew off the wall. 

Step 1 - inspiration.jpg

Step 2 - Materials

After looking at all the available materials in the hardware store we selected a 3/4" pine that was 96" tall and 16" wide. It was perfect for the main body of the panels, wide enough for the back panel in one piece but also more than enough for the side panels. The front was mostly doors so the scraps from the sides were used to make that panel. 

Step 2 - Materials.jpg

The other item I needed was the steel L rails that will become the main frame holding the entire box  together. I needed seven feet but the rails came in six foot lengths. I bought ever rail in town at the time and only managed to get four. It took a while for the sellers in town to restock so I could get the remaining length.

I These are actually the second rails I purchased. The first set were rolled or bent rails. They had a rounded edge and were so crocked it was sad, they refused to sit flat. So I had to return them and try again.
So I found these welded rails with a nice sharp edge and these sat flat so it was easy enough to build into the wood to hid them as pert of the body of the front and back plates.

Step 2 - P1080764 - Material steel rails.JPG

Step 2 - P1080766 - Material steel rails profile.JPG.jpg

To attach the rails I bought inserts that allowed me to screw and unscrew the bolts that hold the rails to the wood shell. These inserts are also used to make the screw holes for the other items like brackets, conduit, and the shelves for mounting components.

Step 2 - P1090347 - Material Screw Insert Side profile.JPG

Step 2 - P1090172 - Material  Screw Inserts.JPG


Not seen this thread before.  Loved reading through your posts.  (about posts!)


Dang.  Even the police posts are bigger than you think. 
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.

kert gantry

How did I miss this thread before now?

This is utterly gorgeous. What an amazing build! 


Jun 21, 2021, 02:07 am #7 Last Edit: Jun 21, 2021, 02:12 am by starcross
Quote from: Volpone on Jun 20, 2021, 02:33 pmEven the police posts are bigger than you think.

They certainly feel that way when you stand in front of them.
At 7.5 feet tall, 18 inches wide, and 12inches deep, they really have the same foot print as a grandfather clock
(Or a Tardis disguised as a grandfather clock, The Master would know a thing or two about that).

However I assure you they are positively tiny when one has to use a paint brush to coat the interior. The amount of contortion necessary to get all the corners was a trial. 

Eventually I will order the photos and do a proper write up of each of the steps.
As of June 2021 the main body is in the blue & Creme paint.
The Dome needs the beak molding created, and that too can be painted.
The Doors need to have the handles carved into the wood, then they can be painted.

Finishing touches that can be done much later include
The Writing desk brackets need to be attached, and the writing surface need to be created.
There is also the shelves that need to be cut and varnished properly.
And then its all about the conduit and electrical system, though that will be sometime in the further.

Here it is with one coat of paint on each surface, I think it's coming along nicely.
I'm not entirely sure when I'll get to finish it off but I hope to have atleast the Dome and doors done this summer.