Sunday, May 21, 2023

Police Public Call Post

London The Unfinished City

Having spotted a few of these Police Public Call Posts, on my travels, I decided to find out how many are left and when they stopped being of use.

London The Unfinished City
Outside St Botolph’s Church, Aldgate.

Situated throughout London, the City of London and right across the British mainland, these Police Public Call Posts would have been a common sight, from the 1920s onwards.

These call posts were designed by Gilbert Mackenzie Trench and were made of cast iron. 

London The Unfinished City
Victoria Embankment.

They held a telephone behind the top door, while the middle door opened horizontally and acted as a writing area, with a fire extinguisher and first aid kit behind the bottom door.

The red light atop the post would flash to indicate to the constable in the area that he needed to contact the local police station.

London The Unfinished City
Liverpool Street.

Between the late 1960s and early 1970s the Call Posts became defunct as radio communication became the norm for contacting the station.

London The Unfinished City
A Metropolitan Police Post, Grosvenor Square.

The images above and below are of a Metropolitan Police Call Post that was situated in Grosvenor Square and, as can be seen, was in a sorry state.

I hope that with the work going on, in Grosvenor Square, that this call post will be returned to its former glory as it is a real piece of London history.

London The Unfinished City
Inside the Grosvenor Square Police Public Call Post.

The larger Police Box, also designed by Gilbert Mackenzie Trench, measured 9ft 4in in height and 4ft 6in in width and was in use from 1928 until the early 1970s. 

Each box held a telephone, which was accessible from a hinged door so it could be used from the outside, as well as inside, allowing members of the public to call any of the emergency services. 

The box itself acted as a small Police station and had an incident book and a stool, where officers could take breaks and even hold prisoners until transport arrived.

London The Unfinished City
Me with a Police Public Call Box at the BBC.

By 1953 there were 685 Police Public Call Boxes, in Greater London, with 72 Police Public Call Posts in the inner divisions.

The City of London call posts have the crest of the City of London on them, while all other call posts are adorned with the royal crest.

There is a replica Police Public Call Box at Earl's Court station.

There are also a small number of Metropolitan Police Call Posts in the London area. 

There are only eight surviving City of London Police Public Call Posts, all of which are Grade II listed.
  1. Victoria Embankment, at the City boundary
  2. Friday Street, junction with Queen Victoria Street
  3. St Martin's le Grand, entrance to the Postman's Park
  4. Guildhall Yard
  5. Walbrook, St Stephen Walbrook Church
  6. Old Broad Street
  7. Liverpool Street
  8. Aldgate, St Botolph's Church

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