I have passed this a good few times and yesterday I stopped and took a snap for a number of those Dr Who nerds I know out there. This is my gift directly from my heart to you....
Apparently these were not originally a London thing.
First public police telephones of this type, although red in Britain were introduced in Glasgow in 1891. Gas lanterns were attached to the roof so to signal for instructions. The Metropolitan Police (Met) introduced police boxes throughout London between 1928 and 1937. These boxes were not made of wood as would first seem. The original MacKenzie Trench blueprints indicate that the material for the shell of the box is "concrete" with only the door being made of teak hardwood.
A little heater was supplied as the boxes would have been notoriously cold. By 1953 there were 685 police boxes on the streets of London. In the late 1960's they were killed by the advent of the walkie-talkie. Some still survive and have been converted into High Street coffee bars. When I am up in Edinburgh I see quite a few, though quite a few are in various states of disrepair. Edinburgh's boxes are often ornate with faux neoclassical decoration.
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www.flickr.com/search/?q=selective+colour&w=33062170@N08&m=tag s .
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