Monday, 30 April 2012

FOR SALE: TARDIS, slightly used, needs a coat of paint, 22 available...

Bit of a fixer-upper wouldn't you say? The Edinburgh police are auctioning off 22 of their cast iron police boxes which differ somewhat in appearance from the concrete Trench designed concrete Met-style ones the iconic TARDIS is based on. The design dates back 80 years to architect Ebenezer Macrae who created 85 of them between 1931 & 1933. The police department considers them 'surplus'.

To buy one seems a bit of a poser because there's no fixed price being asked as yet, though a sales fee price of £100 will be added for each box. And the police don't own the spots where the two ton boxes currently sit. So if you put in a bid, you'll have to make your own arrangements to move it, or get council permits and negotiate with the owners of the sites they currently sit on to keep them there. Oh and after you buy them, you have two weeks to paint them something other than police-box blue.

Nearly 20 years ago other obsolete boxes were sold off by the city which became kiosks, newspaper stands and the like. The cast iron police boxes were made at the Carron foundry near Falkirk with their design calculated to more closely complement the city's architecture at the time and include the city crests emblazoned on them. FOR SALE signs will go up on the boxes this week and bids must be placed by May 31 with the proceeds going to the Force Capital Investment Programme which is overseen by the Deputy Chief Constable.

The 22 police boxes are currently located in Cowgate, Cranston Street, Croal Place (Albert St), Dalkeith St, Joppa, Drumsheugh Gardens, Easter Road, Hunter Square, Lawnmarket, Magdala Crescent, Market Street, Marshall Street, Melville Drive, Newbattle Terrace, Newcraighall Road (Wisp), Princes Street (West End), Quality Street, Regent Road, Rutland Square, The Shore, Leith, Whitehouse Loan, West Register Street, Whitepark and Gorgie.

"When these boxes were introduced they would have proved invaluable to officers, but as technology and policing methods evolved a number of them have now become obsolete." says Sara Griffiths, Lothian and Borders Police property manager. "This is a great opportunity for collectors to snap up a unique piece of Edinburgh, and policing, history."

The reason for the sale is to cut the cost of maintaining them according to police board convener Iain Whyte. “The sale will help us see if there is demand for other boxes to be sold. Some have been run quite successfully for small businesses.”

Perhaps the BBC will buy one for the Doctor to have a 1930's adventure in Scotland? I for one could see Ewan McGregor emerge from one with a goatee as The Master and exclaim, "This isn't the TARDIS you're looking for."

Sources:, , BBC

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