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North Shields, Preston Avenue, police box
Former police box 12. Small brick building with felt roof. Converted into Quintessence Beauty Studio in 2009. New slate roof installed, with roof light and a pretty scalloped barge board and decorative finial on front elevation, painted green. Police boxes are usually metal, wooden or concrete boxes containing a telephone for use by the public, limited accommodation for use as a temporary cell, and a lamp on top that could be used to attract the attention of a passing patrol. Police boxes were introduced in America soon after the telephone was invented in 1876. They were introduced in Britain in the 1920s. Chief Constable Frederick James Crawley, Chief Constable of Newcastle, introduced police boxes in Sunderland from April 1923. The police boxes provided each constable on the beat with a mini police station so they did not need to travel back and forth to the station proper. The Newcastle police boxes were wooden and looked like sentry boxes. They cost £13 each to build. They were four feet square and contained a desk, electric lighting and a heater. The telephone and first aid kit were accessible from outside. The Metropolitan Police didn't introduce police boxes in London until 1929. Gilbert Mackenzie Trench designed the famous police box made famous by Doctor Who. Early ones were wood, later concrete. An entire network of around 700 police boxes was installed in London in 1930, costing £43 each. 9 or 10 police boxes still exist in Glasgow and Edinburgh. These were originally red. Crich Tramway village has the only known surviving Mk2 Metropolitan Police Box in the world. The North Shields example might not be as attractive as the famous blue boxes. It has been added to the HER due to the historic interest of police boxes as a monument.
English Heritage Monument Thesaurus; Immanuel Burton, 2006, A Brief History of the Police Box, November 2006 newsletter of the Construction History Society, www.policeboxes.com; Decentralization and the Police Box System by Frederick James Crawley, Chief Constable of Newcastle upon Tyne, The Police Journal, Volume 1, Number 1, January 1928; Peter Darrington, 2005, A History of the British Police Telephone Kiosk