This Tardis is going nowhere

Town Hall Police box
Town Hall Police box

IT’S been stationed on a corner of Sheffield Town Hall for more than 80 years – a Tardis-like reminder of more traditional ways of keeping law and order.

The old police box at the end of Surrey Street hasn’t been used by bobbies for half that time.

Pictured on  Brincliffe Edge Road, Sheffield is Howard Greaves of the Hallamshire Historica Building Soc, with one of the old sewer lamps of the city.

Pictured on Brincliffe Edge Road, Sheffield is Howard Greaves of the Hallamshire Historica Building Soc, with one of the old sewer lamps of the city.

For the past couple of years, however, it has been a base for the council’s city centre ambassadors.

Now its future has been secured thanks to a listing by the Government-backed conservation agency, English Heritage, which protects it from removal or changes to its appearance.

The green and white box has been formally recognised for its historical importance after pressure from the Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society.

Vice chairman Howard Greaves said: “We have been working for quite a while to get the police box listed and it’s been listed at last.

At one time, there seemed to be one on every street corner but I think this is one of the last ones in Sheffield.

“It’s of great local interest and of historical value and it would have been a tragedy if it had been lost. It did have a certain amount of protection because it is in the Town Hall conservation area but this adds to it.”

Police boxes were introduced in Sheffield in 1928 and there were once 120 of them around the city.

Each had a telephone link to the local police station and were visited at hourly intervals by beat bobbies who used them to make phone calls to senior officers and pass on information to colleagues in other areas.

A blue electric lamp on top of each box was controlled by the police station.

It lit up when commanding officers wanted to attract the attention of officers on the beat to pass on important information.

The box was last used by bobbies on the beat in the 1960s and South Yorkshire Police eventually decided to decommission it and told the council they were going to donate it to the police and fire museum at West Bar.

But the authority came up with the idea of using it as a contact point for the city centre’s ambassadors.

Now, whatever its long-term future, unlike Dr Who’s time-travelling Tardis, it’s going nowhere.