Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.

CATHEDRAL SQUARE, POLICE BOXLB51059

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
B
Date Added
04/03/2008
Local Authority
Glasgow
Planning Authority
Glasgow
Burgh
Glasgow
NGR
NS 60127 65475
Coordinates
260127, 665475

Description

Designed by Gilbert MacKenzie Trench, 1928. Constructed circa 1935. Regularly panelled, square-plan, reinforced concrete police box. Chamfered base. Shallow pyramidal roof with 3-stepped courses. Entrance with cast iron door and communication hatch within square panel to left. 6-pane fixed glazing to upper panels. Block frieze and tablet with 'POLICE' sign.

Statement of Special Interest

The Cathedral Square police box is particularly rare. It is one of only four surviving on the streets of Glasgow, understood to be the last four of thousands that were originally installed on the streets of Britain between 1932 and 1938. Prominently located at the NE corner of Cathedral Square opposite Glasgow Cathedral, the box is a distinctive landmark and an integral part of the streetscape. It contributes to our understanding of social history and also serves as a reminder of the advances made in police communications during the early to mid 20th century.

Glasgow had the highest ratio of boxes to police officers in the UK. 323 police boxes were constructed in the city between 1932 and 1938. Gilbert Mackenzie Trench (1885-1979), was principal Architect and Surveyor to the Metropolitan Police. His design, drawing references from the Classical tradition, is simple, functional and refined. Each box was intended to serve as a 'miniature police station' for officers on the beat with telephone, incident book, fire extinguisher and first-aid kit inside. The instantly recognisable box also acted as a focal point where the public could make enquiries and obtain assistance in cases of urgency. The official objectives of the Police Box system included 'communicating information to or from the station' and 'preparing reports on occurrences'. The Glasgow boxes were painted red until the late 1960s, after which they were sometimes painted blue like their English counterparts. This type of police box is also internationally recognized through its pop-cultural association with the TARDIS from the BBC television programme Dr Who. The BBC successfully registered the design of the box as a trademark in 2002, in the face of opposition from the Metropolitan Police.

The original roof-mounted lamp housing is currently missing from the Cathedral Square box. The three further police boxes are located at Buchanan Street (HBNUM 32825), Wilson Street (HBNUM 32803) and Great Western Road (HBNUM 32515) ' see separate listings.

References

Bibliography

3rd Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1938). City of Glasgow Report on the State of Crime and the Police Establishment, 1932. Robert W Stewart, The Police Signal Box - A 100 Year History (1994) Engineering Science and Education Journal Vol 3:44, p 161-8

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

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Printed: 23/09/2019 14:57