Earl's Court Police Box – London, England - Atlas Obscura

Earl's Court Police Box

The Metropolitan Police refurbished the blue box (perhaps not coincidentally) the same year "Doctor Who" returned to TV screens. 


Countless pedestrians wander past this blue box outside Earl’s Court tube station without giving it a second glance. Perhaps it has a rather good perception filter in operation?

The Metropolitan Police installed this modern police box in 1996, its design heavily based on the “classic” 1929 version from the Met’s own architect, Gilbert MacKenzie Trench, a design that became best known for disguising the TARDIS time machine in the Doctor Who TV series.

Like its forebears, the modern box was fitted out with a phone for public use, should they need to contact the police. There was also a CCTV camera to deter vandals and prank-callers. Intended to be the first of a new wave of police boxes for London, the Earl’s Court box was the only one ever installed. Rumour suggests this was part of a plan to keep the police box design registered to the Met, as it was in the mid-1990s that the BBC attempted to trademark the image for Doctor Who TARDIS merchandising.

Today the CCTV and phone are not operational—the phone was disconnected when London numbers changed in 2000. The box was in a sorry state for a few years, before the Met refurbished it in 2005 (perhaps not coincidentally, the same year Doctor Who returned to TV screens).

The police box is located just outside the Earl’s Court tube station. It is extremely unlikely to make any unscheduled departures into Time and Space.

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June 15, 2017

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