Glasgow Police Public Call Box

by Chris Jones on October 30, 2016

Another First for Glasgow – the Police Public Call Box


This postcard shows a police public call box on Hyndland Road, circa 1905. Glasgow was the first place to install such boxes in the British Isles, beginning in 1891. The reason they were called public call boxes is that trusted members of the public could also access the telephone inside in the event of an emergency, by means of a key that was registered to them and which would remain in the lock until it was released by a master key carried by a policeman. The box was of a hexagonal construction in cast iron and capped with a large gas lantern that could be illuminated remotely by means of an electronic pulse sent from the police station, notifying an officer in the vicinity to call in. This was very high-tech at the time and the design and operation was based on that of police call boxes introduced in the city of Chicago, a consequence of the development of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell.

Notice the police sergeant also in the picture. He is wearing a cap instead of the helmet commonly worn by police officers of the period. Perhaps the cap was peculiar to sergeants.

The photographs below show similar police public call boxes at Broomhill Cross and Shawlands Cross.

Broomhill Cross, Glasgow

Broomhill Cross, circa 1911


Shawlands Cross, circa 1905

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