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The iconic police telephone box at Bradgate Park in Newtown Linford is one of 49 historic places in the Midlands that has been added to the National Heritage List for England during 2021.
Recognised by many as the TARDIS from Dr Who, the police telephone kiosk was built around 1931 and was originally located in North Kilworth but moved to Bradgate Park in 1952. It has now been given Grade II listed status by Historic England.
The idea of a system of police telephone boxes, detached from a controlling central police station, started in the United States in the late 19th century, and the first English examples were introduced by the Sunderland County Borough police force in 1923.
Once a common site in the early and mid-20th century, the increasing home ownership of telephones in the 1960s led to police boxes becoming obsolete and they are now rarely found in England.
The form and use of boxes varied between forces and the world-famous Dr Who police box was based on a Metropolitan police design.
The Leicestershire box is of a distinctive size and shape and a design type not seen in other policing areas. Its survival is rare, especially as it has been repaired on several occasions after being hit by motor vehicles.
The Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, Simon Cole QPM, said: “It is good that this iconic piece of police history has now been granted grade II listed building status. For many people it is part of their visit to Bradgate Park. I know that the local neighbourhood team still use it as a base for their work, so listing is very fitting.”
The box is located near the Newtown Linford entrance to Bradgate Park which is on the neighbourhood beat of PC Greg Moore and PCSO Mitch Jarvis. PC Moore said; “We both use the box regularly and hold our monthly beat surgeries there. It’s one of the best spots in the county to hold a beat surgery because it attracts a lot of attention and we get a lot of footfall from visitors to the park. Dr Who fans often ask us if it is bigger on the inside and are really pleased to see that we do still use it. It’s great to have it on our beat and great to see it being protected for future generations to enjoy.”
Historic England Director, Midlands, Louise Brennan said: “It is an honour to highlight buildings that have served communities in the Midlands during times of need. These services quite rightly should be celebrated, and we are delighted to have listed these great examples of buildings that have enabled years of public duty.”
Another emergency services’ building that has been listed in Leicestershire is the ambulance station in Market Harborough.