Not to be confused with the larger police box (like the one in Doctor Who), police posts can still be glimpsed across central London. Making their first appearance in the United Kingdom towards the end of the 19th century, they were only taken out of service in the 1970s.
Police posts were to be found in areas where the larger police boxes were deemed to have been too large. Each one was equipped with a telephone that provided a direct line to a switchboard. It was where a policeman could contact his station and where members of the public could go to and report an emergency. Standing approximately 7ft tall, each post was constructed out of cast-iron.
At the top of the structure was a red light that would flash to notify the beat constable that he should check in with the police control room urgently. Beneath the beacon was the telephone concealed behind a backlit acrylic door. Two further lockable sections consisted of a drop-down drawer (acting as a makeshift writing desk) whilst the larger chamber at the base contained the power and switching units. There would be enough space for essentials like stationery, first-aid supplies and a cape.
One can clearly imagine that the sight of a flashing lamp would have stoked the imagination of passing adults and children. No doubt their heads would have been filled with thoughts of some kind of nearby danger. Of course, none of these remain active today.
It is important to recognize the distinction between the Metropolitan Police posts and the City of London Police posts. The insignia is different and the latter models were originally, a lighter shade of blue. It would be nice to think that the few remaining examples will still be around for many years to come. Let us keep our fingers crossed.
The police call post in the photos, can be found in Guildhall Yard adjacent to St Lawrence Jewry church.