An arresting site at popular park
POLICE BOX WHICH INSPIRED TARDIS GIVEN LISTED BUILDING STATUS ALONGSIDE 1920S AMBULANCE STATION
TWO historic and much-loved pieces of Leicestershire’s heritage have been given protected status to ensure they are preserved for future generations.
The grade II-listed status announced by Historic England means that an ambulance station that predates the NHS and a police box that was the inspiration for Doctor Who’s Tardis will never fall into disrepair.
The two are the county’s only additions to the list.
At nearly 100 years old, Market Harborough Ambulance Station is an historic building that was built well before the NHS came into existence.
Designed by architect Herbert George Coales, the purpose-built ambulance station was constructed in 1924 and was originally the headquarters for the St John Ambulance division.
Coales, with his partner Henry Winter Johnson, later went on to design Market Harborough’s fire station and associated firefighters’ houses, which are also grade IIlisted.
Built in a Queen Anne Revival style, the station was made in response to the introduction of motorised ambulances a decade earlier, and features high-quality brickwork and glazed tiles.
Nearly a century on, the station retains its original folding garage doors, which Historic England said were “a rare find”.
Meanwhile, fans of the BBC’s sci-fi series Doctor Who can look towards Newtown Linford for the inspiration of the Doctor’s time machine, the Tardis.
Dating to circa 1931, the blue Metropolitan Police box was originally in North Kilworth but was relocated to Bradgate Park in Newtown Linford in 1952.
The sight of a police telephone kiosk was once a common site in the early and mid-20th century, but the increasing ownership of home telephones in the 1960s led to police boxes becoming obsolete.
However, the design has become an iconic part of the British TV landscape after the box was chosen as the look for the Doctor’s time machine, an appearance it maintains to this day.
For the Newtown Linford box, its design is unique in terms of its size and shape compared to other police boxes, while its survival has been heralded as rare, given many boxes were scrapped.
The upkeep is all the more special as the box has been hit numerous times by cars, requiring repairs to be made.
Chief Constable Simon Cole hailed the news that the box will be protected.
“It is good that this iconic piece of police history has now been granted grade II-listed building status,” he said.
“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 two Leicestershire landmarks join more than 200 other historic buildings, gardens and monuments in gaining listed status in 2021, with 49 of them in the Midlands.
Each is just as important as the next, according to Historic England.
“It is an honour to highlight buildings that have served communities in the Midlands during times of need,” said Louise Brennan, Midlands director for the organisation.
“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.”