Police box restored to former glory for open day

Damon Wilkinson who bought and restored the old Police Box in Mountcastle near Royal High Primary School. Picture; Greg Macvean
Damon Wilkinson who bought and restored the old Police Box in Mountcastle near Royal High Primary School. Picture; Greg Macvean
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WHEN Damon Wilkinson was handed the keys to Northfield Broadway’s old police box, it was rusty and neglected.

But in under a year, the 1930s enthusiast has managed to restore the building to its former glory, and is asking for the public’s help to uncover its story.

The old Police Box in Mountcastle. Picture: Greg Macvean

The old Police Box in Mountcastle. Picture: Greg Macvean

The 41 year-old, who bought the police box in December last year, was keen to preserve its history and original features.

After months of painting and revamping, the box, at the junction of Mountcastle Drive North in Portobello, looks as it might have done in the early 1930s. Now Damon is hoping to find members of the public who worked there so he can learn something of its history and their experiences.

He will show his project at Edinburgh Doors Open Days next weekend – an event which gives the public the chance to explore some of the city’s most unusual buildings free of charge.

Damon said: “I’m looking forward to welcoming people inside the police box at Edinburgh Open Days next weekend.

“I’m hoping some of the people that come along might have formerly worked as a police officer there, and would be able to tell me about its history. I would love to know all about it.

“I’ve still not finished it quite yet, but it’s getting there.”

Damon, who lives in Cupar, Fife, but works for Edinburgh City Council, has had an interest in abandoned phone and police boxes from a young age.

He bought his first red telephone box at the age of 14, but his ultimate dream was to restore a former police box.

He said: “I bought the police box from a Glaswegian company over the phone.

“I didn’t even view it first, I just agreed there and then.

“The man selling it told me it was one of the most original police boxes he’d ever seen, so I knew it was the one for me.

“When I first got it, it was all rusty and flaking. It was very dusty.

“But I’ve gently restored it, and set it up how it would have looked when it was first built in May 1933.

“Edinburgh’s police boxes are unique from other city’s, that’s also what makes them very special.”

Damon said using the boxes for a specific purpose, such as serving food and coffee, is also a good idea as it is better than them lying derelict.

He added: “If people are heading down to Portobello next weekend, I would be pleased if they came along to have a look at the box.

“I’m looking forward to the event, and possibly finding out some more information about the box.”

Marion Williams, of the Cockburn Association, said: “The is the 26th year the Cockburn Association has organised Edinburgh Doors Open Days and each year we aim to introduce something a bit different.

“The police box is one of the quirkier ones we have this year, along with a funeral parlour, and a variety of other venues and activities.

“It’s a chance to explore some of Edinburgh’s architecturally and culturally significant buildings – all for free.”

More information about the Edinburgh Doors Open Days can be found on the Cockburn Association’s website, www.cockburnassociation.org.uk/

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk