Edinburgh City Police Gallery 3

The Beat Box System of Policing introduced to Edinburgh City Police in 1933

Box 1 A the Lawnmarket in 2009. Scroll down to see the other A Division 1st & 2nd Section boxes.
Box 3 A Cranston Street at the Canongate in 2012

The Police Box System of Edinburgh City Police introduced in 1933:


The three sheets below show the original positions of the Police Boxes and Pillars introduced in 1933.


The lists also show the Fixed Traffic Duty Points introduced at the same time. I remember there were still Fixed Points Teams in Princes Street in the early 1970s.


Over the years the numbers of the boxes changed and what I remember from the early 1970s of A Division bears no resemblance to the numbers on these lists.


I think the list below is correct for the 1st and 2nd Sections of ‘A’ Division in 1974 but I am happy to be corrected.


Box Number


1 A

The Lawnmarket 

2 A

Tron Square (above the Public Toilets on South Bridge)

3 A

Cranston Street (at the junction with Canongate)

4 A

Milton House Primary School (at the bottom of the Canongate)

5 A

High School Yards (just off the Cowgate)

6 A

The Grassmarket (above the Public Toilets and facing the Cowgate)

7 A

Laurieston Place (at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary)

8 A

Marshall Street

9 A

Richmond Lane (just of St Leonard's Street)

10 A

St Patrick Square

11 A

Parkside Street (at St Leonard’s Coal Depot)

12 A

Hope Park Crescent


Please feel free to contact me with additions or corrections to any of  the information on Police Boxes.

Box 1A in the Lawnmarket, possibly 1940s or 50s.

A Division Police Boxes in 1933

List of A Division Edinburgh City Police Boxes in 1933

B & C Division Police Boxes in 1933

List of B and C Division Police Boxes in 1933

D Division Police Boxes and Traffic Duty Points in 1933

List of D Division Police Boxes and Traffic Duty Points in 1933

Box 2 A formerly Tron Square above the Public Toilets, now at High Street opposite Cockburn Street.

The present location of Box 2A at the High Street and Hunter Square opposite Cockburn Street. Its former position was just around the corner. Please see below.
The former position of Box 2A at Hunter Square and South Bridge. The box was positioned to the left of the gate of the former public toilet.

Box 3 A Cranston Street at the junction with the Canongate in 2016.

Box 3 A Cranston Street in 2016. It can also be seen in 2012 above.

Box 4 A Milton House Public School in 2016

Box 4 A Milton House Public School in 2016.
Milton House Public School. The Police Box was set into the school fence.

Box 5 A Flodden Wall 2016 (This used to be at the bottom of High School Yards & the Cowgate in the 1970s)

Box 5 A.

The following link https://www.buildingsatrisk.org.uk/details/917183 will take you to a Register for Scotland of Buildings at Risk, one of which is the former Box 5A now at the Flodden Wall.


The text confirms that this box was moved from its original position at the bottom the steps in High School Yards, in 2014.


The box is at present (2018), for sale!

The original location of Box 5 A at the bottom of High School Yards.The view is looking west along the Cowgate towards the Grassmarket. Immediately to the right (off picture) is St Patrick's RC Church from where Hibernian Football Club sprang!

Box 6 A The Grassmarket East End in 2009

Box 6 A The Grassmarket in 2009. In the 1970s, this box opened towards the direction of the Cowgate and was above a public toilet (see below). The building to the left was the Grassmarket (possibly Greyfriars?) Hotel and the extreme right was 75 Grassmark
Box 6A in its original position , opening towards the Cowgate above the no longer there, 'Gentlemen's Toilet'. The sign for '75 Grassmarket' is also gone in this image.
This was the original position of what I knew as Box 6A in the 1970s. It was originally Box 9A in 1933. The picture is taken from the pend leading to the original Traverse Theatre.
View of the Grassmarket from outside the Greyfriars Hotel. There is no Police Box so this must predate 1933.

In the 1970s there were several 'Common Lodging Houses' either in, or very near the Grassmarket.

Within the immediate vicinity of the box were the  Greyfriars Hotel and 75 Grassmarket, both male facilities.
The Salvation Army ran a Women's Hostel at the West Port at the west end of the Grassmarket. They also ran a male hostel at the east end of the Cowgate at the junction with the Pleasance.
In between the Pleasance and the Grassmarket, the Church of Scotland had several hostels for men and women along the Cowgate.
The Salvation Army also had a hostel in Merchant Street, just off Candlemaker's Row.
Quite a different area from then to now. Earlier this year, (2018), I read that Grassmarket residents were complaining of the number of properties let out as 'AIR bed and breakfasts' etc.

Box 7 A Lauriston Place in 2009

'Re-cycled' Box 7 A Lauriston Place in 2009. This box covered the old Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI) and the 7 Beat officer was in the Accident & Emergency Department several times a shift, day or night on enquiries from other divisions and forces.

Box 8 A Marshall Street in 2016

Box 8 A Marshall Street in 2016.

Box 9 A Richmond Lane at the junction with Gilmour Street,  just off St Leonard's Street/Pleasance. No longer there in 2016.

I think the box was where the corner of the building now is? Please see the picture below. If you know better, please get in touch. Thank you.
Box 9A at the junction of Gilmour Street and Richmond Lane.

Box 10 St Patrick Square in 2016

Box 10 A St Patrick Square in 2016. the view is down Clerk Street towards Nicholson Street and 'The Bridges'. The pieces of white paper are to hide someone's phone number. Apparently, someone called them after seeing their number here. Ironically, it used
This image from The Glasgow Herald shows the crowd trying to get into the Odeon to see the Bay City Rollers in 1974 or 1975. Box 10A can be seen in its original blue livery. I am somewhere in that picture trying to keep order!

Box 11 A Parkside Street at St Leonard's Coal Depot. No longer there in 2016.

Approximate site of former Box 11 A in 2016.

Box 12 A Hope Park Terrace

Box 12 A at Hope Park Terrace in late 2018
Wider view of Box 12 A location in late 2018

Inside a typical Edinburgh Police Box

A typical Edinburgh City Police Box (After years of neglect!)
Filing Cabinet above Desk. Contained 'General Orders', 'Weekly Records', 'Informations', 'Key-holders Book', 'Police Gazettes' etc etc.
Desk & Drawer. The socket for the kettle can be seen on the upper right. The 'Beat Journal' sat on the desk and the 'Beat Man' (until 1975) made an entry every time he left the box to patrol. The telephone was on the corner to the left side of the desk.

To the left of the desk above the telephone was a list of the Beat Patrols.


These could be 'Half Hourly Turn' and '1st', '2nd' and '3rd Hourly Turns'.


Each 'Turn' had a list of streets in the order to which they were to be patrolled. The 'Turns' could be worked in random order and reversed to vary the route so that if being observed by villains, the 'Beat Man's' route could not be predicted.


After the introduction of personal radios in the 1960s, the 'Turns' became obsolete but they were still being used up to the late 1970s.


Section Sergeants and the Shift Inspector would come to the box and check which 'Turn' the Beat Man was on. Then dependent on the time of entry, they would either follow the PC's route until they found him or patrol it in reverse until they achieved the same result.


Even in the 1970s, when you met the Shift Inspector in the street, the PC came to attention and saluted him (up to 1975). They would then ask to see your pocket book and examine all the entries back to the last time it had been 'supervised' by them or a Section Sergeant. They would ask questions to confirm that any 'Summonses' and reports had been 'timeously submitted' and any matter requiring a report or any other action had been carried out.


If they were satisfied, they would sign and date the book and return it to the officer.


I later found that this was most certainly not the procedure in the Met! 


The 'Facilities' - water to fill the kettle and the 'Prisoner's Seat'. This seat was also used by 'The Probationer' assigned to learn the beats.
Wider view of sink, desk and 'Prisoner Seat'.
Example of a 'Key Holder's Book' from Leith.
An example of a 'Key Holder's Book' from Leith.

STOP PRESS See one of only two 'Visit to Scotland' 1903 medals issued to a Metropolitan Police Officer - DS David Liddle

Completely New Metropolitan Police Medals from WW2

Completely Updated

Accurate Medal Roll for all 120 Royal Parks 1911 Police Coronation Medals

News: New roll of all Scottish officers awarded KPM 1909 - 1954 (From Ian Hall) 

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