Tardis tarted up but old sea-mine is left to rust

Words and photos by Dave Barry

No sooner were concerns raised about the state of the old police box on Scarborough’s seafront, than it was restored to its former glory.

However, the adjacent former sea-mine remains in urgent need of TLC.

The Tardis, as many call the old telephone box, had rotten woodwork, peeling paint and broken windows.

Birds had liberally expressed their opinion of it in the traditional way.

Erected in about 1920, the box was once used to contact the police station, when it was on Castle Road.

It is the only surviving police box out of nine which were dotted around the town, says Cllr Dave Billing, 67, who remembers seeing it as a child.

It’s in its original position and was designated as a grade-2 listed building in 1988.

The square, wooden box is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 for its “special architectural or historic interest”.

Cllr Janet Jefferson, whose Castle ward includes the box, says it belongs to the police. “It was renovated 10 years ago and repaired last year”, she said, adding that she would ask the police to restore it again.

The old sea-mine, mounted on a plinth near the old police box, is also suffering from dereliction and neglect.

It is used as a collecting point for the Shipwrecked Mariners Society, formerly the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners Society, based in London.

A plaque on the mine says the society was founded in 1839 “for the alleviation of every phase of shipwreck distress among the seafaring population and their dependents. Over 1,000,000 cases relieved. There is sorrow on the sea”.

The society’s website states: “In the last year, we paid out £1.4m in grants in over 2,000 individual cases of need brought about by debt, illness, disability, unemployment or retirement”.

The mine, which has been painted red and white, has two slots for donations. However, the hinge on the lid is so rusty that it has broken. The meagre contents could easily be stolen by anyone small enough to clamber inside.

* Do you know when the mine appeared or anything about its history? Ring 353597or email dave@thescarboroughreview.co.uk.