Calls to preserve historic former police box hidden on the edge of Dewsbury

Calls have been made to end the neglect of a historic former police box hidden in undergrowth on the edge of Dewsbury town centre.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 7:00 am
The historic former police box hidden in undergrowth on the edge of Dewsbury town centre

While wooden Tardis-style police boxes are not uncommon, this is believed to be one of the few built of brick.

Several years ago retired Dewsbury beat officer and detective Ben Richardson campaigned for recognition for the police box in Webster Hill.

While the area around it was cleared, nothing was done to help preserve it and now it’s covered in ivy and hidden by overgrown trees, bushes and weeds.

The historic former police box hidden in undergrowth on the edge of Dewsbury town centre

The plight of the tiny building, which overlooks the dual carriageway near the former Harrison’s electrical wholesalers, was raised at a meeting of Kirklees Council’s cabinet last week.

Coun Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) said he believed the police box could be the only brick-built police box remaining and said it should be preserved.

“We should be showcasing this building rather than letting trees grow out of the roof,” he said.

Dewsbury East Labour councillor Eric Firth, cabinet member for town centres, agreed it was a “mess” and added: “I tried to get the area committee some years ago to at least point it and clear the area. We did clear the area but never did the pointing.”

Coun Firth revealed that the police box played a key role under the old Dewsbury Corporation to combat crashes on Webster Hill in winter weather.

He said an “under-road heating” system was installed and the switchgear was housed in the police box.

Not surprisingly the experiment was not a success and Coun Firth added: “It didn’t work very well.”

Coun Bolt and Coun John Taylor (Con, Kirkburton) suggested that building apprentices from either Kirklees College or Kirklees Council’s Building Services could take on the repointing work as a project.

“That would be something to tell the grandkids,” added Coun Bolt.

Coun Firth said he would ask the question but Coun Cathy Scott (Lab, Dewsbury East) sounded a note of caution.

“I’m not sure (the police box) is in our ownership and this was raised on the area committee,” she said.

“The police were even surprised to know of its existence.

“I think we should find out who owns it before we point anything.”