Boxes on the beat

Paul Dykes recreates the locations of the borough’s former police boxes

  • Among the Enfield police box locations Paul Dykes photographed (and photoshopped to show precisely where the boxes were placed) were Alma Road, Forty Hill, Turkey Street and Bowes Road
  • Among the Enfield police box locations Paul Dykes photographed (and photoshopped to show precisely where the boxes were placed) were Alma Road, Forty Hill, Turkey Street and Bowes Road
  • Among the Enfield police box locations Paul Dykes photographed (and photoshopped to show precisely where the boxes were placed) were Alma Road, Forty Hill, Turkey Street and Bowes Road
  • Among the Enfield police box locations Paul Dykes photographed (and photoshopped to show precisely where the boxes were placed) were Alma Road, Forty Hill, Turkey Street and Bowes Road

I’m a keen amateur photographer, London explorer, and – as will be no surprise – lifelong Dr Who fan.

I started my ‘Ghost Monuments’ project a couple of years ago when I was introduced to an online map on which you could pinpoint the former locations of police boxes. It occurred to me that I could create composites with a 3D model of a police box, ‘rematerialising’ them in former locations, but in a modern context.

There are Metropolitan Police records describing the 700-plus former locations of police boxes across London (as well as the edges of Surrey, Kent, Hertforshire and Essex). I pinpointed most of these on the online map, but some aren’t shown so I have to use my best guess. Most of the Enfield ones appear on the map, so the locations I show are accurate.

My method is to find and photograph the locations from various angles, then to add in the police box and carry out some photoshopping to blend it into the shots as much as I can. I’m not a trained 3D artist or designer, so it’s been a learning curve!

When I visited Enfield I planned a cycle route that allowed me to capture most of the borough’s 27 former police box locations in one day. It’s very much a hobby project – however, there’s been a decent amount of interest in me later doing a book about it. I’ve been working with a designer to put together ideas and our plan is to try to crowdfund it.

Find out more about Ghost Monuments:
Visit ghostmonuments.co.uk/about