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Edinburgh Police Box : Architecture

Scottish Tardis – design by EJ MacRae, City Architect for the Capital

post updated 6 Mar 2021

Police Box – Tardis

The influence for the Tardis in Doctor Who

Doctor Who Tardis - Police Box Edinburgh
photograph © Adrian Welch oct 2006 with lumix camera

Designed by E.J. MacRae, City Council Architect in 1930s.

Examples of these police boxes can be seen around town from a coffee shop on Rose Street to the Royal Mile and as far out as Craigmillar.

More info on this Edinburgh institution is very welcome please!

Ebenezer James MacRae (1881 – 1951) was a Scottish architect serving as City Architect for Edinburgh for most of his active life. He was the son of Rev Alexander MacRae of the Free Church of Scotland. To family and friends he was generally known as Ben MacRae.

He studied architecture under Archibald MacPherson from 1899 to 1907, remaining good friends until death. He trained at both Heriot-Watt College, the University of Edinburgh and later Edinburgh College of Art.

He did various sketching tours around the country in his twenties: York, England (1902 and 1904), Melrose (1904), Belgium (1905), Cambridge (1907), Lincoln (1907), Northamptonshire (1907), and Oxford (1907).

In 1908 he trained further, under John Kinross. Late in 1908 he got a post as an assistant in the City Architect’s Department of the then Edinburgh Corporation, serving under James Anderson Williamson.

MacRae was noted for his championing of the tenement and for his sensitive infill developments within the Old Town and central Edinburgh. These were designed in a weak 17th Century Scots style, faced in stone with slate roofs.

Scottish Parliament

Omni Edinburgh
Omni Edinburgh
picture © Adrian Welch

Donaldsons College
Donaldsons College
photo © Andrew Lee

Princes Exchange
Princes Exchange
image © Adrian Welch

Edinburgh College of Art

The Dome Edinburgh

Gladstone’s Land

Lady Stair’s House

Edinburgh hospital building – New Royal Infirmary

Comments / photos for the Edinburgh Police Box Architecture page welcome