As a child I was a huge fan of the television program Doctor Who, and I was in the minority at the time — most of my friends had never heard of it and it was incredibly difficult to catch on television. It usually aired randomly on PBS and there was no link between what was airing in the UK and when we got the episodes. I was watching episodes from the mid 1970s in the mid to late 1980s and this was pretty much how I thought it always would be.
This is a bit of a tangent from my thesis, which is that the devices that are installed in some cities to get into contact with the police and fire department — this was before mobile phones were as popular as they are now and it was important to be able to reach the police or fire department in case of an emergency — are actually pretty cool from an aesthetic point of view.
The above photograph is of an alert station in my home city of Kew Gardens. It is in rather poor condition, though not as poor as others I have seen. I like how clear the instructions are and the fact that it specifically tells you that you must answer the call in order to get help — no hanging up and running away here! It is also notable that there is a visual symbol as well as the text for “Fire” and “Police” — a possible improvement would be to have raised braille lettering as well for the blind and visually impaired.
Above we can see a station that stands on its own rather than resting on a pole. Note that someone decided to put a large sticker on it accompanied by a bit of graffiti. Thanks, random artist! It appears that this station could certainly do with a full repainting. I would love to know whom I could contact about volunteering to strip off years of old paint and giving it a lovely new coat.
Lastly, a partially repainted station. This one has also been tagged, and in a more blatant manner — directly on it. This is not too far from a bridge that goes over the Long Island Railroad Station in Kew Gardens — the bridge is somewhat marked up and I sometimes wish I could get the right paint and make it look nice and clean again.
Enjoy your weekend!