You’d expect to feel you’d stepped into a different era at a shop specialising in items of yesteryear – but to find a ‘Dr Who’ time machine there really is something else.

So it’s no surprise the TARDIS built into a corner of Raglan Vintage & Retro is creating a bit of a stir down at the wharf these days.
People who pop their head into the store – sandwiched between Soul Shoes and Raglan Fish – are fascinated by the big blue police box, says co-owner Paul Marrow. “It’s like going back in time.”

The TARDIS serves not only as a lure to shoppers but also as a changing room where customers can try on some retro clothes and come out in a different era, he explains .

His wife Sue reckons their new prop gets photographed “at least 20 times a day”, helping make the shopping experience at the wharf a memorable one.

Paul had always wanted to build a phone box, Sue told the Chronicle last week after a “fantastic” Queen’s Birthday Weekend which saw lots of visitors browsing, buying and taking pictures of the TARDIS.

But a phone box would’ve had to have its windows blacked out to double as a change-room, so what better idea than to build a fictional time machine and spacecraft from long-running British sci-fi TV drama ‘Dr Who’?

Employ the skills of local signwriter Dan Mills to do the wording above the door and voila … a TARDIS, acronym for Time and Relative Dimension in Space.

But it’s a work in progress, Paul insists, with the floor yet to be painted and other features to be completed.
The box gives the illusion, as it should, of the interior being much larger than its exterior – helped inside by clever paintwork and mirroring – and the whole thing lights up, in a hue of their choosing, at the touch of a remote control.

But there are some “surprises” still to come, and the only one Paul and Sue would reveal at this stage is that there’ll soon be some ‘Dr Who’ theme music to add to the mix.

The enterprising couple say both adults and kids have had a great reaction to the TARDIS, but for some reason it particularly appeals to teenage girls. They respond to the total experience which includes Paul’s scene-setting painting of a red double-decker bus on an adjoining wall.

It’s evocative of the romance of travel on the streets of London in the ‘60s, he explains.
Meantime the Marrows – whose business opened in Bow Street 18 months ago – are moving things around for best effect in their new shop at the rebuilt wharf “shed”.

After a year in the main street they needed to expand their shop space, and while they miss dreaming up innovative window displays there to catch the eye of passers-by they’re now enjoying creating pockets of nostalgia – like the ‘Dr Who’ cult phenomenon – to interest wharf-goers.

Edith Symes