Bath’s ‘mystery’ cabinets.

It’s not every day l get to offer a £25 wine voucher to my readers! However, let’s clarify a couple of things straight away. The first is it’s not ME making the offer and, secondly, there IS a catch.

You have successfully to come up with an answer to a question the couple who ARE offering the voucher as a ‘prize’ – have been trying to get for several years.

Penny Williamson writes:

I wonder if any of your readers can correctly identify the purpose of the cabinets in the photographs  – the story of which unfolds below.

I am happy to give a £25 voucher in Majestic to anyone who can definitively prove their use – or lack of use.

About 2 years ago new black cabinets appeared throughout Bath – scores of them. They are always next to nearly identical black cabinets (thus making pairs, even sometimes three of them) and always next to pedestrian crossings.
Cabinets at Southgate

For nearly 2 years, we have been trying to get BANES to correctly identify the usage of these large black ‘Charles Indirect’ cabinets. At first, throughout 2018, the Council completely ignored our requests for information.
Cabinets in Manvers Street.
Our curiosity was, initially, aroused when one appeared outside Grade II No.1 Manvers Street where my husband is Caretaker. The new cabinet joined another identical black cabinet, a refuse bin, a pedestrian crossing and a Wayfinder plinth.
In other words, quite a lot of street furniture, all in front of this listed building in a World Heritage city. 
More personally, as the Housekeeper of No.1 Manvers Street, I sweep the streets clear around these obstacles – mostly butt ends left by Council staff. BANES’s offices in Lewes House are right next door. 
Not so difficult for someone to pop out and identify the newcomer’s purpose – especially as so many other identical cabinets had cropped up throughout Bath. Someone must have
ordered the work.
Cabinets at the Guildhall.
Penny said that no senior BANES employee replied to their correspondence until a  Mr Gary Peacock – Deputy Group Manager in Highways and Traffic made contact and agreed to open the ‘now not-so-new arrival’….
 “He said that they were ‘something’ to do with broadband. So, he opened it ….. and found it empty, except for a double switch socket and a power source.
No broadband equipment.  The power source could be for the pedestrian crossing, in which case, what is the purpose of the box next to it – for which he did not have a key?”
Not a lot in there ?
If the Wi-Fi story is to be believed (so why are the cabinets always next to a pedestrian crossing?), when is this Wi-Fi system it to be installed – by whom and for whom?. 
And if its neither of these two, what are the double sockets for – making tea? Certainly, they are attractive to bill posters.
I know that Penny and her husband have approached the Council Leader Dine Romero and she wrote back to say she’d ask her officers to look into it.
They are getting impatient for a further reply but – understandably – they are all a bit preoccupied at B&NES at present.
Can anyone out there help Penny and her husband with a definitive answer. If you do that wine voucher will be yours!


  1. Another, rather older, mystery cabinet is the dark green one by the grey telephone kiosk at the East end of the Royal Crescent. When it was graffitied (it still is) I tried and failed to find out who owned it. Just about every tourist in Bath must walk past it. I think the Council should simply take it away – it looks as if it hasn’t been unlocked in years and probably does nothing.

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