An article in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph caught my attention. In “Inside the Red Phone Box Graveyard” the newspaper reports on the continuing interest in the tradditional British red telephone box. Boxes are being sold off by BT for as much as £2,000 and are being converted into showers among other things.
The first red phone boxes came into being in 1936 and contained a mirror, an ash tray, a notepad, a writing desk and last but by no means least a phone! I was unaware of the fact that areas who objected to the colour red could opt to paint their boxes green or grey. It was, however the red telephone box which was to dominate the landscape of Britain for many years.
Anyone who visits central London will spy a few remaining red telephone boxes. I always assumed that these boxes contained working telephones however, on chatting about the article with a colleague yesterday evening he informed me that the boxes are empty and act merely as a tourist attraction.
The article brought back memories of queuing to use the telephone at both college and, later at university. I well recall the warning sound of pips which indicated that the hungry monster required feeding more coins (failure to oblige would result in the hapless user being unceremoniously cut off). I well remember giving my mum the number of the box so that she could call me back, oh happy days!
On the plus side the traditional red boxes do possess individuality. They look and feel cosier than the uniform and soulless constructions which have, on the whole replaced them. However I well recall standing in traditional phone boxes feeling the wind playing with my hair due to some kind soul having determined that it would be fun to smash all the glass in the box. On occasions the exterior of the box would be intact but on entering the unfortunate soul would find that the receiver had parted company from the wire attaching it to the phone. Again certain individuals mistook the poor defenseless telephone kiosk for public conveniences …
With the proliferation of mobile telephones the phone box is dying a slow death. Indeed the high prices one pays for using a telephone box can only hasten it’s demise. Despite my fondness for the traditional telephone box I for one am not about to ditch my mobile and return to shivering on a cold winter’s evening in a steel and glass construction.
For the Telegraph’s article please visit http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/9252219/Inside-the-red-phone-box-graveyard.html
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