antique communication devices

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Why I love England #16:  red telephone boxes

Red antique English telephone boxesJust around the corner from the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden is this fabulous row of antique communication devices. Many people 20 and under will never ever have used these. Why would they need to? They carry their own phones with them. In the 80’s a row of phone boxes like this in a city centre would have a person in each box talking and maybe one or two people outside, checking the change in their purses, waiting for their turn to make a private call.

According to this history, in the 1980’s most homes didn’t have landline phones.

In 1987, the post office, who deployed and maintained them, systematically replaced these red boxes with a more modern design with more glass and open to the air that reduced the likelihood of the box being used as a urinal, or the subsequent pungent smell. Pew! I remember the smell!  Some villages protested against the replacement and managed to hold-on to this much loved older design. But sadly, most red boxes were removed.

I guess they are still useful to a few people for actually hosting a landline call, they are also useful for keeping warm, dry and quiet for making a mobile phone call. It’s wonderful that the local council, as many councils in tourist areas, have decided to leave them here and maintain them in such good condition. For the tourists, and people like me who can be heard bubbling

AWWWE How CUTE!

antique communication devices
1 vote rating 4

8 bits of lovely banter on “antique communication devices”

  1. Brian writes:

    I had assumed those were gone along with the TARDIS-style police boxes. It’s great that they’re preserved!

    The old NYC phone booths never had the elegance of these (IMHO), but they did have the same odor issues.

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  2. Bux writes:

    That’s my kind of picture. You forgot to mention the sexual nature of these boxes Wendy, in my day they were often used for a late night snog on the way home (nothing more…I’m a lady) and then of course, before the advent of online chat rooms, they became advertising booths for all kinds of weird and wonderful sexual services. That’s it Wendy…they were of course the very first chat rooms!

    A most entertaining post for re-living the heyday of the humble phone box without the smell. Bx

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  3. wendy writes:

    the very first chat rooms!! brilliant.

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    Bux writes

    why thank you Wendy, I do my best 😉

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  4. Happy Frog and I writes:

    I do love red phone boxes and red double decker buses, they instantly make me feel nostalgic (though not for the smell of urine in the phone boxes of course!). I just loved and still do the look and colour of the phone boxes. And I loved being able to jump on or off the back of a bus. Simple pleasures!

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  5. Dominic Cronin writes:

    This landed in my feeds within minutes of your post:
    http://www.24oranges.nl/2011/01/12/kpn-phone-booth-to-disappear-for-good/

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  6. JamesNT writes:

    I wonder which century each box would transport one to?

    Apologies, I do love the show and couldn’t resist the bad pun!

    JamesNT

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  7. Kevin writes:

    I’m old enough to remember the times when they also had telephone directories in them…

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