The Quickie

A bite-sized look at this week's news…

Posts Tagged ‘red phone boxes’

What makes Britain British?

Posted by allie1985 on November 5, 2008

 According to the Telegraph, phone boxes are now generally unprofitable and out dated,  but they are by no means under cherished in Britain.

BT has plans to get rid of the majority of phone kiosks, but the fact that they have given people the opportunity to “adopt” or “sponsor” a phone box has come as a welcome surprise.

Conservative lawmaker Alan Duncan has put his full support behind the scheme with the view to protecting an “iconic image in Britain”

“It goes with black taxis and double Decker buses. Both in rural and in urban areas the red box itself is seen as part of the local streetscape”

Incidentally Mayor of London Boris Johnson is putting double Decker buses back on London’s streets, claiming they “were never suited to London’s streets” and “that will once again give London an iconic bus that Londoners can be proud of”.

 The iconic red phone box

Sir Gilbert Scott, a British architect, first designed the box in 1924.  It was adapted several times before it became the box we know today. The current design is known as the K6, (kiosk 6) and was produced in 1935 to comemorate the silver jubilee of King George V.

Sir Gilbert Scot wanted the new k6 booths to be silver with an inside of “greeny blue”  to emphasise their relation to the silver jubilee but the post office would not allow it. They insisted they were painted red. The official Post Office colour.

The only place where the boxes were not painted red was Kingston upon Hull. There the boxes were painted cream because they were managed and owned by the Corporation of Hull instead of the Post Office.

 Collectors items

At one point there were around 70,000 phone boxes in use, but after technological advances they were decommissioned. Many were scrapped but somewhere bought by collectors and ended up in galleries and peoples gardens. Three thousand phone kiosks have been give the status of listed buildings, and are therefore a permant part of Britain.

What makes Britain British?pb060106

Red Phone Boxes

Red Double Decker Buses

Red Post Boxes

Black Cabs

The changing of the guard

Roast Beef with Yorkshire Puddings

Rain, lots of it.

Main article

Alexandra Murphy

(alexandra.murphy@my.westminster.ac.uk)

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Adopt a red phone box

Posted by allie1985 on November 5, 2008

November 2 2008 was the cut off date to ‘adopt a red phone box’.pb060105

BT has decided to scrap more than a third of our countries iconic red phone boxes because they are no longer financially profitable. However they agreed to sell off 500 of them to local authorities in an effort to preserve a part of our countries heritage.

For the small fee of £1 a community can buy a phone box and it is theirs forever.

Chet Patel, director of BT Payphones, said “Local people have spoken and BT has listened to their views by coming up with the adopt a payphone schemes”

The first place to ‘adopt’ a phone box was Lighthorne, a small hamlet 90mile north west of London.

“Our red telephone box is a focal point for our village and is part of its overall identity and heritage. We’re pleased that BT devised this scheme allowing communities to preserve their much loved red kiosks” said Josette Tait, chairman of Lighthorne Parish Council.

 Why is BT getting rid of the phone booths?

According to BT, not enough people are using phone booths and over half were no longer turning a profit.

Gemma Thomas a BT spokeswoman said “Payphone usage has declined dramatically since the advent of the mobile phone”

According to the Telegraph newspaper, the red kiosks were said to be among the booths that were losing money. They say it costs around £1000 annually to maintain a red box and people are just not using them. Josette Tait admitted that to her recollection the Lighthorne box had not been used for about a year.

Adopt or sponsor?

As well as adopting a phone booth, BT has also introduced a sponsoring scheme. To sponsor a phone booth cost £500 per annum, but this keeps the phone booth as a phone booth. When the booths are adopted BT remove all the equipment inside, just leaving the red shell.

What will become of the empty phone booths?

Many town councils are planning to turn the booths into notice boards where residents can pin up town information, although others are considering using them as green houses and miniature art galleries.

 In Kingston upon Thames red phone booths have been turned into a piece or art by having them leaning up against each other in a domino effect.

So far around 400 of the Phone booths have been either sponsored or adopted. BT has said it want to errantly get rid of another 400, and are in negotiations as to what to do with another 4,000.

 Backup piece-What makes Britain British?

 

Alexandra Murphy

(alexandra.murphy@my.westminster.ac.uk)

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