Brits love their red phone boxes. Even with mobiles prevalent today, we don't want to get rid of the phone boxes. The BBC estimates that there are 46,000 phones boxes in use today, including 8,000 red ones.
Some of these phone boxes are being put to other interesting uses too. One of them has become 'world's smallest museum', another has been converted into a coffee shop, yet another one is a salad bar and another one in Cumbria is hosting life saving medical equipment. This is all thanks to BT that has encouraged adoption of some of these much loved icons for as little as £1.
Two British Phonebox enthusiasts, Prof. Nigel Linge and Prof. Andy Sutton have written a very well researched and comprehensive book on this topic looking at the history and evolution of the humble phone boxes through all of its major models, including those that were introduced by organisations such as the emergency services. The British Phonebox is available to purchase from Amazon and other popular bookshops.
In addition to the book, they have also written an article in 'The Journal' that gives a taster of whats in the book. Its available to download here.
5 interesting facts from the little reading that I did on this topic:
- The model K1 (K stand for Kiosk) was very unpopular and hence a competition was held to find the best possible design. The winning design by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott became K2 that was rolled out in 1926
- Sir Giles had suggested silver colour with blue and green interior. This was changed to red for making it easy to spot
- The latest model is called KX100+
- The most popular and loved model is the K6 that was designed to celebrate King George V’s Silver Jubilee, though he died before any of them were actually installed.
- Before Queen Elizabeth came along, a vague representation of the Tudor crown was used on the telephone boxes. Wanting to put her stamp on things after she ascended to the throne in 1952, QEII had all of the crowns changed to St. Edward's Crown, the crown actually used in coronations. Scotland opted to keep the Crown of Scotland on theirs, and so all K6 boxes manufactured after 1955 had to be made with a slot in the top to insert the plate with the correct crown depending on the location of the booth.
- Britain’s Iconic Red Phone Booths Find Their Second Calling
- The Telephone Box Story
- Why the Red Telephone Box was Almost Silver and Other Facts About the K6