joy magnetism: The angels have the phone box(es)

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Friday, May 8, 2009

The angels have the phone box(es)

Magnet #441 - Red Telephone Box

Totally picked this up from a street vendor in Greenwich, England. Yep. I gots magnet vendors all over the world.

I love the red phone boxes dotted all over the UK! They started having them back in the 1920s - apparently, they used to be manned, and people would go up to the kiosks and someone would place the call for them. Fun!

They started out with all sorts of localized designs, until they started standardizing them. Yes, there's a whole history - scroll down to the bottom of that page, and you can see the different ones over time. Though, I'm quite curious to see this new kiosk with phone/internet capabilities. That, I might consider using - how handy would a walk-up outdoor kiosk be?

But sadly, as with many things vanishing with time, they're slowly decommissioning the red boxes across the UK. There are a number of petitions you can find at this Save Our Phone Boxes site. Plus, check out the gallery of images - they're gorgeous.

I can't figure out if it's a nationwide "OMG, they're taking our phone boxes!" effort, or if it's just a handful of people clinging to the past. (Honestly, were it me, I'd be clinging, too.) But, apparently, it costs them a ton to maintain, and think about it - when was the last time you actually stood at a payphone on the street?

Really, I saw someone use one a couple of days ago, and I was wondering what happened to their cell phones. There's almost a stigma now, in using those Verizon phones on the sidewalks here. Of course, there's a part of me that still remembers that time I picked up a payphone to use it, and someone had smeared shaving cream all over it and it got into my ear. At least I hope it was just shaving cream. Or, the other time where I got smacked silly by my mother because I couldn't understand why she didn't know how to use the payphone we were at when I was little. Yep, even for a payphone I got a trauma. Hahaha.

Truly, that these guys are disappearing is a pity. I didn't dig deep enough to find out, but I hope that they do something to recycle or reuse them, kind of like redbird trains in the ocean. (Even though that issue has a whole host of environmental issues of its own.)

It's a little sad thinking that somewhere in the backwoods of the UK, there's a red box graveyard.

Stop the presses! According to Mary in the comments below, BT is actually allowing folks to adopt a red box! Yay, that's happy-making news! How remiss of me not to look that up, but still, yay!

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jen said...

What is that -- soup? HEE. Save the red boxes!

The Geek said...

And don't blink!

Mary said...

Joy, at least BT are allowing red boxes to be adopted by local communities, so they won't all dissapear....

joy said...

Oh, Mary, that's lovely! I've added in an eta to the original post.