I wasn’t really sure that there were any of the old telephone boxes left in England but there are – about 8,000 of them apparently. Why, I’ve no idea. I don’t know about you but I honestly can’t remember the last time I use a public phone.
In the days when I used to live in England before I even had a phone in my own home never mind a cellphone, you’d have to try two or three before you found one that you could actually use.
Some were vandalised, of course, England’s youth being England’s youth. But the other challenge was that even if you found one that had a working phone, the problem was being able to breathe for any length of time. You see, particularly when phone boxes were located close to pubs, men who were phoning for a taxi after closing time were inclined to relieve themselves right there in the phone box.
Wow, they were stinky.
Nevertheless, no one wanted to see those old phone boxes disappear. They started to though, at quite an alarming rate being sold often to the USA where wealthy expats would use them as mini cabanas or shower cubicles by their swimming pools or alternatively they were used as a sort of cultural signpost outside what was laughingly referred to a ‘British pub’.
But the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings decided to rectify this situation. Before all the red telephone boxes had the opportunity to be whisked away to the States as rich men’s playthings, they set up a collection.
The museum is a great day out – see the video below – but the telephone box collection is the icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned.
In some places in the UK, especially in tiny villages, locals have bought they local phone boxes from the government (for a very small fee) and now use them for various weird and wonderful reasons.
Some have been converted to the world’s smallest art galleries. Some are used as kiosks to sell souvenirs in seaside towns. They are also used for selling coffee or hotdogs. You can see an article about them on the BBC.
The design of the most commonly seen phone boxes dates from the 1930s although phone boxes were seen on the streets from the 1920s.
Where is the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings?
Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings
Bromsgrove B60 4JR,
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.