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Red telephone box
The UK red telephone box was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1926. This British cultural icon has remained ubiquitous despite the rise in mobile phone ownership. The K6 model was the most prolific red telephone box design and in 1980 there were 73,000 of them in the UK, though UK phone boxes can be found as far afield as Gibraltar and Bermuda.
According to a BT (the British telecomunications company) survey, in June 2013 only 3% of us had made a call from a telephone box in last month. In fact, on average just one phonecall is made per day from a UK phone box. So why are we lucky enough to still have so many of them dotted around the country? Although 99.7% of British homes have access to a mobile phone network from at least one provider, according to Ofcom, most counties in the UK have areas where mobile reception is poor – a glimmer of hope for rural red telephone boxes?
Another lifeline for red telephone boxes… London’s ones have been converted and used for emergency medical equipment, miniature local libraries and even green solar-powered charging stations for mobile phones. Creative Cheltenham is turning the Gloucestershire town’s Grade II listed red telephone boxes in galleries. The local council bought the phone boxes, which date back to 1935, from BT for £1 each. The Telegraph shows some other novel uses of red telephone boxes, though our favourite is still a British icon as a backdrop in photographs!
This post features a red telephone box in Porthgain, Pembrokeshire. The village was once home to an harbour of international importance. Today, it is more famous as a stopoff point for a coffee or lunch, or somewhere to stay while exploring the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path.
If you are keen to discover more facts, figures and news on red telephone boxes, you must visit the Telephone Box website.