No doubt when you see a movie that plays off in London you will always see a red telephone box. So needless to say when I visited London for the first time it was something that I wanted to see. I also had to take a photo, buy a post card and a fridge magnet!They are all over the UK and you even find them in Malta, Bermuda, Gibraltar or ex-British Colonies (not in South Africa).
The first standard public telephone kiosk introduced by the United Kingdom Post Office was made in concrete (1920) and was called K1 (Kiosk No.1). This design was not of the same family as the familiar red telephone boxes. Very few remarkable examples remain. One shining example is located in Trinity market in Kingston-upon-Hull where it is still in use today.
The red telephone box is a public telephone kiosk and was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. He was one of three architects who won the competition to design the telephone box. He originally suggested that they be made of steel and coloured silver. The Post Office however decided to built them with cast iron and paint them red. The colour red was chosen to make them easy to spot.
From 1926 the red boxes were deployed across London and then countrywide.
But sadly the Red telephone box is dying a slow death with the introduction of cellular phones. Up to the 1980´s most people did not have a phone in their home and public phones were a necessity. People are not using the boxes as before because even children have cellphones!
You will often see a group of tourists posing for photos next to the box with the black receiver in hand. Then they proceed the send the photo on the mobile to Twitter or Facebook!
It is situated at the Royal Academy in London´s Piccadilly beneath the entrance arch. It is the original prototype and is made of wood. It became the template for all later red telephone box designs. Why not visit it next time when you are in London? Give it a knock, it really is made of wood!
Where: London,United Kingdom
When: April 2004