Follow

The final resting place.

I drove past a scrapyard the other day, and this traditional red telephone box caught my eye. They used to be a common sight in towns and villages, and even the rural Highlands & Islands had many of them.

There was a time when communities ran campaigns to save their 'phone boxes, but even that has passed now. The onward march of the mobile 'phone has been relentless.

Another icon bites the dust.

This particular scrapyard had six of the traditional (GPO) red 'phone boxes, and also several of the more modern BT ones. I did wonder if I had used any of those 'phone boxes, but there was no way to tell.

There are still a few 'phone boxes standing in their original locations, although I suspect their future looks bleak. Like the horse drawn cart or the steam locomotive they have had their day. Soon they will only be a fond memory, and eventually even that will go.

Show thread

@fitheach in Germany almost all telephone boxes are operated by Telekom, and they have to get permission by the municipality before removing them. which sadly leads to the situation that I've never seen any unvandalised or even working telephone box in the last ten years :/

@daniel_bohrer
Originally the whole telephone network (including 'phone boxes) was operated by the General Post Office, which was a state-run entity. In the 1980s the telecoms part was separated from the PO, and eventually was privatised. It was known as British Telecom, then latterly as BT.

In common with most of the population I haven't used a call box in many, many years. I can't really mourn something I haven't used. I will however photograph any remaining ones I see.

@fitheach I see a few around as mini libraries and AED holders. So maybe not completely lost.

@M0YNG
In urban areas that type of usage makes sense. The ones I used to (mostly) see were in very rural locations. They'll be loaded onto the back of a lorry and end their days in scrappies like the one I photographed.

@fitheach I've only ever seen them in villages, often without a shop or other infrastructure that would hold an aed

@zudn
I have seen one in someone's garden and also one in a pub. As much as the idea might appeal to me I can't think what I would do with one. The mostly metal construction means they are really heavy, so moving them would require a lorry and hoist. That would add to the cost.

@fitheach
Gotcha. Probably made that way so they wouldn't get stolen, reckon?

@fitheach Phone boxes are all the more important in rural areas, where cell service is minimal and not everyone has the blasted devices glued to their ears anyway. For safety’s sake, these should be required to be installed by law.

@Shufei
Perhaps the 'phone boxes could be converted to emergency calls use only. No need for a coin box, which would eliminate the need for them to be emptied, and also the motivation for some to steal the contents.

@fitheach That is still a common sight across rural North America, to see call boxes which reach an operator. Not as common as they used to be, natch. But I can say they are fun to use. I’d think they would be a gimme for the Highlands and Islands.

Paint them blue with white lettering, too. Not a one will be scrapped after that. Haha.

@Shufei
I do see "emergency use only" 'phones at the side of roads. I've never used one, and I'd be interested to see usage stats. The ones I've seen all seem to be in areas where there is a perfect mobile reception, at least for my network.

@fitheach I’ve no idea how the cell towers are set up yonder, but if they are aught like thisaway, they are likely to be unworthy in a serious regional emergency for very long. After a few hours without power, the generators use up their fuel reserves. So it is nice to have emergency call boxes.

@fitheach a friend in the south of #Aotearoa has one of these in her backyard ;)

@strypey
The usage possibilities for a tall, narrow construction is a bit limiting. Storage for garden equipment like rakes and strimmers, perhaps?

@fitheach yup, or in her case, long, narrow, street theatre props, which are inconvenient to store in the house.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!