Red booth – to be: London will keep the famous payphones

Red booth – to be: London will keep the famous payphones

Ilya Kharlamov

It would seem a typical anachronism: a street telephone booth. Who needs it in the era of total digitalization and gadgets? In Britain, they decided – they need it. And as a symbol of the era, and as an operating device.

British authorities have decided to preserve thousands of the famous red telephone booths that adorn the streets of London and other cities. This is a kind of gift to local residents in honor of the 100th anniversary of the installation of the first such urban infrastructure facility. The regulator, which confirmed the inviolable status of the booths, proceeded not only from an aesthetic and historical perspective, but also a practical point of view. Last year alone, they were used to make emergency calls more than 150 thousand times. Mobile communication is not always present, and there are very different cases. What if a person is robbed at night and their smartphone is taken away? The only way to quickly contact the competent authorities is that red box. By the way, buildings of architectural or historical value are protected by law. And the phone booths fell under his influence.

These payphones have a very rich history. The first red and white booths were made of concrete. It was too cumbersome and inconvenient for production. Only a few such copies have survived to this day. Then they were made of cast iron. Later they returned to concrete, and then switched to plywood. We experimented with metals, the shape of lintels and glass stained-glass windows. And so many times. At one time, the booths were painted in creamy red tones, but then the color, which today is called “red currant”, settled down. In the second half of the last century, it was decided to expand the “functionality” of the payphone by combining a telephone booth, a mailbox and a stamp vending machine. However, the idea of approval from the residents did not arouse: the machine issuing the stamps was making a lot of noise. However, already today some booths have found new applications, Thousands of these kiosks are privately owned. Some have been transformed into works of modern art, others are used as showers, while others decorate the interiors of pubs and restaurants. And the famous payphones, which have repeatedly changed their appearance and dimensions, have a political dimension. Yes Yes. In the early 1950s, Queen Elizabeth II decided to replace the Tudor crown, which had been installed on the top of the booths since 1926, with the image of the crown of St. Edward (during the life of the former English king). Scotland rebelled against the use of English symbols. As a result, the question was resolved peacefully: payphones began to be produced with an empty plate, on which, later, depending on the destination, either the image of the crown of St. Edward or the crown of Scotland was attached.

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