Sunday, 19 August 2012


I just watched a film set in 1948 in which someone made a call from a phonebox. This took me back and I remembered the many times when I used a phone box myself.

It will be hard for younger readers to imagine in this era of mobile phones and connectivity but way back then, we had to go and find a phone box if we wanted to phone someone.

To make them easier to find, they were painted bright red. You needed the right coins since this was long before credit cards were in use. 

The procedure was to lift the receiver and wait for a dialling tone. Next you inserted the coins and dialled the number. If there was an answer, you pressed a big button called 'Button A' (for answer) at which point, your coins dropped down into the money box. If you were talking and your money ran out, pips would sound for about 10 seconds during which time you could put more money in.

If there was no answer, you could press 'Button B' (for 'back') to get your money returned.

The phone boxes each had their own phone number so you could arrange for someone to call the phonebox at a certain time and hope that no-one else would be using it when your girlfriend phoned you. It was quite common for queues to form outside if someone took a long time making a call.

It all seems so primitive now. Plenty of the red phone boxes have survived though many were sold off and some have been recycled for other uses such as for small free libraries in village settings.

When we were kids I remember six of us getting in a phone box together, squashed in like sardines. There is no official record for this feat but unofficially, they say that fourteen people have managed to cram themselves inside one.

Of course nowadays, this is called commuting.


1 comment:

  1. I wonder if you can play pool an eat breakfast in a phonebox.. Clothes optinonal