This isn’t new to this blog, as such, but good to see the phone box still warrants news articles. Here reproduced from yesterday’s ‘Guardian’…

Sir John Soane: how tomb for architect’s wife inspired the red telephone box


The Soane family tomb and the telephone boxes it inspired.


When Eliza Soane died 200 years ago, it changed the life of her architect husband Sir John Soane – and it changed the British streetscape through the strange afterlife of the tomb he designed for her, which inspired the design of the iconic red telephone box.

Soane never got over his wife’s death on 22 November 1815 although he lived until 1837. He was one of the most renowned architects of his day – creator of monumental public buildings including the Bank of England, churches, and country houses, as well as an avid collector of fragments of older buildings including Old St Paul’s cathedral. He blamed her death on the shock of discovering that their son George was the author of some malevolent anonymous reviews of his work.

Her tomb, which became the family vault, was raised over her grave in Old St Pancras churchyard in 1816, and inspired the Giles Gilbert Scott telephone kiosk. Scott knew the tomb well as a trustee of the Sir John Soane’s Museum for 35 years, and his 1920s creation is now an endlessly imitated landmark in British design.

Staff of the museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London, the family’s home and his workshop, have commissioned a specially designed wreath to lay on her grave in Old St Pancras churchyard.

Helen Dorey, acting museum director, said: “I regard this primarily as a private pilgrimage which we are doing because it is the right thing to do to honour our founder and his family.”

The ceremony was organised for 23 November, which dawned sunny and frosty in the first cold snap of winter.

“The last time we laid a wreath on the Soane tomb was in January 1987 to mark the 150th anniversary of Soane’s death – there was snow on the ground,” Dorey recalled.

The Soane family home – with features including a shadowy cell for an imaginary monk, a gigantic Egyptian sarcophagus and a towering monument to their pet dog, but also Eliza’s cosy dining room and parlour – has been open as a museum since her husband’s day. It is still full of memories of Eliza, who was a passionate art collector and added paintings by JMW Turner and William Hogarth, which are still among the gems of the collection.

She was buried on 1 December 1815, and Soane recorded in his diary: “Melancholy day indeed! The burial of all that is dear to me in this world and all I wished to live for.”

Soane never forgave his son for Eliza’s death. He framed the fatal reviews in black, and hung them on the wall, headed “Death Blows given by George Soane.”

There are several images of the tomb in the current exhibition at the museum, Death and Memory, including a wildly romantic view by George Basevi, which shows it as a gigantic structure set in a forested gorge, not a crowded London churchyard.

 George Basevi’s painting of Eliza Soane’s tomb. Photograph: Hugh Kelly/Sir John Soane’s Museum

Mexico City public toilets

Another guy that takes photos of urinals…

Using public toilets all over Mexico City completely changed the way I viewed it



More library phone boxes please

phoneboxlibrary comp

From yesterday’s (11/11/2015) ‘i’ newspaper.

Halloween favourite

A classic – ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ (1968):

Rosemary's Baby (1)

Rosemary's Baby (2)

Man in the High Castle again

Finally the second episode of this fabulous programme has appeared on my Amazon watchlist. In an earlier blog I posted a shot of a bubble covered phone but in this scene it’s something more traditional:

Man in the High Castle 2 comp

Children of Men

In the refugee camp at Bexhill (Children of Men):

Children of Men

Series end

Have been watching ‘Relic Hunter’ and in the last episode we have this:

Relic Hunter final episode comp

And I am finishing off ‘Farscape’ (not sure why I’m bothered but I’ve got this far so thought I should keep at it). This is from an episode in the third series:

Farscape S3

South Kensington, London

I’ve wondered for a while why disused phone boxes weren’t being used as ATMs. I wonder no longer. I just came back from South Kensington in London and saw my first in what I think will be a continuing trend. Note that although one side has become an ATM, another side remains a phone.

UK, London South Kensington (2) comp

UK, London South Kensington (1) comp

Last night’s ‘Dr Who’

This from the latest episode of ‘Dr Who':

Before the Flood

Doctor Who, Series 9 Episode 4 of 12

On a remote army outpost, a fearsome alien warlord called the Fisher King sets in motion a twisted plan to ensure his own survival. The ripples will be felt around the universe. Is this chain of events inevitable? And can the Doctor do the unthinkable?




We just spent a couple of weeks in Cyprus and came across these phones. In Nicosia I was giving up on seeing a phone in the Old City but just outside the walls, by the Museum entrance there was a very special one – solar powered (see below):

Lempa - by the house with the trippy ceramic walls

Lempa – by the house with the trippy ceramic walls





Nicosia solar phone

Nicosia solar phone



Paphos marina

Paphos marina



Cyprus village

Cyprus village