Responses to the article from the Guardian are reposted below – https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2022/may/01/the-uks-dwindling-red-phone-boxes-call-up-some-wonderful-memories
In response to Sophie Elmhirst’s long read, Steve Townsley and Mike Abbott recall their days with BT, and Tony Vinicombe, Mark Newbury and Peter Avery extol the virtues of Giles Gilbert Scott’s kiosks:
I greatly enjoyed Sophie Elmhirst’s article on the last of the UK’s phone boxes (The long read, 28 April). In the late 1980s, I worked for British Telecom in east London and when a new boss of “public call offices” (as phone boxes were officially called) was appointed, I was asked to take him on a tour of some of his new property. I took him to the site of one that I knew was frequently vandalised. All that remained were a few metal stubs poking out of the ground. It at least gave the new guy a feel for the scale of his job. From what I remember, he didn’t last long.
Your article was a joyous trip down memory lane. In the mid-1980s, I was the press officer for the international division of British Telecom. Due to a lack of interest from the corporate centre, I found myself managing the 30 or so BT district press officers dotted around the UK on matters of red phone boxes. As part of that, in tandem with my BT colleague Dave Wenlock, I toured schools, Dave suitably dressed in his “Mr Payphone” costume, imparting to young children the importance to the community of a working, reliable payphone network, key in those pre-mobile phone days. Wonderful memories.
Towns that still possess a telephone kiosk designed by Giles Gilbert Scott might like to recognise its value by making it a listed building. Here in Shoreham-by-Sea, we have one that’s Grade II-listed. The 1920s Homes for Heroes Sea Mills estate in Bristol has one that contains its museum. These very British structures need to be retained, if only for their visual importance.
Shoreham, West Sussex
We still have a (working) red telephone box in Low Mill, Farndale. Given that you cannot get a mobile phone signal here, one of these days it will come in useful. In the meantime, its main role will remain acting as a focal point for every photographer passing through (red phone box, 19th-century stone bridge and a chapel – the epitome of the North York Moors).
Farndale, North Yorkshire
Save the Gilbert Scott cubicles, but remove all the disgusting 1990s BT boxes from our pavements: every time one is removed, a tree is planted in that hole. Simple.