Category Archives: News

London’s Iconic Tumbling Telephone Box Installation Has Had A Makeover

The ‘Out of Order’ installation, which consists of twelve tumbling telephone boxes, has been revealed after a bit of a zhuzh up. Located on Kingston’s lovely Old London Road, the sculpture has been a landmark since it was first installed in 1989. 

The piece was created by David Mach, one of the UK’s most successful artists and a former lecturer at Sculpture School in Kingston. He’s known for his large scale collages and sculptures all over the world, but this one is particularly special to him. He says of the installation’s refurb: “I’m very happy to see Out of Order being refurbished. It’s one of my best outdoor sculptures. I love these boxes and isn’t it funny that even in these times and although they were removed from the British landscape, I feel they still bind us as a nation.”

Source: https://secretldn.com/telephone-box-installation-kingston/


Feature image: @cocotinede

The Wind phone

When an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011, 30ft (9.14m) waves obliterated coastal communities. The small town of Otsuchi lost everything including 2000 residents. One resident, Itaru Sasaki, was already grieving his cousin before the tsunami hit. He had the idea of nestling an old phone booth on the windy hill at the bottom of his garden which overlooked the Pacific Ocean. This would be a place he could go to speak to his cousin – a place where his words could ‘be carried on the wind.’ The white, glass-paned booth holds an old disconnected rotary phone. He called it his Wind Phone.

In the aftermath of the terrible tsunami, as word of the phone spread, it became a pilgrimage site for those who had lost loved ones. In the sanctuary of the booth they would dial old phone numbers and talk to their loved ones. Interpreter and journalist Miwako Ozawa visited Otsuchi in the weeks after the tsunami. In this programme she returns for the first time since 2011 to visit the phone and find out how it has helped people to cope with their grief.

We meet some of those who regularly visit the phone and we hear their stories and listen in to their phone calls. In many ways the wind phone typifies a very Japanese relationship with nature and death and with the invisible forces that connect us all. As the residents of Otsuchi face the slow progress of rebuilding their town and the frightening reality of future extreme weather, the wind phone is a reminder of those losses that won’t be forgotten.

Presenter: Miwako Ozawa
Producer: Sarah Cuddon

This wonderful story comes from the BBC World Service, for more click here.

Canterbury City Council offering reward to catch graffiti vandals

I don’t think I’ve featured vandalised phone booths before – but that’s what a lot of them are like these days….

A local authority is offering a £500 reward to anyone who can help it convict vandals responsible for a series of tags across a district.

Canterbury City Council is hoping the inducement will aid its crackdown on graffiti, which it says is costing taxpayers thousands of pounds to clear up.

Community committee chairman Neil Baker says such vandalism “is having a damaging effect on our community”.

For the full article click here.

Man who was living in Greenhithe telephone box ‘receiving the help he needs’

An update on a previous story…

A man who has been living in a telephone box in Station Road, Greenhithe, is “receiving the help he needs”. The update, from Kent County Cllr Peter Harman, follows concern for the rough sleeper, thought to be in his early 20s. He has been working to support the man alongside the Revs Carol and Andrew Avery, of St Mary, Greenhithe and St Mary, Stone.

For the full article click here.

Concern for man living in telephone box in Greenhithe

From: Kent Online 11/4/2019

Community members are trying to support a homeless man who has been living in a phone box. The rough sleeper, thought to be in his early 20s, has been staying in the makeshift shelter in Greenhithe after being homeless for about a month. His whereabouts, which were first revealed on a community Facebook page, prompted comments from concerned residents.

Kent County Councillor Peter Harman has been working to resolve the situation, alongside the Revs Carol and Andrew Avery, who run the Mary’s Child project. Cllr Harman, who represents Swanscombe and Greenhithe, has described him as a “very polite young man”, who is not believed to be a risk to residents. He has visited the man three times, in the hope of getting him “back on track”, while allowing the phone box to be used once again.

For the full article go to Kent Online

Somewhere to visit sometime…

Adopt a Kiosk Scheme

The Adopt a Kiosk scheme enables your community to retain its iconic red kiosk. It is open to the following bodies:

  • Recognised local authority (e.g. District/Borough Council)
  • Parish/Community/Town Council or equivalent
  • Registered charity or Community Interest Company
  • Private land owner. (Anyone who has one of our telephone boxes on their land)

The Adopt a Kiosk scheme has been successful in transforming unused payphone kiosks and preserves the heritage of the red kiosk, particularly in rural locations. We allow red kiosks to be adopted, subject to certain criteria such as low use and those not required for our own future plans.

Kiosks are “adopted as seen” and we won’t make improvements to them ahead of adoption. We also won’t be able to move kiosks to another location. We occasionally allow modern kiosks to be adopted in rural areas if required for specific purposes (for example to house a defibrillator) where there are no red ones available. Should your request relate to a kiosk in an urban area, we will normally carry out an individual assessment to see if adoption is possible. Just let the Adopt a Kiosk team have details of the kiosk in question and they will be able to confirm availability.

We can’t allow private individuals (unless they own the land where the kiosk is on) to adopt kiosks but our supplier X2 Connect do sell them to interested parties. For further information please click here.

Pink Floyd at the V&A

The recent Pink Floyd exhibition held at the V&A used the iconic British phone box through-out:

 

Canadian phones still bring in the money

Payphones Still Make Millions of Dollars 

From a report on Motherboard:

Disruption-y tech companies like Uber and Twitter are a big part of “the discourse” and our daily lives, but neither of them make any profit. You know what once-groundbreaking technology doesn’t have any problems making bank year after year? That’s right, it’s payphones. Most people now have a cell phone, so you may have wondered who still uses those rusted, quarter-eating boxes. As it turns out, a lot of people do. According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s 2017 monitoring report, payphones in Canada made $22 million CAD in 2016 (this figure may not account for the cost of upkeep, but the CRTC has stated in the past that payphones are “financially viable at current rates.”) That’s spread out among nearly 60,000 payphones in the country, which made roughly $300 per phone over the course of the year. That’s at least a few calls per day, each. The US numbers are similar: The FCC reports that in 2015 payphones made $286 million, which is comparable for a population ten times the size of Canada’s.

Cross-post from Slash-dot.

Stories on the radio

Click here for Radio 4 stories about phone boxes.

One covers the question ‘what happens to a phone box when it dies’ and the other looks at the memories people have of UK phone boxes.