Tag Archives: urban

Hampsted hampers

In Hampsted, London, these beauties have been repurposed into food stalls.

Thanks to Donna for the photos.

Some real places

Here are some non-fictional places:

A friend sent me this image of ‘Gods Own Junkyard’ in Walthamstow, London. I’ve discovered ancestors who lived there in the late 1700s-mid 1800s. When things open again I’ll go visit.

Suburban garden in Leyland
A newly built office in central London, near St Pauls. A socially distanced space in which to make a phone call.

Your Honor

We just started watching ‘Your Honor‘ and this shot appears in the first 10 minutes or so. I love the way it’s constructed, with balance and form and colour.

Adopt a Box

Not a new idea but nice to hear about how communities are keeping an icon relevant…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/shortcuts/2021/mar/15/yours-for-one-pound-what-would-you-do-with-a-traditional-red-phone-box

BT is putting 4,000 phone boxes up for adoption. Many have already been turned into libraries, defibrillator stations, even tiny art galleries.

Name: Red telephone boxes.

Age: Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s original K2 design dates from 1924, but his smaller K6, from 1936, is the the more widespread.

Appearance: Iconic.

Purpose: Depends.

You mean it depends on the nature of the telephone call you wish to place? Of course not – nobody uses phone boxes to make calls any more.

Why not? Because everybody has a mobile now. Only about 7,000 traditional red phone boxes across the UK even work, but more than half lose money and calls continue to decline by 20% a year.

What other purpose can an obsolete phone box serve? A lot of them get turned into libraries.

Aren’t they a bit small for that? They’re very small libraries – basically community hubs where books can be donated and exchanged.

I suppose it’s better than no library at all. Precisely. When mobile library funding was cut for Westbury-sub-Mendip, Somerset, the parish council bought the local phone box and slung up some shelves.

Bought it from where? From BT. Since 2008, its Adopt a Kiosk scheme has allowed communities to purchase its redundant phone boxes for £1.

Is the scheme popular? Yes. So far 6,600 phone boxes have been adopted, and BT just announced another 4,000 are to be made available.

That’s a lot of tiny libraries. They’re not all full of books. Some of the kiosks were turned into information centres or mini-museums. In Cheltenham, nine disused boxes have been transformed into single-occupancy art galleries.

What a lovely idea. If there’s a downside to cutting vital community services to the point where they can fit inside phone boxes, I can’t see it. Well, some of the library boxes have had to be temporarily shut because of Covid.

I suppose there may be a risk there. And someone has been leaving erotic fiction in the phone box in Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire.

Northfleet, Kent

London phone boxes

Click for a photographic essay on the internals of decaying phone boxes in London.

Art connections

Banksy

Music box

I was listening to Radio 6 this morning and came half way into an interview with Pete Paphides. They were talking about his new book “Broken Greek”. What caught my ear was him talking about how, when he was young (I gather the ’70s as ABBA was mentioned) he would get money from his Mum to go to the phone box outside the fish and chip shop and listen to music. There was a 3 digit number you could ring that would play a different pop song every day. How fabulous.

Screenshots: Rewatching a favourite

With a new Wes Anderson movie coming out*, The French Dispatch, I thought I’d re-watch a favourite, The Royal Tenenbaums. There are quite of few scenes with telephones:

* Written Feb 2020, before Covid 19 ravaged the globe. And I thought I was about to see ‘The French Dispatch’. It still hasn’t come out (Oct 2020) although I did see a short for it at the cinema a week or so ago. It looks fabulous and I want to see it now!

UK locations

Leeds
Holborn, London – being used as a menu board for a food stall
Margate