Pressing the right buttons
Some of my more established readers may remember that in February 2018 I posted a blog which was called “Before we says goodbye.” It featured a number of photographs of telephone boxes in different parts of the country and the uses to which they are now being put. I discovered a whole line of them in Preston (Lancs) just outside the Harris Museum. Then here in Norfolk I found that local communities are using the empty boxes as defibrillators and lending libraries.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t object to mobile phones, I have one myself… somewhere, occasionally it rings and sometimes by a feat of manipulation I manage to answer it; but I am sad to see the passing of the telephone boxes. They heralded the beginning of the mass communication culture that we now all take for granted. So from time to time I shall flag up the achievements of this wonder of technology of yesteryear.
Last week I visited the National Collection of Telephone Boxes at the Avoncroft Museum at Bromsgrove in Worcestershire and was greeted by one of their volunteers Nick Phillips who could not only tell me and demonstrate the phone boxes, but who had also worked for BT. (Possibly even Post Office Telephones) Yes there was a little green van there.
He showed me round all the different phone boxes with great pride and allowed me to play with a telephone exchange. (So I’m a Geek at heart – people love it when I’m strange).
There were phone boxes at Avoncroft from all periods of time – dear reader you are allowed to admit that you remember seeing them with buttons A and B.
There were AA and RAC boxes, factory telephone boxes and even some where the phone had no dial feature and one had to wait for the local operator to acknowledge that one was waiting with the receiver in hand. It was a bit tough if the telephonist had popped off to the loo or was having her lunch, but I suspect most of life was a bit slower in those days.
My thanks to all those who made my visit to Avoncroft possible and for the friendly welcome I received. Once I have visited a few more adapted phone boxes still out there somewhere, I shall post a page on my website dedicated to them. In the meantime please let me know if, in your community you have a phone box which has been adapted for yet another community amenity.
Have a good weekend