All across the British Commonwealth, the bright red telephone box was once an iconic symbol. Long before the advent of the mobile phone, one could find these public telephone boxes dotted across the UK, on the roads of Bermuda and Malta, and on street corners of Gibraltar.
The streamlined, brightly colored boxes were originally designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. They were convenient, easy to spot, and much loved by the people. By the 1980’s over 73,000 were in use.
However, by the middle of the same decade, the telephone box had been deemed obsolete and more trouble than it was worth. New, light weight, easier to install and cheaper to manufacture phone kiosks were introduced.
This meant that the tens of thousands red telephone boxes were ripped up and disposed off.
But the boxes didn’t give up easily. They still had many admirers who couldn’t bear to see the brightly colored booths go to waste; some were turned into shower stalls, mini libraries, on street coffee kiosks and a whole lot more.
Of course, not all of the boxes had a second lease of life in this manner. Many were carted out en masse to rural storage areas, where they have been left to rot and ruin.
One such “graveyard” can be found in the small village of Carlton Miniott in the north of England. There, decommissioned phone boxes lay in various stages of decay, in many ways a small symbol of an Empire that exists no more.