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Phone Boxes

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In another thread someone asked why an old phone box would be painted black and white. I happen to know at least one answer to this:


The answer is it is not a BT phone box. Years ago, when BT replaced most of the old red cast-iron boxes with the newer plate-glass-and-brushed-aluminium ones, they didn't always dispose of the old red ones, but sold them off to collectors and other interested parties.


Wind on a few years. Then we have the situation where we have several phone companies (like Mercury, NTL, Telewest, Worldtalk etc) who are starting to get big enough to want to set up their own phone boxes as well as service domestic and business customers. In some places like new shopping centres they want to put up spanking new futuristic things in keeping with the modern surroundings. But what about in histric places like London and Manchester, where the environmental slant is on "looking the part"?


So off they toddle to their scrap yards. They dust off the old boxes and stick them up. But BT get the lawyers to dig up some small print which says that only BT boxes are allowed to be red. Yes folks, it is a legal requirement that non-BT phoneboxes can be any colour you like except red. BT of course are allowed to paint their boxes any colour they like, including red.


So if you see an old PO Telephone box that is painted another colour (and black and white are a common choice) then you will find a phone in it that is not BT.

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The place I spotted the Black and white phonebox was in the middle of knowhere, I never marked the exact spot but I can tell you the day I saw it had driven 250 miles mainly on remote single track roads in a big loop around the Northern Highlands of Scotland I reckon the phone box was at least 20 miles from the nearest town or village, I would be very surprised if it was owned by anyone other tthan BT. In fact I reckon the phone would hardly ever get used these days unless of course it is in a mobile reception blackspot!

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