A Red Phone Box For The Garden

By Posted on 48 Comments 3 min read

The old red telephone box is an icon of Britain from days gone by. They were very popular and I can recall the time when most households in the U.K. never had a phone, let alone a mobile one.

Is There Anybody There?

One of my earliest memories is barely being able to walk and being taken to the local phone box by my Mother to call my Grandparents who lived on the coast in Margate. They must have been well off because they had a phone in their house. As I recall, you couldn’t just lift the receiver and dial-up their number and ‘dring dring’ they would answer. No, you had to call the Operator on 100 and give her the number to connect you. It all sounds a million miles from today’s technology with Zoom, Facebook Messenger and Skype etc.

Button A or Button B

Then you had the two large silver pushbuttons, namely, Button A and Button B. If my memory serves me well, you put your old sixpence piece in the slot and when someone answered your call, you pushed Button A. If they didn’t answer, you pushed Button B and you would get your money back. Then there were the pips. Your hard-earned sixpence would last maybe two minutes if you made a local call or one minute if it was a long-distance call. I bet anyone younger reading this under the age of 40 must be scratching their head!

Button A & B

Numbers Game

It wasn’t all numbers back in those days either. Phones were given acronyms depending on where they were. So if you lived in Margate like my Grandparents, their town came under the district of Thanet. The first three letters would make up part of the phone number, so you would call THA 123456. That’s why the dial had letters as well as numbers. Kids these days don’t know the half of it, said with a big smile on my face.

K6

Back to today and these red phone boxes are disappearing from the British Isles as there’s not much call for them these days. Nearly everyone in the world owns a mobile phone, making the famous K6 phone box redundant. Some towns and villages have kept them and turned them into libraries or for storing defibrillators for emergencies. The majority of phoneboxes though have been sent to a scrapyard in West Yorkshire where the general public can buy them.

Expensive Shed

I would love one for my back garden, it would be great for keeping my tools in, spades, forks, hoes, brushes and all sorts of flower pots. It would look great too for visitors passing through the village. I have made enquiries about purchasing one of these icons, but they are so expensive. Anywhere between Β£1,500 and Β£2,500. It’s a little too expensive for me, so unless I win the lottery or I have one as a birthday present (I can only hope) I’m afraid it’s not going to happen. It will have to be a little wooden shed for my garden tools then.

If you’re interested in buying a fully restored, very expensive, red telephone box, here’s a link

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48 Comments
  • Mrs ESTJ
    June 13, 2020

    My friend has a tardis in his garden. Why not? πŸ˜‚

    • Trev
      June 13, 2020

      Wow, that sounds great. Does your friend ever travel in it? πŸ˜‰

  • Invisibly Me
    June 13, 2020

    I’ve learned something new here, I’ve never heard of them referred to as the K6 phone box. I remember the days of using a phone box, but not with the A & B buttons, and the days of letters with numbers preceded my coming into the world. I miss walking past a phone box, hearing it ring, and wondering whether to answer it just for the hell of it. I reckon that Β£2,000 on one of these could be a good investment though, Trev, they’ll be even more retro by then. In a few years we probably won’t even have phones, there will be chips in our brains that send electronic messages by thought waves.

    • Trev
      June 13, 2020

      Thank you, Caz. Yes, the numbers were what they were given by the designers I think. K6 has the ones with the oblong glass whereas the K2 (I might be wrong) has the little square windows. It was novel when one would start ringing and you’d answer and someone was supposed to be meeting at the phonebox, but they hadn’t shown up. You’re right about them being an investment, perhaps if I win the lottery tonight. πŸ™‚ Thanks again, Caz, hope you’re keeping well as can be and stay safe from the virus.

  • susiesopinions
    June 13, 2020

    I remember it well, and you are correct
    A if they answered, and B to get that hard earned 6 pence back. Memories.

    • Trev
      June 13, 2020

      Thank you Suzie. I thought I was. πŸ™‚

  • Peter's pondering
    June 13, 2020

    4 old pennies for me to make a call. I could spend a fortune on all the gear advertised on that site Trev. They do look very appealing!

    • Trev
      June 13, 2020

      I know, Peter, they look to nice to keep outside.

  • Yetismith
    June 13, 2020

    I remember those phone boxes all too well. I hated those buttons A and B. For some reason I had great difficulty with them. Maybe they are the reason I still have issues with making phone calls. Who knows. But the phone box was a great thing. I once jumped in to one in Wiltshire when the cows were coming by. I was terrified of cows! The other thing they were great for was as protection from a sudden down pour or when you were waiting for someone and it was windy and cold. I always seemed to be waiting at train stations in the cold. Long long time ago. I remember using pennies, not sixpences, so it was long ago…

    • Trev
      June 13, 2020

      Thank you, Yeti. Perhaps they were pennies and not sixpences that we used, it was such a long time ago. They certainly were a useful protection from the rain, but thankfully I have never had to use one to protect myself from a herd of cows. πŸ™‚

  • Herb
    June 13, 2020

    When I first met my wife I used to have to call her from a pay telephone. Ours weren’t red, though.

    • Trev
      June 13, 2020

      Thank you, Herb. Those were the days, long before any mobile phones πŸ™‚

  • Roadtirement
    June 13, 2020

    I hope you can get one sometime! What a marvelous tool shed it would make. Hopping on the reminiscing bandwagon, I so remember hoping I had enough change to pay for a long enough pay phone call to my friends. You kept feeding the phone for as long as you still had those dimes in your hand.

    • Trev
      June 13, 2020

      Thank you, Roadtirement. Yes, a handful of coins at the ready. Those were the days.

  • Crystal Byers
    June 14, 2020

    I know this poem β€œTelephone Conversation,” https://www.k-state.edu/english/westmank/spring_00/SOYINKA.html, but I didn’t know the context of buttons A and B.

    • Trev
      June 14, 2020

      Thank you, Crystal and thanks for the link to the poem. Glad you also learned something new today 😊

  • Deeksha Pathak
    June 14, 2020

    This is a classic post!!
    Phone booths are really antique now.

    • Trev
      June 14, 2020

      Thank you, Deeksha, yes they are antiques now. 😊

  • Carfax
    June 14, 2020

    hello, how are you? i really love this! have a nice day!

    • Trev
      June 14, 2020

      Thank you, Carfax, I am good. Stay safe 😊

  • SueW
    June 14, 2020

    I remember when we used to use old pennies to make those calls, and almost always having to queue!
    A neighbour got a phone before we did and everyone in the street used to go to her house to make important calls, she had a little dish next to the phone where we could leave our coins.

    The box in the centre of our village now holds library books. Another at the other end of the village on the main road to Leeds holds a defibrillator.

    • Trev
      June 14, 2020

      I remember when neighbours started having phones installed. Then there was the shared party line where you could hear others talking if they were using the line. I’m pleased they’re making good use of some of the old phone boxes. Thank you, Sue. 😊

  • Nadia Willemse
    June 14, 2020

    How interesting! Why go to London when you can bring London to you!? Love it

    • Trev
      June 14, 2020

      Thank you, Nadia. I will have to get an old London bus next. 😊

  • Rosaliene Bacchus
    June 14, 2020

    Trev, the next best thing would be buying some red paint and outwardly transforming your wooden tool shed into a red phone box πŸ™‚

    • Trev
      June 14, 2020

      Thank you, Rosaliene, I did think about doing that or even making a phone box from wood. πŸ™‚

  • sheenmeem
    June 14, 2020

    I often used to wonder what happened to them when they were no longer used. A great idea to have them as a garden shed. Only if they lower the price.

    • Trev
      June 14, 2020

      Thank you, Sheen. I suppose if they did lower the price, which would be very nice, then they would sell out quickly. Maybe one day I’ll get lucky. Thank you again πŸ™‚

  • KINDNESS
    June 15, 2020

    πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜„πŸ˜πŸ˜†πŸ˜…πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

  • Lolsy's Library
    June 15, 2020

    I’m from Australia, so never seen one. But I know how very English they are! I have an Aunt, who has a form of one in her house. She uses it as a display piece =D

    • Trev
      June 15, 2020

      Thank you, Lauren. I have a very small display one which is more affordable than the real thing. 😊

  • How striking. πŸ‘€πŸƒ

  • luisa zambrotta
    June 15, 2020

    They looked so nice (… and British)
    I loved them

    • Trev
      June 15, 2020

      Thank you, Luisa, I love them too. 😊

  • bitaboutbritain
    June 16, 2020

    We were lucky enough to have a ‘phone. But I still used the telephone box down the road to call up girlfriends. Nostalgia’s not what it used to be.

    • Trev
      June 16, 2020

      Thank you, Mike. 😊

  • America On Coffee
    June 16, 2020

    β€οΈπŸ‘

  • Seeker
    June 16, 2020

    Days of the PP call…

    • Trev
      June 16, 2020

      Thank you, Seeker. 😊

  • mesabele
    June 18, 2020

    Super cool! πŸ‘Œ
    I went back in time 😯.

    • Trev
      June 18, 2020

      Thank you very much πŸ™‚

  • miniworldto
    June 22, 2020

    Thats some real imagination and wtiting, hope we stay connected on my new site too❀😊

    https://lessonoflife.online/

    • Trev
      June 22, 2020

      Thank you πŸ™

    • Trev
      June 25, 2020

      Thank you again. πŸ™‚

  • gulfcoastpoet@gmail.com
    June 27, 2020

    Thanks for the history/geography lesson. I thouroughly enjoyed it.

    • Trev
      June 27, 2020

      Thank you for your kind words. 😊

  • KENDI KARIMI
    June 30, 2020

    Hope to come across one while in the UK. Love this post.

    • Trev
      June 30, 2020

      Thank you, Kendi and I’m certain you will see a few all over the UK. πŸ™‚

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