A much-loved but almost obsolete feature is set to vanish from thousands of British streets when BT presses button B to cancel calls in 20, phone boxes - a reference that would have to be explained to an entire digital generation which has never made a call from a public phone.
Adopt a phone box
The phone boxes were once lifelines to the wider world at a time when many homes had no landline and the very idea of a mobile phone came from the wilder shores of science fiction. Today many are the sad and smelly last resting places of pigeons and half-eaten chicken takeaways, or worse.
Some 33, calls a day are still made from phone boxes, but about a third are only used once a month, and many are never used at all. Of those in more regular use, few earn enough money to cover maintenance costs. One of the most common uses is transforming phone boxes into tiny cultural centres. They make perfect homes for community libraries or a place to exhibit local art and like this one in Crafthole, it provides a one-stop-shop for all the best things to see and do in the area.
When BT started converting some phone boxes into ATMs a few years ago, others followed suit - installing additional cash machines around the country.
Public telephones | VisitBritain
Just because smartphones made phone boxes broadly obsolete, it doesn't mean they can't be reinvented to serve the digital age. Here are some ideas for starters: By Bonnie Christian.
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BT Public Phone Box Removal
The Brighton Festival turns the whole city into a pop-up theatre. By Bonnie Christian Theatre 26 May Room-scale VR turns a cramped box into an infinite play area. It was set to a minimum and maximum acceptable weight for the coins as a safety margin, but as the fee was gradually increased to 3d and then 4d the safety margin became smaller and eventually unacceptable.
A mechanical counter was considered too expensive as the modifications needed would have been too many and too complex. To overcome this problem a new mechanism was devised by Hall Telephone Accessories Ltd and was in effect a combination of the two basic methods: The system required the smallest amount of additional equipment and could be easily fitted.
Install your own payphone or have one installed for you
A limitation was that it could not be easily adapted for an increase beyond 4d. In the first versions of the new Pay-on-Answer payphones were being introduced and at the end of the s began to supersede the 'Button A and B' models.
This was made necessary following the introduction of Subscriber Trunk Dialling STD in major towns which allowed no reasonable modification to enable the 'A and B' box to be used to pay for automatically connected trunk calls. However, some 'A and Bs' remained in active use in Scotland until The primary reason for their retention lay in their remote locations. Because the boxes functioned on a single-channel radio link there was no reasonable solution for many years that would allow the use of Subscriber Private Metering the principle on which the latest pre-payment payphones operated.