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The Phone Box

The Phone Box
An iconic red telephone box, Brighton, East Sussex © Cognitive Applications/Maria Gibbs

It's the red one we're talking about, of course, not one of those soulless silver things with a bit of a hood and no door. The red phone box with its crown insignia, domed roof and the helpful name TELEPHONE across all four sides will never be surpassed as a design icon. So much do we love it that, even though the mobile phone in our pocket has caused us to shun the phone box in our millions, a campaign to persuade BT to restore some of the old boxes has found favour.

Overseas visitors have always associated the red phone box with our national culture. Designed by architect Giles Gilbert Scott in the 1920s, and going through successive modifications until it achieved perfection in 1936, it remains a visible symbol of an England otherwise fast disappearing.