Thursday, 8 November 2018

Take Three Thursday: Keeping in Touch

I am taking you back to Cranmore today to the East Somerset Railway. I spotted something on the platform which I thought would be just right to join Mary Lou with her Take Three Thursday.

The busy scene above looks like it could be something out of a film set. Have you spotted the telephone box on the left? There is something rather special about it. It was made in 1926 and incorporates not only a telephone box but also a stamp machine and a post box. There were only 50 of these combined boxes made and this particular one was once on a street in Bristol. When bought from the GPO it cost the heady sum of £10!

1. The post side of the box.

2. The stamp machine and letter box. Note the initials GR which signify that the box is from the time of King George V. The post box is still in use. 

3. Inside the box there is an early type of pay phone with A and B buttons. The coins would be preloaded before the call. The minimum charge was 2d (2 old pennies). When the call was answered button A was pressed to allow the money to drop in. Should there be no answer then button B was depressed to get your coins back. I recall these phones but was too young to use one. I do remember being very worried that if I had to use one I wouldn't be able to sort out the buttons!

Pay phones were a big part of our growing up. Ringing home just once a week, queuing to use the phone as a student with your 10p at the ready. Getting your parents to ring you back to save money. Those were the days!
Can you remember when you last used a pay phone?


  1. I used one of the A B phones once as a child and being so anxious that I pressed the wrong button. This was after weeks of training by mum to show us what to do! Luckily they were all upgraded to the next version fairly soon after which were so much easier to use.

  2. Very interesting. I have never seen one of these, with postal facilities included. I remember dad telling me that when he was a boy you never went past a phone box without pressing Button B. Now and then someone would have forgotten to take their change back, and that was his reward!

    1. Your dad would get on well with my girls. Whenever we went swimming they used to check the empty lockers for left pound coins. Bang bang bang went the locker doors as they went up and down. It was usually a fruitful venture.

  3. Thanks for joining in today Maggie. That is an interesting combo box - almost Tardis quality of the insides. (col)

  4. Your pay phone made me smile - there is one building I manage that still has a pay phone! We've just agreed it will go at the end of the year when the building is refurbished. I can't imagine it's made much money in a long time.

    I remember using the pay phone at school to ring home, or agreeing that you'd ring at a certain time, let it ring three times and then wait by the phone to be rung back.

  5. We, too, had pay phones (what else was there when you were out and about?), but I never saw a desk phone inside one of the boxes. This was a clever system; surprised there weren't more of them.