For sale: UK's iconic red phone boxes

2012-04-27 20:00

London - They are as emblematic of Britain as Big Ben or the black cab, and now a red telephone box can be yours for as little as £1 950.

British Telecom is selling off 60 of the famous telephone cabins as demand for public payphones dwindles because of rising mobile phone use.

"BT are selling original cast iron K6 red phone boxes refurbished to a high standard and finished in their original red and black livery," the company said in a statement on Thursday. "Prices start at £1 950."

Designed in 1936 to commemorate King George V's silver jubilee, the K6 was Britain's sixth standard telephone box but the first to be installed nationwide.

BT has not sold phone boxes directly to the public since the mid-1980s, when thousands of old K6s were auctioned off as part of an extensive payphone modernisation programme.

Katherine Ainley, general manager for BT Payphones, suggested buying one as "a gift for the person you know who has everything".

"Now you can buy a 20th century design icon that's famous around the world for your home or garden," she said.

BT has added wi-fi and cash machine services at phone boxes in a bid to stop them becoming an anachronism, but the telecoms giant says payphone calls have declined by more than 80% in the last five years.

While about 51 500 payphones are still used in Britain, including 11 000 red boxes, around 60% of them lose money, it added.

Under its Adopt a Kiosk scheme, decommissioned phone boxes across Britain have been fitted with life-saving defibrillators, transformed into tiny public libraries and, in one case, hosted a one-night-only pub.

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