Public telephones

Bit of a dark picture but this is a bank of telephones. Rather, it was a bank of telephones, back in the days when hotels still had banks of telephones. Now, it is a bank of empty wooden boxes. They remain wired up for something, but the telephones themselves have all been removed. It will only be a matter of time before the wooden shells are removed, too. We no longer have such need for public telephones.


According to OFCOM, the percentage of the UK population who own a mobile phone stands at around 93%. There are around 83 million mobile subscriptions. As the population of the UK hovers around the 64 million mark, that’s around 12 phones for every ten of us.

According to TIME magazine, Martin Cooper, the inventor of the first mobile phone, was inspired by the hand-held communication devices used in the Star Trek television series. Perhaps we just need to wait for the Star Trek transporter to become fully functional and then we won’t need hotels, either. We can have a nice day at the beach and beam ourselves back to the comfort of our own beds in the evening.

Unlikely? So were mobile phones when the craftsmen lovingly created these gleaming, polished — and now empty — banks for their public telephones in hotels across the land.

Hotel sign pointing the way to the swimming pool, public telephones and York Room

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