Posts Tagged ‘telephone’

An early Telephone Kiosk

October 18, 2013

The iconic British red telephone box was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and it came into use in the year 1935.


This is the nearest one to my house and the photo dates from December 2003.

This style of kiosk was designated as the K6 which does indicate that there had been five previous designs tried out before the K6 became the standard.

Bembridge, on the Isle of Wight has a rare K1 survivor.

The K1 was the first kiosk and dates from the early 1920s. The first of Scott’s designs, the K2 came out in 1927. It’s a big box and was too costly for rural areas so the concrete K1 was redesigned a bit and continued to be installed. Some 6300 K1s were set up before the K6 became the standard. According to a very thorough web site at just five of them remain. Four of them are in Hull and this one is the Bembridge one.


It is a listed building and the listing citation reads:

Telephone kiosk. 1921 K1 design. 3 sides are of concrete with 2 sides having metal windows and 4th side has wooden door. Concrete frame has moulded cornice and tented canopy surmounted by metal finial and 4 metal plaques with the word ‘Telephone’. Plinth. Two 8- paned metal framed sashes with perspex panes. Wooden 8-paned door with leather hinges. Telephone apparatus is modern. Only others surviving are in Hull.

How wonderful is that? It was a chance find for us on a recent holiday. We did not know it existed.


The Cash Railway

May 24, 2013

‘Oh no’, you say. ‘Another post about a railway?’

And I say, ‘why not?’ After all I do bill myself as a nerd.

But actually, this is different and this will bring back memories for all sorts of people. For this was something that you found in use in shops.

As a child, I loved it if my mum took me to the Co-op household department. They had a cash railway – one of those overhead money carrying systems that had a central cashier, often in a sort of cage and a system of cables which could carry small containers to the various different counters.

The counter staff sold something, put the money and the bill in the container, pulled the lever and the little container whizzed overhead to the cashier. They stamped the bill and made sure the right change was in the container, pulled their lever and off it went back to the counter.

Times change and the old Co-op closed and the cash railway went.

But when I moved to Devizes, the department store, Sloper’s, had a cash railway. Oh what a treat, now as a sensible (ha, ha) adult, to watch those capsules race through the air to the cashier. But times changed again. Sloper’s was not profitable enough and closed. The cash railway was a thing of the past once more. But I did take some photos and here is the network of wires at the cashier desk. There are four lines, all aiming in different directions.


I’m told that once upon a time, Sloper’s also used a pneumatic tube to get bills and cash to a separate nearby property.

Sloper’s was a treasure trove of antique items. And this was 1976.


Look at that telephone on the desk. Magic.

I bought the typewriter.


No shift key here – just a completely separate set of keys for capital letters.

I no longer have the typewriter. I gave it to the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes because, obviously, it has real Wiltshire and Devizes history. And in the museum it joins Sloper’s cash railway. The museum has set up a part of it and so once again it can be seen in action.