British phone booth updated with Skype

DSC04311.jpgProf. Michael Shaughnessy (previously) has equipped an old British phone booth with Skype, so that his international students may use it to call friends throughout the world. The iPad 2 used can also do videochat, too: "I had a blast converting it. It serves a good function as our students use our international unlimited account a lot to call home, and now they have a bit more privacy. I was just lucky to find this local guy with a 'Red Box' booth, which is about 40-50 years old. ... A perfect addition to our language lab, I think."

Gallery [Picasa]


  1. As a german, I’ve been marvelling at your beautiful british phone booths since I first saw them. What a shame they are gone :(

  2. There are still a lot of them around, particularly in conservation areas where the more modern stainless steel ones would look out of place.

    I wonder if in sixty year’s time we’ll be slapping preservation orders on the stainless ones?

    1. Phone boots… hmm… I think I remember those.

      I don’t think you need 60 years… try 10 and see if you still will find one around. I think all phone booths have been removed in my country (Finland), or at least I haven’t seen any around for years.

  3. @TabulaRasa there are plenty still around – and those remaining are now “listed”, i.e. they’re protected from being messed around with.

  4. This doesn’t look like a British phone box to me. It looks like a fairly cheap wooden replica.

      1. Yep, the font on the frosted glass sign is wrong too. Handle’s completely wrong, and the door clearly has a domestic door closure. Back panel is utterly wrong. The base should be concrete, the rest should be cast iron, and it should smell of urine to be genuine.

        It’s a pretty cheap MDF/particle board prop. Boo!

        1. @irregular shed
          Yeah, I also seriously doubt that the booth was ever in the UK, as I got it from a local Pittsburgh guy who had it for twenty plus years. However, it is not made of particle board and it definitely not a cheap prop due to its overall weight (about 300lbs).
          I also had to swap out the door handles as they were gone so if you know a source for better door handles let me know. I’ll pass on the authentic smell.


  5. @TabulaRasa

    As a german, I’ve been marvelling at your beautiful british phone booths since I first saw them. What a shame they are gone :(

    They were lovely as long as you weren’t in a wheelchair, or pushing a buggy, or otherwise incapacitated (the doors are v. stiff and there’s a big lip at the bottom).

    Plus they used to stink of p*ss most of the time.

    I can understand the nostalgia, but truth is they weren’t that great as a piece of design and are totally unsuited to modern life.

  6. British Telecom (BT) have a scheme whereby, if they’re planning to disconnect/remove an old red phone box, they first remove the phone and put up a notice inside.

    They give the local community the chance to purchase it for the princely sum of £1, at which point ownership goes to the local community and BT are excused of any responsibilities to do with it.

    Pretty cool (though annoying if you were looking for a public payphone, and found an empty museum piece instead).

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