Tag: england

The Revival of Britain’s Iconic Red Phonebooth

Time and technology has marched on and both have not been kind to many things that were once iconic in Britain. The Monarchy and Royal Family, their once powerful Empire, and sadly, the Red Phonebooth.  Besides nostalgia, why would London need the red Phonebooths when everyone has their own personal phone in their pocket?  Maybe because they just look cool and have such an unique look (ahem…as it has been adopted as an icon of this very site).  And, apparently, the iconic red British Phonebooth is making somewhat of a comback:

Battered first by the march of technology and lately by the elements in junkyards, the iconic phone boxes are now staging something of a comeback. Repurposed in imaginative ways, many have reappeared on city streets and village greens housing tiny cafes, cellphone repair shops or even defibrillator machines.

The original cast-iron boxes with the domed roofs, called Kiosk No. 2 or K2, first appeared in 1926. They were designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, the architect of the Battersea Power Station in London and Liverpool Cathedral. After becoming a staple on many British streets, the booths began disappearing in the 1980s, with the privatization of British Telecom and the rise of the mobile phone consigning most of them to the scrap heap.

About that time, Tony Inglis’s engineering and transport company got the job to remove phone boxes from the streets and auction them off. But he ended up buying hundreds of them himself, with the idea of renovating and selling them.

Today, Mr. Inglis’s operations has taken many of the old, rusted Red Phonebooths and have carefully restored them so that they can be repurposed into various functions such as housing defibrillators in rural hamlets, housing Mobile Phone repair shops, or using the Phonebooths in art installations (to name a few). As a big fan of the iconic Red Phonebooth, I am so happy to see that they are being cared for and brought back to life in various ways!

Photo Credit:  NY Times

 

It’s Been A While

After a whopping 51 years in England’s lower football (soccer) division, Cardiff City has finally been promoted to England’s Premier League. Cardiff was a team that had deep financial issues not too long ago.

It is a remarkable accomplishment because the club was nearly bankrupt more than a year ago. In three of the last four seasons, Cardiff got tantalizingly close to promotion from the League Championship, only to fall short in the promotion playoffs. Those failures were called “doing the Cardiff. With Tuesday’s result, a point from a scoreless draw with Charlton Athletic, the club can bury the phrase and look forward to resuming the fierce Welsh derby with Swansea, which was promoted two years ago.

They are kind of like the Red Sox of the EPL.

via NYTimes.

King Richard

Talk about an unceremonious way to be found.

The remains of England’s King Richard III were discovered under a parking lot in Leicester, England. The bones were actually discovered in September of last year, however the team from the University of Leicester had to do some DNA analysis including comparing the skeleton’s DNA with descendants from King Richard III himself.

Before the DNA findings came in, Mr. Taylor and other team members said, the university team had assembled a mounting catalog of evidence that pointed conclusively at the remains being those of the king. These included confirmation that the body was that of a man in his late 20s or early 30s, and that his high-protein diet had been rich in meat and fish, characteristic of a privileged life in the 15th century.

Still more indicative, they said radiocarbon dating of two rib bones had indicated that they were those of somebody who died between the years 1455 and 1540. Richard III died in the Battle of Bosworth Field, 20 miles from Leicester, in August 1485.

Equally conclusive was the evidence available at the time the bones were unearthed, that they were found exactly where a 16th-century Tudor historian, John Rouse, had identified as the burial place, in a corner of the chapel in the Greyfriars priory, and with a distinctive spinal curvature that pointed to the remains being that of a sufferer from scoliosis, a disease that causes the hunchback appearance that has come down through history as Richard III’s most pronounced physical feature.

Of course, Richard III was the subject of a Shakespeare play of the same name. While the play did not paint Richard III in anything close to a favorable light, it did grace us with the memorable line: “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse.”

NYTimes

Car Chargers Hitting England

Example of a charging station that will be installed in England

Over the next few months, electric car chargers will be installed in service areas owned by the Welcome Break chain and located along British motorways

Within 18 months all 27 service areas in the country that are owned by the Welcome Break chain will boast a spot for electric vehicle owners to top up or fully recharge using either the fast charge (32A supply), or the slower supply (13A) for an overnight charge if staying at the nearby hotel. Dale Vince, CEO of Ecotricity, argued that this is a major step toward more widespread acceptance:

Via TreeHugger

Routemaster Retired

Its a sad day in London today. Yes, the Queen is still kickin’, Chuck and Camilla are still an item, Harry is still partying away. But alas, the sadness is for the decommissioning of the old London “Routemaster” double decker bus. London is phasing out these classic busses in favor of more boxy double decker types that can accommodate handicapped riders, and single deck busses like you see in almost any other city.

The image of the Routemaster is an indelible icon of London, as is the image of passengers hanging out of the rear entrance to jump off while the bus is coming to a stop, or running to catch the bus and jump on. And there is also the conductor, another icon that is just as important to the Routemaster. The new busses won’t have the conductors as the driver is the one who collects the fares. No matter how you cut it, its a sad day and the passing of an era in good old London towne. London is one of my most favorite cities and I am definitely sad to see this style of bus go away! I wish I was there to take one last trip to Notting Hill Gate or Knightsbridge.

The good news is that if you are really a fan of these busses, I guess you could buy one or even live in one.