Red Door and Phone Booths

I found this lovely red door on Broad Court between Drury Lane (about Drury Lane at Wikipedia) and Bow Street WC2B, part of the City of Westminster in London on December 26, 2015.

Broad Court and Bow Street, London 12/26/2015
Broad Court and Bow Street, London 12/26/2015

City of Westminster History

The origins of the City of Westminster (source: Wikipedia) pre-date the Norman Conquest of England. In the mid-11th Century king Edward the Confessor began the construction of an abbey at Westminster, the foundations which survive today. He built a palace, Between the abbey and the river so Westminster became the seat of Government drawing its power and wealth out of the old City of London.

By the 16th century urban development absorbed nearby villages such as Marylebone and Kensington, and gradually creating the vast Greater London that exists today. Westminster briefly became a city (in the sense of the seat of a bishop) in 1540 when Henry VIII created the short-lived Diocese of Westminster.

Following the dissolution of Westminster Abbey, a court of burgesses governed the Westminster area starting in 1585, previously under the Abbey’s control. The court of burgesses and liberty continued until 1900 and the creation of the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster.

The current City of Westminster boundaries date from 1965, created from the former boroughs of St Marylebone, Paddington, and the smaller Metropolitan Borough of Westminster (which included Soho, Mayfair, St. James’s, Strand, Westminster, Pimlico, Belgravia, and Hyde Park).

Red Phone Booths

Broad Court is a pedestrian walkway and has some lovely old red phone boxes (more at Wikipedia) there, the kind I used as a little girl.

Red Phone Booths, Broad Court, London 12/26/2015
Red Phone Booths, Broad Court, London 12/26/2015

For local calls, only pennies were needed. They were of course ‘old’ large pennies (12 to a shilling). Larger denomination coins were needed for non-local calls which were known as ‘trunk calls’. Once the handset was lifted, the coins were fed into a holding slot at the top of the box. Then the caller dialed the number that they wanted. If someone answered, the caller had to press Button A in order to be heard. If no-one answered, the caller pressed Button B and the coins were returned through a shoot underneath. Alternatively, with the agreement of the person receiving the call, charges could be reversed by going through the operator.

I rarely passed a phone booth without pushing button B on the off-chance that the last caller had forgotten to collect left-over coins or that there was a malfunction. It often paid off and a few pence bought a lot of sweets. I liked licorice sherbet fountains, an awful concoction of fizzy powder in a cardboard roll with a licorice straw that one could choke on while sucking on the straw.

Created for Norm’s Thursday Doors March 10, 2016

17 thoughts on “Red Door and Phone Booths

  1. Syma K. 2016-03-16 / 10:42 am

    Red is such a ‘full of life’ color! Love the door and the photo booths!


  2. Jean Reinhardt 2016-03-11 / 7:33 pm

    Lovely photos and interesting history, too. We also used to check the phones for money when we were kids and buy hard boiled sweets like, Bull’s Eyes, Sour Apples and Lemon Sherbets, all of which are still available today. Thanks for the nostalgia.


  3. Dan Antion 2016-03-10 / 8:18 pm

    I like the corner door a lot and the phone booths. I also really enjoy the history – thanks for adding that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sustainabilitea 2016-03-10 / 5:30 pm

    I like them both, Sherry. My dad always looks for coins when he sees a phone booth, which isn’t much any more.



    • Sherry Lynn Felix 2016-03-10 / 5:32 pm

      Thank you. My husband said that in NYC kids stuck paper up the return coin slot and would come back later to retrieve the change. Fun how one thing leads to another with memories.


  5. circadianreflections 2016-03-10 / 1:13 pm

    The door is beautiful, but I love the phone boxes! They’re getting harder to find. I have a pretty awful image of me in one, and another of my son in one. Someday I hope to get back there, and get a decent image of one made. 🙂

    I used to get a similar sort of candy straw when I was girl. I liked the strawberry flavored sugar, and often I did choke by getting to much and breathing in at the wrong time, which then of course I’d start coughing and spit out half my treat. 🙂 Thanks for opening the memory box!


    • Sherry Lynn Felix 2016-03-10 / 5:02 pm

      The phoneboxes led me to remember the things I used to buy with the found money. Makes me laugh remembering. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Barbara Bryan 2016-03-10 / 8:58 am

    I love the red too. But I’m also enjoying your fun “quirky” childhood memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Norm 2.0 2016-03-10 / 8:51 am

    I love the way that red door is built into the corner of the building and the colour really pops against the rest of the building – nice one 🙂


    • Sherry Lynn Felix 2016-03-10 / 8:53 am

      Thank you Norm. I am enjoying remembering my childhood with these London doors. I have a few more to go.

      Liked by 2 people

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