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.
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.
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