Seems like so much time has gone past since I had hand coded the html for the very first payphone site back in 2001. Unfortunately all is lost from the old site! It had been hosted at Yahoo!s' Geocities, like we all know now, that service has been discontinued, erasing the whole site before I could've backed it up.
Anyways, I was aged 18 and had just returned from a 3 Year stay in Europe. My interest in payphones didn't develop at that point however, but much earlier. It was something that I had held far back to when I was a small child growing up in South London at a time when mobiles were not as wide spread as they are now, and when they were really only used by businessmen and people with silly money. Everyone relied on payphones to keep track of one another and a phone box could be found at almost every corner of Britain's high-street. Every shop that would value customer service, made sure they had a payphone for their customers to use. It was a time when people were able to dial a good few telephone numbers just from memory alone. Instead of speed dialling everyone. This is where my attachment was nurtured as, I myself needed to make contact with friends and more importantly my mother.
Living in urban London there weren't much space to play and hangout, so me and my friends would venture far and wide sometimes crossing North of the Thames, and my mother would always want me to call home assuring her of my whereabouts. Also we weren't as privileged as many of my friends that resulted in us not having a telephone at home. But to our luck we did have a phone box just outside our house that we would rely on for our outgoing and incoming calls. Yes, that was like our very own home phone, when it would ring we could hear it in our front room and it being only a few steps to the box. This is where my familiarity with the humble phone box was nurtured.
The situation changed and more money would come our way and we moved up in the world and as a result, got our own home phone line. All was not lost for me and my payphones, our new place was within line of sight of a phone box! I did however miss the link we had had with our old phone box. I desired to interact with these boxes and would on many a occasions call this local box from our very own home phone line, even if there weren't a chance of an answer I just liked the sound of the ringing. I guess it was assuring that I could establish a connection of some sort with this box at any time I pleased. Of course I had a great time pranking passers-by, this was the most fun and would provide hours of it for me. My pranking was even mentioned in the local paper and the box was well known around the area as the box you would answer to made a fool of. But the fun with that box wasn't to last much longer as we would be moving at an often rate from place to place.
Some of the places we would move to, had a phone box outside and some didn't. This brings me back (or forwards) to 2001 when I created my first payphone site. It was the Year that I moved out and into a place of my own, returning to the UK and my beloved Metropolis - London. It was a squat in South/West London (48 Gainsburough Road, Kew Gardens), there was quite a lot of controversy surrounding this place long before I moved in (here is an article about it). I could have found a better place to live but of course this had a phone box just out side (as well as it being £5 per week rent). I could see my new phone box perfectly from the window. This time I had obtained my first mobile making it easy for me to call this box. I would turn my lights off to prank the local kids that would hang around this box and would often vandalise it as well. I never got any sense out of them and they would try out their best/worst swear words on me. On the odd occasion I would get a conversation out of one or the other but it would end with them swearing and hanging up. It provided me with mild entertainment but kept me hooked as a little something to pass the nights when I couldn't sleep. That very payphone has been removed now. The house I stayed in, has been pulled down and there stands a new development. I stayed in this squat for about one Year and moved many times again there after, living in every direction of my beloved city.
I am now settled in a place of my own very close to Kings Cross. When I moved in there were two payphones within sight of my balcony, that reduced to one and then earlier today they removed the last. Very sad time at the moment, but on the up side this area has plenty of boxes, enough to satisfy my interest, I do get to see 54 payphones on my way to work everyday. So I guess you'll be seeing quite a few payphones from my Kings Cross area on this site from now.
I thank you for taking the time to visit this site. I know it can seem funny or stupid to some. It is simply a part of everyone's daily life, you pass them, you ignore them and from time to time you might use them. I've simply taken an interest in them, these humble things. I hope you enjoy the site and perhaps send me in a picture and number of a box to feature on this site.