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Tuesday 13 July 2010

Caledonian Road Phone Boxes

Caledonian Road is my new home and I am now bringing my interest in payphones to this fascinating area. Today I've walked the whole length of Caledonian Road. Started at it's Southern point beginning in Kings Cross and heading North to it's end, where it meets Holloway Road. The walk is not too enduring but is lengthy none the less, heading continuously up a slight hill. Below you'll find a google map, where I've listed each and every payphone on the way. As you look further on down the page you'll see each payphones' (working) telephone number and the location. I would be very grateful if anyone would like to comment on the article (you can leave feedback at the foot of this post). Like I said I am new to the area so would be grateful if anyone could provide some interesting information regarding the local points of interest surounding the listed payphones. I will update the article with your information.

Before you read on, you might care to listen to this superb sound map made by the Guardian paper. It'll go a long way in giving non-locals a feel for this place.

View Islington Payphones in a larger map

I would like to add a good piece of information. As I took the pictures of these payphones I found that a great many (all) where actually being used. You can see it in some of the shots. For the payphones where I encountered people using them, I had most cases waited till the users vacated the box as I don't normally like posting pictures where the users can be identified.

+442077137633, +442078331627, +442077137630, At Junction of Caledonina Road and Balfe Street, Islington, London, N1 9BU
Starting the trip off, the first being this now unusual row of three payphones. They are positioned directly outside the Tesco Metro exit. The payphones see light usage as two where in use when I took this shot. These are the most notorious phone boxes of the street with regards to the prostitute cards that you find in most phone boxes. The cards tend to be slightly more pornographic than the vast amounts you find further into central London. This area did have quite a name for that kind of stuff so would expect the prostitutes to be well rehearsed as to what the local clientèle desires.

+442078339703, Near Junction of Caledonian Road and All Saints Street, Islington, London, N1 9RL
This phone box had been the victim of a ferocious bill poster. The repeated pasting of posters to it's door have left permanent glue defacing it's door. Never the less it is in working order and saw a lady use it as I walked on to the next phone box. It is positioned alongside a secretive building you can see off to the right of the shot. I can only guess it is some kind of money securities.

+442078374148, Near Junction of Carnegie Street and Caledonian Road, Islington, London, N1 0SQ
I really quite like this phone box, my favourite of the street. Not quite sure why, think it might have something to do with it's missing door. This makes it easier for passers-by to hear a ringing call. Suppose that's good as the payphone does ring pretty loud too, so offering callers a good chance of an answer. The bus stop is not too far away either. All the right ingredients.

+442078331248, Outside 190 Caledonian Road, Islington, London, N1 0SQ
This being my least favourite as, payphones from this company have barred incoming calls from getting through. It again has no door. There is I'd imagen quite a competition for usage with the BT payphone (above) being only seconds away from any potential users. I would be interested to see which of the two will be removed first, seeing as payphone usage is shrinking faster than ever before.

Sight of removed payphone outside Caledonian Fish & Chips, Chinese Take Away.
And this is Caledonian Roads' very own victim. The site where a once proud BT phone box stood. Then again I am not surprised as the two above mentioned phone box are both within a stones throw. I've also noticed that these payphones see more than their fairshare of vandalism, perhaps BT got fed-up with the continued maintenance of this one.

+442077130864, +442077130865 Adjacent 229 Caledonian Road, Islington, London, N1 1ED
From all the payphones of Caledonian Road I can say this gets good usage. I always see anyone of the local boy's (the one's you always see straddling the area on their bikes) on this payphone. I have even chosen this one to call BT for a line installation upon moving into my new place.

+442078331614, Outside 251 Caledonian Road, Islington, London, N1 1ED
Why oh why do they have to bar incoming calls to this payphone. This really would have been an awesome one to call. It's positioned directly outside a minicab office. There are always drivers hanging around here have a good chin-wag, could have called for a great conversation for the local gossip. Oh well...

+442077005783, +44207607657, Outside 313-315 Caledonian Road, Islington, London, N1 1DR
Again, you can see someone still needs a phone box. This guy spent nearly 45mins on the phone. Opposite you can see the local fruit trader selling his apples and pears from an old Barclays branch. This street has so much character. I Love it.

+442076079017, Adjacent 351 Caledonain Road, Islington, London, N1 1DW
On the Bridge up there you can see the word "Ferodo", ever wondered what that is? Well I spent most of my London Years wondering (nobody ever told me). It's the name of a company that makes breaks! Can you believe it? Why would they want to advertise breaks to the general public, that space would have been better for advertising something else,.. I don't know, something like breakfast cereal or shaving gel. Anyways, although the payphone rings you'll only catch someone's attention if they are actually in the box. The road here is busy and the door is still on the phone box making it real hard to be heard from outside.

+442077001597, Outside 433 Caledonian Road, Islington, London, N7 9BG
Again, can't hear this one ringing from outside. It does get a fair bit of use, positioned not far from a well used bus stop. At the time of this shot there was a long queue of local school kids making there way to Caledonian tube station for a day trip. I loved them back when I were a kid.

+442076075688, Outside 470 (Old) Police Station, Caledonian Road, Islington, London, N7 8TB
To get an answer form calling this box you'd better make it early when there's little traffic (noise) and the bus stop would always have a good few people hanging around for the early morning bus. It's positioned directly outside an old police station that now functions as flats.

+442077003679, Inside Caledonian Road Tube Station, Islington, London, N7
Really a very good one to call, Rings at a decent volume and gets plenty of passers by. The only problem is, most are too busy to answer. Still worth a good try though.

+442076073447, Outside 480 Caledonian Road, Islington, London, N7 9RD
Sad picture here. In the space of a few hours somebody must have vandalised the handset of this brave payphone. I passed by here the night before. There are some serious problems in the minds of this people that have to destroy these things that only stand there to offer us a service. I often wonder why these people do this. Less fortunate people from poorer parts of the world look after and appreciate there phone boxes. I remember seeing a picture of a payphone in India where the locals clean and service there town payphone, decorating it with pictures and flowers. It makes me angry and sad, some people in society have everything offered to them on a plate and they have to destroy something that belongs to everyone. A shame.

+442076074097, Outside 558 Caledonian Road, Islington, London, N7 9SL
This is the last and most Northern phone box on the Caledonain Road. It brings the trip to an end. It's interesting because it is positioned bang smack next to an old Royal Mail Postbox, a great picture. Although the number is working it is very hard to hear when in the box let alone from outside.

I hope you enjoyed this crazy trip and I hope that this serves to document the payphones and phone boxes on Claedonian Road as, I am sure a few of them will be removed in time. They form an important part of the memory of locals that have lived in the area for a long time. For any fellow residents of the area, please visit the Kings Cross Environment website for great local information.