Monday, 10 March 2008

AA Telephone Box 487

It's Fran's birthday today!

To celebrate I took a day off work in lieu of working on Saturday and took her on a day out.

We went to look at this magnificent antique AA telephone box. Now before anyone takes a dim view and starts thinking of berating me, I should point out that not only is it rare these days but it is an icon of Britain's motoring past. Any birthday girl should be proud to have been taken to view it. When I was a lad there were many of these telephone boxes. They could only be opened by AA members (that's the Automobile Association, by the way, not Alcoholics Anonymous) who were issued with a special key that fitted all the telephone boxes. It meant that in the days before mobile telephones any driver who suffered a breakdown in a remote area would have to walk no more than, say, fifty miles or so before being able to call for rescue!

This box seems to have been fitted with a non-standard lock. Had I still carried my AA key about with me I could have tried it out, but:

1) I threw it away years ago
2) The lock definitely looks to take a large Chubb type key
3) After all the rains we've had the ground around it was boggy and waterlogged to a depth of several inches
4) I wasn't technically broken down

Anyway, Fran really enjoyed her trip out to see the telephone box, although I was a bit disgruntled when she stayed in the car and only got out when we stopped in places like Keswick and Kendal in the Lake District. Even then, she insisted on looking at boring things like shops, instead of searching for old telephone boxes. Women... just not easily understood...

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  1. Hi John,

    I found your site while I was looking for info on AA phone boxes. I spend most Saturdays working at the Beamish
    open air museum near Stanley in Co. Durham. The museum recently acquired a "distressed" AA Box and we are in the process of reconstruction before it is placed in a suitable location in the museum. I enjoyed your little story of your day out but I couldn't find the details of the location of this particular box. Is it me or did you leave it out on purpose?



  2. It's on the A591 Keswick to Ambleside road near Grasmere.


  3. Another one in very good order is at the bottom of Garrowby hill, on the York-Driffield road. See more here:


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