Telephone boxes

John Roadley

Telephones arrived in Harston sometime between 1921-25. Kelly’s Directory which was an early version of ‘Yellow Pages’ showed no telephone numbers for 1921 but by 1925 the village ‘notables’ had private phones -such as: Sir WG Greene, Harston House, No 2; WT Rowley, Harston Manor, No 10; Dr WJ Young, High Street, No 7; T Hays, Baggot Hall, No 3; CJ Ilsley, Parish Council clerk, No 1.

At the same time, the first telephone boxes in the UK appearedwhich were predominantly white in colour and appropriately called type K1 (Kiosk 1). Harston has had a variety of boxes over the years the earliest of which we have a photo of is a K3 (Photo 1). These appeared from 1927-35 and are distinguished from the K1 by the domed roof which can be seen in the photo. It was positioned on the High Street near what is now Orchard Close.

This box was replaced by the traditional red box K6 (Photo 2) and subsequently the KX100 (Photo 3). K6 boxes also appeared outside 45 London Road (Photo 4) and 14 Button End (Photo 6). The emergence of the mobile phone has seen these become  redundant and in 2015 both were purchased from BT by the Parish Council for £1 each. The former was refurbished by a Harston resident and now operates as a ‘library’ (Photo 5). The latter was moved to the forecourt of the primary school, has had several uses and now (2023) houses children’s books (Photo 7). This was reported in the Cambridge News on 28 February 2015 (Photo 8).

The KX100 was removed by BT.

There was one other type of telephone box within the village – an Automobile Association box which was situated on a small green outside the Old English Gentleman (Photo 9). Members of the AA were issued with a key which opened all of the boxes which numbered over 600 by the end of WW2.

This page was added on 28/11/2023.

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