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Britain’s iconic red phone boxes ring the changes


· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

Facing extinction due to ubiquitous mobile phones, Britain’s classic red telephone boxes are being saved from death row by ingenious conversions into all sorts of new uses.


"It smells nice," a passer-by said while sniffing the waft of hot stew steaming out of one phone box in the heart of London.


Every day, dozens of office workers come down to Bloomsbury Square to get their lunch at a phone box that has been converted to hold a tiny refrigerator and shelves to put the dishes on.


Often abandoned, vandalized or reeking of urine, some have been transformed into libraries, art galleries and information hubs; others into cafes, hat shops or even heart defibrillator points.


Comparing to 90,000 in 2002, there are only 40,000 phone boxes left in Britain. Overall, 33,000 calls are made daily from phone boxes, a drop of 90 percent in 10 years.


BT says most of its phone booths lose money, while maintaining them costs 5.7 million euros a year. They plan to remove 20,000 more by 2022.


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