Posted by: travelrat | January 20, 2014

A Listed Building …. With A Difference.

AA box, Dunmail Raise

On the Westmorland side of Dunmail Raise, there’s a Listed Building. A lot of stuff in Britain has that status; you can change the use, if you happen to live or work in one, but you mustn’t alter the general appearance of the place. A good example is Brunel’s old engine works at Swindon. They’ve been adapted into a railway museum and a shopping mall, without greatly altering the character of the building, thus preserving the ambience for future generations.

But, this is no house, or factory, or a barn which the farmer would dearly love to pull down, but can’t. It’s simply a telephone box. These ones were provided by the Automobile Association, and located in remote places, so that any motorist having problems could summon assistance. Providing he was a member of the AA, of course! To which end, every member was provided with a key.

Mine is still on my key-ring, although I can’t say the last time I used it; the last couple of times I’ve needed to summon the AA, I’ve used my mobile phone.

So, rather like Dr Who’s police box, they’re really things of the past … although, like the police box, nobody really notices their going till they’re gone. But, before they disappeared completely, English Heritage stepped in, and classified a handful of them as Listed Buildings.

I sometimes wonder, though, if you did come across one, and still have your key … can you still use the telephone inside?

AA Keys

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