Gilbert the Phone Box – Edinburgh, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Edinburgh, Scotland

Gilbert the Phone Box

A former telephone box found new life as a photo booth and charity fundraiser. 

As the old adage goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. The same philosophy applies when old technology is outpaced by current trends. Take for instance, police callboxes that have been converted into mini sidewalk cafes. Or in the case of the gentlemen’s tailoring shop Stewart Christie and Co. in Edinburgh, an iconic red telephone boxes that has been converted into a photo booth.

The phone company British Telecom started a program called “Adopt a Kiosk,” which gave communities a chance to keep their phone boxes and find new uses for them. The charity organization Save the Children purchased one, which the good people at Stewart Christie’s, , the oldest outfitters in Scotland. They christened it “Gilbert,”  after Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the designer of the telephone box. The internal fabrication was then left up to the father and son duo of Fredrick and Daniel Fearn, who created a small pocket of wonder and whimsy.

Inside the kiosk, visitors will find a wide assortment of hats and books. And all who enter are encouraged to dress up and take photos. For a small donation, guests are allowed to explore the various nooks and crannies of this creatively re-used space. The antique phone is no longer operational, but you might have better luck with file drawers labeled “stuff” and “nonsense.”

Know Before You Go

Access to the interior of the box is provided by a key, which can be retrieved from inside Stewart Christie & Co. A £3 donation to Save the Children Foundation is requested, and can be made by either texting the phone number provided on the telephone box or through a collection box inside. Store hours are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The outside of the box is visible at anytime.

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