Newsletter Vol. 1 No. 3
AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION EMERGENCY ROADSIDE TELEPHONE BOX IN ENGLAND,
AN INSPIRATION FOR MISSIONARY INDEPENDENT SPIRITUAL CHURCH?
WE'VE FOUND A CARPENTER
I am glad to report that we have located a wonderful carpenter, Roger Rupe, who will be working on the reconstruction of the Burgess Bus Stop for our church building. He has a couple of other jobs ahead of us on his schedule, but he says he thinks this work will be a "joy," and we can hardly wait to see him here on the place, pounding nails.
AA TELEPHONE BOXES
In searching for buildings that resemble the Burgess Bus Stop, which we are restoring for use as our church, i have run into what seem to have been the actual inspirations for the otherwise unique cross-gable form of this tall, narrow building. These are the British Automobile Association Roadside Emergency Telephone Boxes.
The AA began making such boxes around 1912, but the popular and long-sustained cross-gable form that resembles the Burgess Bus Stop was first developed in 1927. The way they worked was rather nice -- when you joined the AA (the British equivalent of our own AAA), you got a key that fit the lock in any of the telephone boxes. If your car broke down, you walked or hitched a ride to the nearest box, opened it up and called the AA for help. If it was raining or cold out, you could stay comfy in the box until help arrived.
The boxes were each individually numbered -- about 1,000 in all, at the height of the system's popularity -- so even if you did not know exactly where you were, you could say, "I'm calling from Box Number 167," and a repairman would be dispatched to pick you up. He would take you to your car, where the repairs were made, or, if the machine was not immediately fixable, you would be driven to a hotel for the night.
As regular pay phones, mobile phones, and now cell phones have rendered the old AA roadside emergency boxes obsolete, the ones that remain have been declared historic buildings and have been restored to their former elegance. The pictures i have uploaded show just a few of the remaining boxes.
Now, i am not 100% sure that Don L. Burgess, the man who designed the Burgess Bus Stop, ever saw an AA Telephone Box -- but if he did not, then he must have spirit-channelled the design, because he got awful darn close.
He was an artist and a hobby architectural designer, and his daughter Debbie told me that although they found scale plans from magazines for all the other things he had built, they never found plans for the Bus Stop -- that he created it out of his own head. Or ... possibly, out of a memory of a picture he had found in a magazine, or a building he had seen while in England?
I'm going to try to find out more about this ... but for now, here is the link to a small collection of AA Telephone Boxes. Enjoy!
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