Our streets are full with one-way time machines

The transformation of the police box into the recognised form of intergalactic time travel device (Private View, DW 15 November) is not the only example of a product that has had two incarnations.

Think too of the humble public telephone kiosk, more precisely, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s 1936 Jubilee kiosk. This has been changed into an effective time travel device, albeit only one way: backwards. It has become a powerful symbol of Britain’s recent and rose-tinted, glorious past, thanks to numerous period TV/film cameos.

The General Post Office box can go, not one, but two better than the more obscure police version: many are still around performing their original function while simultaneously being used in their new role as time machines, and by ordinary members of the public too.

You don’t need to be a time lord to experience the presence of a red GPO kiosk and be able to conjure up other nostalgic associations, if not complete scenes – steam trains, black bicycles with baskets, gas masks, old Rover cars and so on. Try stepping inside one and you might find yourself back in the blitzed West End of London.

Paul Linnell

Course leader BA graphic design

Department of Photography, Video & Graphic Design

De Montfort University

Leicester LE1 9BH

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