Nostalgia: Red phone boxes were a gold mine

In 1993, ex-pats pining for a piece of old England were heading post-haste to a collector's gold mine in Hyde.

Cherry red telephone kiosks, pillar boxes and ornate Victorian gas lamps were among the treasures snapped up by lovers of a way of life which had long since disappeared.

Brothers Frank and Robert Ridley had picked up a job-lot of 200 phone boxes after BT decided to replace them with a modern design.

Two years on, they only had a couple left to sell. Many had found new homes within the North West but others had been shipped out from the brothers’ Newton Station goods yard base to buyers in Austria and America.

The kiosks and post boxes of various shapes and sizes had previously been a familiar sight on streets in the Manchester area. For collectors, they were seen as ‘best of British’ icons which should be saved for posterity.

Main image:

SAVED: Frank Ridley with one of the rescued phone boxes.

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