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The red telephone box, a telephone kiosk for a public telephone designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, is a familiar sight on the streets of the United Kingdom, Malta, Bermuda and Gibraltar. Despite a reduction in their numbers in recent years, red telephone boxes can still be seen in many places and, in current or former, British colonies around the world. The colour red was chosen to make them easy to spot. The red telephone box remains an iconic symbol of London.
Curiously when BT was privatised and sold off by the Government it acquired a new livery in which yellow predominated rather than the red which remained with the Post Office. A few Telephone boxes were painted yellow but in response to overwhelming public protest BT relented and kept the red colour.
There is a story unconfirmed that the House of Commons MPs were balloted on whether they preferred red or yellow telephone boxes. Allegedly only one MP voted for yellow, the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher!
The red telephone box has become a favourite among London souvenirs being particularly suitable for money boxes, confectionery and tea. The boxes are also popular as keyrings, bottle openers and fridge magnets.