Latest Issue

Mean streets

The disorder of the modern city stems in part from the modernist design of telephone booths and street lamps. Street furniture has ceased to represent civic order

By Roger Scruton   January 1998

There used to be one object in every English village that stood out as a symbol of stable government and a refuge to the traveller: the telephone booth. This cast iron structure in imperial red was designed in 1924 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Like many architects who worked in the Indian summer of the British empire, Scott was eclectic, able to draw on classical, Gothic and proto-modern motifs in order to provide a rich vocabulary of detail, responsive to the new demands of the industrial age. His telephone booth is a case in point. Classical in outline and inspired…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect