Light The Lights: How Culture Defines London
The Black Phonebox
Hi – my name is Shaun Nolan. Welcome to my walking tour 'Light the Lights: How Culture Defines London'.
[MUSIC 'THEME TUNE' UNDERSCORES]
Throughout this walking tour, I'll be showing you a variety of different things that make London one of the best cities on Earth, from theatre, to architecture, and even toilets. You can keep your phone in your pocket throughout this walking tour – the technology and myself have the rest of it covered. I'll make sure to direct you around the city in the safest way possible, while VoiceMap will use your location to move the story along automatically. Keep your eyes open, and don't worry about the odd moments of silence – just keep walking straight ahead until I tell you otherwise. Now, let's get started with our tour!
You should be standing with your back to the black telephone box, just outside Victoria Embankment Gardens, with the Embankment tube station on your left. When telephone boxes were first introduced in London, British Telecommunications – or BT – owned all of them and painted them all red to match the Royal Mail postboxes and the London buses among other things. During the 1980s, rival phone company New World Payphones bought a selection of phone boxes in Westminster and painted them black to put their own trademark on them. As time has progressed, these telephone boxes have become less and less convenient because everyone carries a mobile phone, but they'll forever be a part of the London landscape.
Turn right now and start walking, heading away from the station. Stick to the right hand side of the road.
[SOUND OF PEOPLE WALKING AND MOVING UNDERSCORES]
Have a look at the ground on your right, just outside the entrance to the Gardens. Can you see the big metal circle? This is called a Urilift. [UNDERSCORE FADES] If you stand on top of it, you'll be stood on top of an underground urinal which rises from the ground at night to become a public urinal for men. [TOILET FLUSH SOUND EFFECT] It's weird, I have to agree.
Keep walking straight.