Discovered on a private driveway down to a house near Bath, the last remains of a K6 telephone box. This of course may be the awful fate of all these once ubiquitous red sentinels, their death knell tolled by BT back in the 1980s when they started to replace them with those unspeakable off-the-shelf glass cabinets. Mobile phone use has rendered them pretty well obsolete now, but I do wonder if a new use couldn't be found for them that means they remain in their original locations, instead of being turned into conversation piece greenhouses or shower cabinets. Some are quite rightly listed, some still have their interior lightbulbs shining brightly in the gloom, all of them appear to have discouraging notices about actualling attempting to make a telephone call. Unmitigated England Phone Boxes will of course have a corded handset on top of a black Bakelite phone, A & B chrome buttons, a shelf full of pink or yellow boarded directories, a list of local exchanges and a small mirror on the back wall. On the floor will be one empty Player's packet and a pencilled number awkwardly written on a Fry's Five Boys wrapper. And a man in a trilby tapping on the glass, mouthing 'Hurry up".
Just a quick one here, spotted by a gate leading up to Slawston Hill in Leicestershire on a Sunday afternoon walk. I like the simplicity and sheer effectiveness of the carefully stencilled letters, the colours, and the enigma as to why it was nailed to its post at an angle. Probably because we all walk about here with curious leanings.
In Dorset at the weekend, with friends who took me around some of their favourite haunts before we found ourselves inexplicably in The Stour Inn in Blandford St.Mary drinking Badger Poacher's Choice. Our last port of call as the sun dipped down behind the church was Cranborne, and we took a detailed look at buildings, brickwork and tombstones and wished we could get nearer to Cranborne Manor, Squire Allworthy's Jacobean mansion in Tony Richardson's Tom Jones (1963). And so to Castle Street, and this beautifully signwritten vets. Just perfect: the alphabets, the mixture of styles, the imaginative design of the projecting sign. I only wish it had been open and that I'd had a dog to de-distemper or something so that I could've gone in to congratulate them.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)
"Open this book with reverence. It is a hymn to England". Clive Aslet
"Enchanting...delightful". The Bookseller "Cheekily named" We Love This Book
The Cigarette Papers
"Unexpectedly pleasing and engrossing...beautifully illustrated". The Bookseller
"Until the happy advent of Peter Ashley's Cross Country it has, ironically, been foreigners who have been best at celebrating Englishness". Christina Hardyment / The Independent
More from Unmitigated England
"Give this book to someone you know- if not everyone you know." Simon Heffer, Country Life. "When it comes to spotting the small but telling details of Englishness, Peter Ashley has no equal." Michael Prodger, Sunday Telegraph