Star.pngStar.pngStar.pngStar grey.pngStar grey.png

Motoring organisation telephone

From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
AA Box 442 - Geograph - 906370.jpg
A roadside AA telephone box
Cameraicon.png Pictures related to Motoring organisation telephone
View gallery (83)

Motoring organisation telephones are telephones at the roadside which were installed by the motoring organisations the AA and the RAC.


AA phone Glen Dye Box.jpg

Sentry boxes

The AA installed the first roadside sentry boxes in 1911, they were originally to provide shelter for their patrols who travelled on bicycles, and later motorbikes, while they were out on the road. They had phones installed to allow patrols to contact base.

In around 1920 members were issued with keys for the boxes so they too could use the facilities in the boxes and summon help in the event of a breakdown. In addition to the telephones the boxes contained other equipment such as lamps, fire extinguishers and local maps which were available for members to use. As well as calling for breakdown assistance, members were permitted to use the telephones to call other numbers whilst on their travels, local calls were free of charge but trunk calls made via the operator either had to be made by reversing the charges or relied on the honesty of the members to leave the correct payment for the call in the box.

Eventually the phones in the boxes were replaced with ones with preset numbers to dial, usually the AA, RAC and 999. Reciprocal agreements allowed members of either the AA or RAC to use the other organisation's telephones.

Emergency phone on the A96 east of Nairn - Geograph - 211160.jpg

Modern designs

The last sentry box style telephone kiosks were installed by the organisations in the 1960s, in the 1970s newer designs of roadside telephone were introduced to replace many of the older boxes, similar to the emergency roadside telephones provided on motorways, although in some locations these were provided in glass kiosks. In the late 1980s the final phones were installed, by this time similar to the modern ERTs, and the number of traditional sentry boxes left had reduced from around 1000 to around 20.

A9 Slochd emergency telephone.jpg


In 2002 the AA announced that it was going to stop providing its network of phones as they had become used so infrequently with the rise in use in mobile phones. Around 300 of the 500 phones which remained at this time and were located on trunk roads were passed onto the relevant trunk road authorities to maintain. Most of these have been re-branded as SOS phones and are connected to the police or traffic control in the same manners as other ERTs.

It is thought that 21 of the original AA sentry boxes remain in situ at the roadside, most of these are now listed buildings and, although some have been restored by local communities, many are in various states of disrepair. A list of these is below. It is thought that no RAC boxes remain in their original locations.

Other examples of AA and RAC telephones and boxes exist in museums or private collections away from their original location.

List of remaining AA boxes in Original Locations

Image Box No. Name On road(s) County Location Information
AA Ardgay Box 504.jpg 504 Ardgay Box A836/B9176 Ross-shire NH633872 Restored in 2008
Listed:LB49298 (Cat B)
AA Loch Allen Box 746.jpg 746 Loch Allen Box A939/A940 Morayshire NJ005388 Listed:LB49222 (Cat B)
AA callbox at Brachla - Geograph - 250766.jpg 631 Brachla Box A82 Inverness-shire NH561329 Listed:LB49223 (Cat B)
Box 472 - Geograph - 2065390.jpg 472 Cambus O'May Box A93 Aberdeenshire NO426976 Restored in 2009 by local community.

Listed:LB49218 (Cat C)

AA Glen Dye Box 753.jpg 753 Glen Dye Box B974 Kincardineshire NO650891
AA Phone Box No. 174 - Geograph - 1689561.jpg 714 Threapland Box A96 Morayshire NJ290611 Listed:LB49230 (Cat B)
Cappercleuch AA Box - Geograph - 71998.jpg 723 Cappercleuch Box A708 Selkirkshire NT240231 Listed:LB49228 (Cat B)
AA Box No. 573, Garrowby - Geograph - 1838513.jpg 573 Garrowby Box A166 Yorkshire SE786566 Listed:1251697 (Grade II)
AA Box 442 - Geograph - 639035.jpg 442 Aysgarth Box A684 Yorkshire SE026888 Listed:1302200 (Grade II)
Mere, AA box - Geograph - 1138041.jpg 372 Mere Box A50/A556 Cheshire SJ727817 Listed:1139490 (Grade II)
AA Telephone Kiosk number 817 - Geograph - 2611091.jpg 817 Beadnell Box B1340 Northumberland NU229294 Listed:1234878 (Grade II)
AA phone box on A591 at Dunmail Raise - Geograph - 939593.jpg 487 Dunmail Raise Box A591 Westmorland NY330110 Listed:1367182 (Grade II)
AA phone box 456 (no longer used) - Geograph - 1914507.jpg 456 Halfway House Box A3052 Devon SY048903 Listed:1140424 (Grade II)
AA telephone box, at Pittcombe Head - Geograph - 2343892.jpg 137 Porlock Box A39 Somerset SS841462 Listed:1345414 (Grade II)
AA Phone Box - Geograph - 1219247.jpg 530 Brancaster Box A149 Norfolk TF789442 Listed:1239792 (Grade II)
Bocs Boduan Box - Geograph - 618302.jpg 580 Boduan Box A497 Caernarfonshire SH324378 Listed:14430 (Grade II)
AA Box - Geograph - 5533359.jpg 289 Devil's Bridge Box A4120/B4574 Cardiganshire SN741770 Listed:84246 (Grade II)
AA Phone Box 161 (Nantyffin) at junction of A479 with A40 - Geograph - 852683.jpg 161 Nantyffin Box A40/A479 Brecknockshire SO198198 Listed:87808 (Grade II)

List of remaining AA boxes in Other Locations

Image Box No. Name Original road(s) Original County Current Location Information
44 Bucks Green Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre
45 Derry Hill Box Avoncroft National Phone Museum, Bromsgrove
AA Phone Box - Geograph - 5304708.jpg 73 Wish Tower, The Thicket Eastbourne Seafront
AA - Box 121 (Dotterel) - Geograph - 2247728.jpg 121 Dotterel Box AA,Basingstoke
162 Highnam Box Avoncroft National Phone Museum, Bromsgrove
DSC01539 (2).JPG 242 Andoversford Box Former A40 / A436 junction in Andoversford - Location Gloucestershire Toddington Station, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway line
374 Maerdy Box Coventry Motor Museum
AA Box 321-3.jpg 321 Legions Cross Box A44 Herefordshire Eardisland, Herefordshire Now restored and located approximately 1 mile north east of its original location on the line of the former A44 in Eardisland, Herefordshire. Claimed to be the oldest original AA box in the country.
AA Telephone Box in Haddenham, Bucks - Geograph - 6146895.jpg 398 Entercommon Box Haddenham
AA Box 446 - Geograph - 1044169.jpg 446 Private Garden in Sleaford
535 Carterway Heads Beamish Museum
553 Newby Bridge Lakeland Motor Museum
59(2?) Cotswold Motoring Museum, Boughton-on-the-Water
A A telephone box, Loughbrickland - Geograph - 1604546.jpg 645 Loughbrickland Box Ulster Folk Transport Museum An old AA Phone box at Transport Museum - Geograph - 1222263.jpg
710 Fiddleton Toll Private collection, Worcestershire. Filmed in 2022 on Shed & Buried TV programme
Aa-box-739.jpg 739 Johnshaven A92 Kincardineshire Grampian Transport Museum, Alford
751 Inverary Box Glasgow Museum of Transport AA Box - Geograph - 424018.jpg
920 Maidstone Motorway A20 Kent Beaulieu Motor Museum

List of remaining RAC boxes in Other Locations

Image Box No. Name Original road(s) Original County Current Location Information
Px140 Chelston.png 171 Chelston The RAC Motor House at the Old Barn, Woodcote Park ( moved in 2016 ) photo Motor Museum, Gaydon
Px140 172.png 172 Sparkford A303 Avoncroft Telephone Museum
Px140 avon 178.png 178 Golden Cross Avoncroft Telephone Museum
RAC Telephone Box at the East Anglia Transport Museum - Geograph - 3620312.jpg Hollow Fosse A429 Gloucestershire East Anglian Transport Museum, Carlton Colville, Suffolk
Px140 potters.png Potters Corner Dover Telephone Museum
140px RAC GxRd.png Gillingham Cross Roads A30 East Anglian Transport Museum, Carlton Colville, Suffolk
Px140 RAC Caister 170 Birdingbury.png 170 Birdingbury A423 Caister Castle Museum
140px RAC smalley 344 png-carcroft-doncaster.png 344 Smalley A608 52.975766, -1.409197 Skellow Rd, Carcroft, Doncaster 53.5813799,-1.18
140px RAC Amberley 545.png 545 Halnaker A285 Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre


The AA

BBC News

Motoring organisation telephone
Related Pictures
View gallery (83)
AA Glen Dye Box 753.jpgBox 472 - Geograph - 2065390.jpgAA phonebox - Coppermine - 13611.jpgAA Telephone Box in Haddenham, Bucks - Geograph - 6146895.jpgAA Telephone Box inside the Coventry Transport Museum - Geograph - 6974790.jpg
Road Basics
Physical layoutSingle track • Single carriageway • Dual carriageway • High Quality Dual Carriageway • Road Widths • Urban Streets • Abandoned Road
Legal typesAll-purpose Road • Special Road • Motorway • Trunk road • Principal road • Classified Numbered road • Classified Unnumbered Road • Unclassified road • Primary Route • Non Primary Route • Right of Way • Unadopted road
Road numbers1922 Road Lists • Classification • Defunct road • Euroroutes • MoT Maps • National Cycle Network • Numbering principles • Numbering anomalies • Disputed Numbers • Recycled number • Unallocated numbers • Fictional Road Numbers • Junction numbers • Essential Traffic Routes • Street Names
Road FeaturesArterial Road • Automatic Bollard • Balancing Pond • Belisha Beacon • Bott's Dots • Bypass • Cannon • Cats' Eyes • Cattle Grid • CD Lanes • Central Reservation • Chopsticks • Crash Barrier • Cuttings and Embankments • Cycle Lane • Emergency Phone • Escape lane • Expressway • Fingerpost • Flare • Ford • Gore • Green Bridge • Green Wave • Hairpin bend • Hard shoulder • Island • Junction • Layby • Level Crossing • Local Access Road • Managed Motorways • Milestone • Multi Lane Drop • Multiplex • No-Car Lane • Nose • Oxbow Road • Parapet • Petrol station • Play Street • Raised Pavement Markers • Ramp Metering • Retaining Wall • Road Studs • Roadside Art • Roadside Quarry • Roadworks • Secret motorway • Service Area • Signage • Smart Motorway • Snow pole • Speed Limit • Spur • Street Lighting • Surface Dressing • Temporary terminus • Throughpass • Tidal Flow • Tiger tail • Toll booth • Traffic cone • Traffic Signals • Tunnel • Vehicle Recovery • Walking and Cycling Friendly Road • Weaving • Wig-Wag Signals • Winter Maintenance • Zip merge
Traffic CalmingBuild-Outs • Chicane • Dragon's Teeth • Home Zone • Low Traffic Neighbourhood • Pinch Point • Quiet Lane • Rumble strips • Safety Cameras • Sleeping Policeman • Speed bump
Public Transport FeaturesBus Lane • Bus stop • Guided Busway • Park and Ride • Tramway • Trolleybus System
Other termsAnderson report • Guildford Rules • Highway Authority • Highway Code • Model Traffic Area • Motorway alphabet • Pre-Worboys • Primary Destinations • Roads by 10 • Transport alphabet • Worboys report

SABRE - The Society for All British and Irish Road Enthusiasts
Discuss - Digest - Discover - Help