AA (Automobile Association) telephone Box 530 on the A149 at Brancaster in Norfolk.The first of the roadside sentry boxes was built at Ashtead in Surrey in 1911. At first they were intended as shelters for passing AA patrols. Soon they became available to AA members, who could call for help free of charge. The boxes became "the lighthouses of the road". Smartly dressed patrolmen in caps and leather boots would salute passing AA members, offering assistance with directions or breakdowns, even warning of police speed traps further down the road. Early AA boxes had fire extinguishers and maps as well as phones, and in 1920, members were given keys to allow them access. These roadside boxes began to be phased out in the 1970s, with the final phones on posts installed in the 1980s.