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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Saving an Icon

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas DECEMBER. 01, 2020

This is the story of the village Phone box and the plan to save it. Here it is looking very sorry for itself. It sorely needed a paint job, had a worrying lean over to one side and the glass was broken. These red phone boxes became a British icon in every village throughout the country and I even remember seeing them scattered around the remote Highlands of Scotland miles from the nearest inhabited areas.

Sadly though with changes in technology and the adoption of Mobile Phones/Cells by almost everybody they became an anachronism in everyday life. We'd really miss them if they were gone but as a form of communication they were to all intents and purposes pointless.

BT, British Telecom, could not justify the massive expense involved in continuing to maintain them especially in remote rural areas so a scheme was devised whereby a village or community could adopt their phone box and take over all the liability for £1.00. A great scheme which has seen the restoration of thousands of these boxes with new uses. You may have already read my Post about The World's Smallest Nightclub.

Many are now the home of Emergency Defibrillators, some act as book or jigsaw exchanges, some as plant exchanges. But here is the fly in the ointment, if your local red box sits on a redevelopment site as ours does, it is not eligible for the £1.00 scheme. Instead, you have to come up with £3500 to have it restored and removed and fitted at a new site. Hence starting up our own Go Fund Me to try and raise enough to do just that.

Our Go Fund Me went live today so we are waiting now to see where we go from here. If anyone reading this wants to invest in a tiny red piece of history then all donations will be gratefully received. How could anyone look at this sad paintwork and not be moved, probably to tears. (I am loading it on now)

About three weeks ago a truck arrived, unannounced, and made off with the box you see above and it has now gone to a specialist phone box hospital where it will be professionally restored. A member of the community has already donated their company's skills and time to build the new base where it will go and to connect it to power, and a site has been found next to our village hall. This is an artist impression of what it might look like in it's new home.

It was our bad luck that our box stood on an old exchange site which became a valuable building site, usually they just occupy the land the box itself stands on. So although it will not go back to it's original home it should still be a welcome site as people pass through the village. If the plan succeeds I will do a follow up Post hopefully showing the installation when it happens, but at the very least the finished article in it's new home.

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