What’s happening to all our phone boxes?

Iconic red phones boxes have been disappearing from across the Five Valleys, prompting many to ask what will happen to our phone boxes now that they are no longer needed.

People near Minchinhampton have been asking what will become of the historic kiosks after spotting teams craning a phone box from Cirencester Road onto a truck recently.

Stroud News and Journal:

“Suddenly our end-of-road red phone box has been drilled out and taken away,” Cathie Shannon said.

“It was odd to see so many on the lorry. It was an otherwise quiet afternoon when all of the drilling started and the phone box was loaded up and taken away.

“They had to break the windows at the top for the crane to get a grip.”

The phone box in question had originally been in Cirencester Road near Butt Street, and is believed to have been one of 80 earmarked for removal across the district.

The red kiosk for a public telephone designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott is a familiar sight on the streets of the United Kingdom, Malta, Bermuda and Gibraltar.

Stroud News and Journal:

A decline in payphone usage has drastically reduced the number of phone boxes across the UK. According to BT there were 92,000 in 2002, and there are currently 46,000, including 8,000 traditional red ones, a far cry from the estimated 73,000 recorded around the country in 1980.

Now the redundant kiosks are removed or put to more inventive use by communities as art galleries, libraries or to house life-saving equipment.

Little-used red telephone boxes can be adopted by parish councils in England for other uses and at least two kiosks nearby have been saved and put to good use by local people.

One traditional kiosk was bought from BT for £1 by villagers in Box in 2011 to use as a library as they wanted to keep what they believed was an integral part of the local area. The ‘library’ offers unwanted books for anyone to freely take and read.

Stroud News and Journal:

Illustrator and children’s book designer Tony Meeuwissen with Amberley’s phone box library

More recently, illustrator and children’s book designer Tony Meeuwissen cut the ribbon on a telephone box which was adopted by the community in Amberley last year.

“It was an unexpected honour to be invited to open such a delightful telephone box library,” said Tony as he announced the library as open.

“I hope it will be a source of pleasure and inspiration to Amberley booklovers of all ages.”

Although an estimated 50 per cent of the distinctive phone boxes have now been removed communities can approach BT to apply to adopt a red phone box in the community.

The Adopt a Kiosk scheme enables villages and towns to retain its iconic red kiosk. It is open to councils, charities and private landowners, for more details visit bt.com.

  • Has your phone box disappeared, or fallen into disrepair? Or has your community adopted it and put it to good use? Let us know – email sarah.watson@newsquest.co.uk

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