Telephone Kiosk collection (7) – finale

Art connections

Banksy

Community spirit

A Welsh village is trying to save its beloved red telephone box from being scrapped because it helped protect them during World War II.

The phone box in the quiet village of Bryn-y-Gwenin, near Abergavenny, South Wales,, was used to warn of air raids.

Credit: David Davies

Now the villagers want BT to save the box because of its wartime role when it was “the main point of contact” for warnings of Nazi bombing raids.

The villagers have enlisted the help of Conservative MP David Davies in their campaign to save the phone box.

Mr Davies said keeping the phone box would preserve the village’s history as well as serving a practical purpose. He said: “Mobile signal in this part of rural Monmouthshire is intermittent and very poor at best, so the public telephone box is an essential village amenity for Bryn-y-Gwenin.

“It also serves Llanddewi Skirrid and the surrounding area. With the Skirrid mountain a popular spot for walkers and cyclists, the significance of the box is paramount in an emergency.

“BT claims the phone box has had very little use over a significant period of time. Calls may well be small in number but one day that call could be very important and potentially life-saving.”

Previous plans to decommission the box were successfully overturned in 2016 following a similar local campaign.

Resident Paul Webb said villagers “cherished” the box, which bears the Tudor Crown of King George VI.

“One of our villagers, Richard Cox, cleans it on a weekly basis and repaints it when necessary.” he said.

“The box has always been a proud landmark at the entrance to our village.  It is an iconic part of British heritage yet sadly, these red telephone boxes are getting more and more scare in the countryside.

“It has been stated in the past that if the phone itself was removed but the box remained then the villagers would be prepared to have a defibrillator installed as it would be a very strategic place for one to be available.”

The phone box is a K6 model, designed to commemorate the silver jubilee of King George V, and entering production in 1936.

It was originally connected to the village post office via a party line.

On Twitter, Mr Davies posted a video of himself at the phone box and surrounded by residents.  He said: “This phone box played a small role in defending Britain during WW2. It is being lovingly cleaned & maintained by a local resident. After decades of loyal@service @bt_uk want to scrap it.”

BT has launched a consultation period to determine the phone box’s future.

A spokesman for BT said: “Most people now have a mobile phone and calls made from our public telephones have fallen by around 90 per cent in the past decade.

“We consider a number of factors before consulting on the removal of payphones.”

Cross-post from The Telegraph

Covid 19 viewing

More screen time is ahead of me in the coming months. I’m normally don’t sit in front of the TV for too long but as I’m trying to do my civic duty and not leave the house, this will be difficult. Here’s a few (not all that recent) to start the next phase with:

Music box

I was listening to Radio 6 this morning and came half way into an interview with Pete Paphides. They were talking about his new book “Broken Greek”. What caught my ear was him talking about how, when he was young (I gather the ’70s as ABBA was mentioned) he would get money from his Mum to go to the phone box outside the fish and chip shop and listen to music. There was a 3 digit number you could ring that would play a different pop song every day. How fabulous.

Rewatching a favourite

With a new Wes Anderson movie coming out, The French Dispatch, I thought I’d re-watch a favourite, The Royal Tenenbaums. There are quite of few scenes with telephones, here are just a couple:

Telephone Kiosk collection (6) – various

UK locations

Leeds
Holborn, London – being used as a menu board for a food stall
Margate

Superheroes

From the recent movie Captain Marvel and the tv series of Watchmen (including a phone booth used to talk to a blue god) to an old iconic favourite – Buffy.

Smithfields in London

My husband sent me the top photo, from Smithfields market, as he walked home this Christmas Eve. Then I saw the following article online, from that morning, also at Smithfields: