Villagers fight to save WWII phone box

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 installedd 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.

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.”

Leyland Transport Museum

We visited the Commercial Transport Museum in Leyland over the weekend to find a telephone box on display.

I like the rules for omnibus passengers – small dogs allowed but no manspreading, for instance…

London’s Iconic Tumbling Telephone Box Installation Has Had A Makeover

The ‘Out of Order’ installation, which consists of twelve tumbling telephone boxes, has been revealed after a bit of a zhuzh up. Located on Kingston’s lovely Old London Road, the sculpture has been a landmark since it was first installed in 1989. 

The piece was created by David Mach, one of the UK’s most successful artists and a former lecturer at Sculpture School in Kingston. He’s known for his large scale collages and sculptures all over the world, but this one is particularly special to him. He says of the installation’s refurb: “I’m very happy to see Out of Order being refurbished. It’s one of my best outdoor sculptures. I love these boxes and isn’t it funny that even in these times and although they were removed from the British landscape, I feel they still bind us as a nation.”

Source: https://secretldn.com/telephone-box-installation-kingston/


Feature image: @cocotinede

China’s replicas of Western towns

Cian Oba-Smith explores the phenomenon of Chinese copycat architecture.

Over the last fifteen years, a large number of settlements have been built on the outskirts of cities like Shanghai and Hangzhou in China, to replicate Western metropolises. In one, Venice’s canals are reconstructed between Venetian-style buildings. In another, the Eiffel Tower has been reproduced in the centre of a network of mock Parisian streets. Elsewhere, the Western features are more subtle; the odd red phone box or Roman pillar nestled among Mandarin street signs…

Click through to the British Journal of Photography magazine to see the article.

The Wind phone

When an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in 2011, 30ft (9.14m) waves obliterated coastal communities. The small town of Otsuchi lost everything including 2000 residents. One resident, Itaru Sasaki, was already grieving his cousin before the tsunami hit. He had the idea of nestling an old phone booth on the windy hill at the bottom of his garden which overlooked the Pacific Ocean. This would be a place he could go to speak to his cousin – a place where his words could ‘be carried on the wind.’ The white, glass-paned booth holds an old disconnected rotary phone. He called it his Wind Phone.

In the aftermath of the terrible tsunami, as word of the phone spread, it became a pilgrimage site for those who had lost loved ones. In the sanctuary of the booth they would dial old phone numbers and talk to their loved ones. Interpreter and journalist Miwako Ozawa visited Otsuchi in the weeks after the tsunami. In this programme she returns for the first time since 2011 to visit the phone and find out how it has helped people to cope with their grief.

We meet some of those who regularly visit the phone and we hear their stories and listen in to their phone calls. In many ways the wind phone typifies a very Japanese relationship with nature and death and with the invisible forces that connect us all. As the residents of Otsuchi face the slow progress of rebuilding their town and the frightening reality of future extreme weather, the wind phone is a reminder of those losses that won’t be forgotten.

Presenter: Miwako Ozawa
Producer: Sarah Cuddon

This wonderful story comes from the BBC World Service, for more click here.

French TV

In English the show is called ‘Black Spot’ but although my French is not so good even I know ‘Zone Blanche’ translates as ‘White’ zone. It refers to the lack of communication signals in the town and forest. I find it curious that languages can refer to the same occurrence with a phrase that uses opposite terms.

I’m glad I caught this text. Indicates the way phone booths are going. In this story the locals shot at the telecoms men who came to dismantle it.

Northern Ireland

Bushmills Distillery

Giant’s Causeway
Belfast

Canterbury City Council offering reward to catch graffiti vandals

I don’t think I’ve featured vandalised phone booths before – but that’s what a lot of them are like these days….

A local authority is offering a £500 reward to anyone who can help it convict vandals responsible for a series of tags across a district.

Canterbury City Council is hoping the inducement will aid its crackdown on graffiti, which it says is costing taxpayers thousands of pounds to clear up.

Community committee chairman Neil Baker says such vandalism “is having a damaging effect on our community”.

For the full article click here.

Spitalfields, London

Berlin – Easter 2019