Drive to turn old red phone boxes into community assets

The red phone box outside The Boot pub in St Albans.

The red phone box outside The Boot pub in St Albans. - Credit: Laura Bill

They've been transformed into everything from defibrillator units and mini history museums to art galleries and book exchanges, and now residents across Herts are being urged to adopt more old red phone boxes and turn them into community assets.

Since 2008, a total of 907 phone boxes across the region have been taken on by communities for just £1 each through BT’s Adopt a Kiosk programme.

Now a further 300 boxes have been offered for transformation, including many in Herts.

There is one outside The Boot pub in Market Place, St Albans, and others at The Green in Preston near Hitchin, by the Brewery in Baldock High Street, on Market Hill in Royston, at the junction of High Street and School Lane in Old Welwyn, outside the post office in Bibbs Hall Lane, Ayot St Lawrence, and the junction of Green Lane, Barbaraville Camp and Hertford Road, Hatfield.

The box on The Green, Preston.

The box on The Green, Preston. - Credit: Google Streetview

BT Enterprise unit director for the east of England, Jon Pollock, explained: “With most people now using mobile phones, it’s led to a huge drop in the number of calls made from payphones. At the same time, mobile coverage has improved significantly in recent years due to investment in masts, particularly in rural areas.


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“We’re currently rationalising our payphone estate to make it fit for the future, and the ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme makes it possible to retain local phone boxes with a refreshed purpose for the community.

“Thousands of communities have already come up with a fantastic array of ideas to re-use their beloved local phone box. Applying is quick and easy and we’re always happy to speak to communities about adopting our phone boxes."

The kiosk in Market Hill, Royston.

The kiosk in Market Hill, Royston. - Credit: Google Streetview

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BT will also consider adoption requests to house defibrillators in modern glass phone boxes, a potentially life-saving conversion.

For further details on how to apply to Adopt a Kiosk, simply go to www.bt.com/adopt 

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