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Chairman of Richmond Society, Barry May, standing in a shaded spot under a tree in front of two red English phone booths. The booths are the well known booths that are synonymous with the UK. Behind them is a park which has the sun casting on it.

Richmond Society calling for help to preserve red phone boxes

An appeal for public submissions has been made in the effort to preserve the iconic red telephone kiosks found around Richmond.

The Richmond Society are looking at ways to best make use of the remaining kiosks to ensure their preservation for future generations.

Five Giles Gilbert Scott kiosks, also known as K6 kiosks, remain in Richmond of the original 40 that were in operation over 30 years ago, after being replaced by the more modern BT booths.

Richmond Society chairman Barry May, said: “It’s been many years since the phone boxes were used now because we all have mobile phones in our pockets, but they are part of the streetscape of this country, and it would be a great pity to lose them.”

Commissioned in 1935 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of George V, the red kiosks have now become synonymous with British culture and inspirations for many art installations like the red telephone booth sculpture in Kingston.

BT introduced the K8 kiosk in 1968, featuring a more modern design and began the process of decommissioning the beloved red boxes, selling many of them off for £1 each.

As a result, many are now in the hands of private owners, who have either sold them on for high profits or retained them in an effort to preserve them.

CALLBACK TO A SIMPLER TIME: Richmond Society chairman Barry May discusses why he feels the iconic phone boxes should be preserved

Historic England have listed 3000 of the kiosks as grade II, which ensures that the unique character of the structure is maintained and four of the five in Richmond have received coveted accreditation.

“Unfortunately in this day and age we do suffer from vandalism and sometimes these phone boxes are a target,” May added.

He said that the society was working tirelessly to preserve both these structures, as well as many other items around the town to maintain the deep history that encompasses Richmond.

The Richmond Society are working closely with the council and private organisations to find new private owners for these kiosks, to ensure they are preserved for generations to come but also are able to serve the community around them.

Residents are able to submit ideas to the society which will be presented as part of their proposals to council.

Some ideas have included turning the boxes into information kiosks or defibrillator stations.

You can email your suggestions to [email protected].

Featured image: Connor McLaughlin

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Sophie
Sophie
13 May 2021 1:46 pm

Some after coffee ideaa are firstly could they be used or adapted with a discrete solar energy device to recharge phones ? Secondly used for plastic bottles to be shredded in exchange for a taken. Lastly Reflecting on recent times use the bonus of outdoor space then adapt them with boxes inside to place for C19 tests to get a all clear before meeting others.

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