Saturday 19 November 2011


Yesterday morning promised another lovely day. Good, there were jobs to be done outside.

Just beyond our garden there is a phone box. It is very handy for giving directions to the house. "Come down the hill, and when you see a phone box on your right, you are by our drive."
But with the advent of mobile phones these boxes are no longer used. The telephone was taken out some while ago and there were fears that the box itself would be  dismantled and taken away.

As telephone boxes become redundant communities are being given the choice as to whether they want them removed from the streets, and if not, whether they are prepared to purchase and maintain them.
Novel use is being made of these iconic structures. A nearby village uses theirs as a book exchange.
The telephone box is not the first thing in our hamlet to have become redundant. A number of years ago I painted this watercolour. It depicts, as well as the telephone box, a toad crossing street sign. Each spring hundreds of toads would cross the road on their way to spawn in the lake. Householders would come out at night with torches and buckets to scoop them up and deposit them safely by the lakeside. In spite of this the road would still be splattered with casualties. Over the years the numbers of toads reduced to a trickle and a few years ago the council removed the sign from the lamp post. 
I took the painting to the printers and had some blank cards made. The title, printed on the back was, 'Toad crossing'. When I collected the cards from the printers he asked, "where is the toad?" He had been looking on the road in vain, searching for a toad!

There was enough interest shown in our community for the council to purchase the kiosk. (For a pound!) It is a K series, as designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in the 1930's. I think that many of them are now listed buildings. There is a National Kiosk Collection in Bromsgrove, Worcs.
A neighbour gave our kiosk a thorough clean and then Himself got to work scraping down.

Then it was time for the undercoat. How strange the phone box looked, minus its post office red.

A first coat of red paint. Ah, that's more like it!

We shall have to decide just what use we are going to make of it. There are various suggestions, including the housing of a defibrillator, but no final decisions as yet.


  1. Well saved - both the kiosks and the frogs. The only remaining phone-boxes around here no longer take coins - too many junkies smashing them open for the cash. Sad. There is a small road also near here which is closed to traffic during frog season for a couple of days - not so sad.

  2. Until the telephone was removed we had the same problem with people smashing the fittings in a search for the small amount of cash our kiosk held. Hope they don't run of with the defibrillator if we get one!
    Very sorry to lose our toads, I just see the occasional squashed body on the road in springtime, so am glad to hear that they are faring better elsewhere.

  3. I love your vintage phone booth and I'm happy to see it's going to be saved! Too bad about the toads, though.

  4. The watercolor is lovely. I am pleased to see you still have your kiosk and it is being refurbished. I love the thought of using it as a book lending facility. An emergency first aid center with defibrillator sounds like a worthy use as well. I have heard frogs and toads are a sign of a healthy environment. I hope your toads return in the near future. Have a great weekend. Bonnie

  5. Yes I have read about these boxes being used - an excellent idea I think - hope your village is imaginative in deciding what to do with it - keep us informed.

  6. I enjoy the benefits of today's technology, though probably not as much as some -- I find it rather sad that these telephone booths are becoming a thing of the past. So glad to see that some are being preserved and used in other ways. Your watercolor is beautiful. Hope your day is great. Tammy

  7. I like the idea of the telephone box as a book exchange!
    They are iconic boxes so I am happy to hear that some are being preserved.
    Your painting are lovely and I can see these would fit in nicely on the pages of Country Living UK!

  8. Hello Share My Garden. Pleasure to meet you and thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. Love the idea of using the old phone box as a book exchange. Fantastic!

  9. Dear All, the weather has held and the phone box now has it's second coat of paint. It's looking good! I'll let you know what use the box will be put to once our small hamlet has made up it's mind.

  10. Found your photo while searching for landscaping ideas for my K6 red box in newly purchased home in USA. How is yours holding up?