The end of the line for the telephone box? Not necessarily…
At their peak there were 92,000 across the country. Less than 40,000 remain and BT intend to remove more than half of these over the next five years due the running costs.
Loved by many, BT has allowed local authorities to buy back their phone boxes, and communities up and down the country have been creative in re-using the small space.
More than 3,000 have been used to house defibrillators and have become a crucial aid in a first line of response for small communities. This now includes Affpuddle, for conversion of their box for defibrillator use.
The Parish Council purchased the Briantspuddle telephone box from BT for £1. With a defibrillator already nearby on the Village Hall wall they asked the parish how they would like to see the box utilised and the overwhelming choice was for an information kiosk.
A volunteer creative team set about the complex task of designing content to fit the space, and produced photographs, illustrations and text to overlay onto mapping. The interior of the box contains three aluminium, weatherproof panels that display the local information.
For such a small parish it has a lot to offer the visitor or walker, as well as our own community. The unusual and fascinating history of the creation of the Bladen Estate captured the imagination of many during the centenary exhibition held in the Village Hall in 2014. It’s not possible to encompass everything in such a compact space, but the visitor will gain a snapshot into the history, architecture, natural habitat and wildlife that help make up the parish. Hopefully they will be tempted to discover more on the pages of the parish website.