Milford’s Red Telephone Box has now been officially opened.
Deborah Biss cut the ribbon and presented a model phone box to Craig Scott, the resident who spearheaded the campaign to adopt the box and turn it into a public information and swap point.
Here is the full story of the project, as written by Craig Scott, the resident who spearheaded it…
In the late 1990s, British Telecom started removing many thousands of the old K6 red telephone boxes and replacing them with totally new modern designed kiosks.Local residents in Milford and Makeney who thought a lot of their old red box decided to try and save theirs.
Following a petition to BT, signed by 200 residents and with the cause being taken-up by Patrick McLoughlin (MP of the area at the time), the kiosk was judged of sufficient historical or architectural value to be registered as a Grade II Listed Building by English Heritage on December 1st 1989.The listing also helped protect the kiosk by law.
However, over the years, as mobile phones became more and more popular, the old red boxes began to fall into disuse.In 2010, local residents in the Milford and Makeney Community Group (M&MCG) decided that they would like to have the kiosk adopted and, after consulting local people, decided to turn it into a public information and book swap point under BT’s ‘Adopt a Box’ scheme.In early 2014, Belper Town Council agreed to adopt the kiosk and Amber Valley Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council provided funding to have the adjacent railings moved back to allow good access for maintenance.
Later that year M&MCG volunteers, funded by two local anonymous donors, completely renovated the kiosk and turned it into a public information and book swap point using authentic materials, such as the glazing units, door handle, signage and paint.Finally, to visually enhance its setting, the Blooming Milford group landscaped the area and planted bulbs and plants around the sides of the kiosk.
The image on this kiosk’s backboard of an interior of a K6 (kindly provided by Unicorn Kiosk Renovations and reproduced by local artist Jon ‘Tod’ Tordoff) is intended to give an impression of how Milford’s kiosk would have looked in 1936 to the mid 1950’s and includes:
A pair of high gloss black laminated and ebonised parcel/directory shelves, with stainless steel trim and shelf liners.
Three slot A & B Coin Collection Box, with cast coin denomination plate (Penny, Sixpence and Shilling).
Series 200 black Bakelite telephone with plain base with braid handset cord.
An emergency notice, dial code instruction notice and two colour period notices.
A polished stainless steel mirror frame with bevelled mirror.
A Short History of the Old Red K6 Telephone Kiosk
In 1935, George V celebrated his Silver Jubilee, by commissioning the architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott – architect of Battersea Power Station, Liverpool Cathedral, and Waterloo Bridge – to design a new telephone kiosk to replace earlier ‘K’ types.
The design became ready the following year when King George was dead, but the K6, as it was officially known, was still called the Jubilee Kiosk.
The K6 was the first red telephone kiosk to be extensively used outside London, and many thousands were deployed in virtually every town and city, replacing most of the existing kiosks and establishing thousands of new sites.
The red kiosk has since become a world icon of ‘Britishness’, along with red pillar-boxes and London’s red Route-master buses. Many people simply view with great affection the continuing presence of the old red boxes which have been in their lives for so long, cheekily proclaiming their ‘cherry red’ presence throughout our urban and rural landscape.
Other uses of the Red Telephone Box
Neighbouring Little Eaton made their telephone box an integral part of their East Midlands in Bloom entry by filling it with plants.
There is a village in the Pennines – Upper Hopton – whose telephone box continues life as a year round plant, theatre and exhibition area with special occasions marked with splendid displays – Easter, Wimbledon, Halloween, Hopton in Bloom Calendar sales, Christmas etc.
In 2014 the HIB team marked ‘Le Grande Départ’ as the Tour de France passes their doorsteps with an appropriately themed floral display. Here’s just three of their ever-changing boxes…
Art Box Project 2012
These pictures show how some of Britain’s leading creative talents transformed the classic red phone box. More than 80 artists put their mark on the iconic K6 kiosk.