Answer the call and save jubilee red phone box in Crowland

A campaign has started to save a piece of Crowland history and keep it for future generations.

Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 6:00 am
Save Our Phone Box in Crowland campaigners (from left) Sue Keeney, Hazel Tack, Dave Grundy, Daniel Abbott, Coun Nigel Pepper, Simon Harris, Coun Jim Astill and David Searle. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG070117-219TW. ANL-170701-194049001.

The fate of the last red telephone box standing in Crowland’s West Street has led to a joint efforts by the public and councillors to buy it for just £1.

Designed by celebrated English architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the red telephone box was created to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935.

Daniel Abbott (37), of Crowland, who has set up a ‘Save Our Telephone Box’ page on social media, said: “We used to have several red telephone boxes in Crowland.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“But due to new technology and everybody now using mobile phones, red telephone boxes have disappeared over time and the only one left in Crowland is in West Street.

“In my mind, it’s a historical artefact that should be saved for historical reasons and Crowland Community Hub (formerly Crowland Library) is willing to donate £1 to keep it going.

“All we need to do now is convince Crowland Parish Council to agree a deal to keep it because it’s on their land.”

BT launched an Adopt a Kiosk scheme in 2008, encouraging communities to adopt a phone box for a nominal £1 fee to cover legal requirements.

John Hayes MP shows his support for Crowland's Save Our Red Telephone Box Campaign. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG060117-136TW.

Since the scheme’s launch, more than 3,500 phone boxes have been adopted and turned into art galleries, defibrillator points and information centres.

Coun Jim Astill, South Holland District Council member for Crowland, said: “I’ve been discussing this issue with Daniel Abbott since we became aware of the BT consultation to discontinue and remove this particular phone box.

“We have some ideas of what the box could be used for, but first we would need to adopt it through BT and, in order to do this, we need the assistance of either a registered charity or Crowland Parish Council.

“We’ve engaged with Crowland Community Hub and written to the parish council as Daniel has got a few interested people rounded up who could help coordinate whatever we decide to use it for.

John Hayes MP shows his support for Crowland's Save Our Red Telephone Box Campaign. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG060117-136TW.

“Ideas so far for the phone box includes using it as a small time capsule which all of Crowland could contribute to, a secondhand book exchange, somewhere to exhibit local art or display information about Crowland’s past and present.”

Coun Nigel Pepper, Lincolnshire County Council member for Crowland, said: “Over the years, the phone box has suffered numerous minor attacks of vandalism.

“My own thoughts, once secured, is to maybe move it to a more prominent position nearer the centre of Crowland.”

The campaign to save Crowland’s red telephone box has the “complete and enthusiastic support” of John Hayes MP who has one of the “historical artefacts” himself.

Mr Hayes said: “It’s a very important British design icon and I have a red telephone box in my own garden which I purchased some time ago.

“In fact, I’d like to see all the red telephone boxes in South Holland listed and I’m happy to write to BT and suggest that.

“Telephone boxes are less popular than they once were, but they are one of the few pieces of street furniture that we got right in the 20th century.”

But a note of caution was added by Crowland district councillor Bryan Alcock who said: “Whilst conserving heritage is an admirable aspiration for those interested in the future use of the box, the day-to-day cleaning, maintenance and long-term repairs gives one concern.”

Should the red telephone box be saved? Email [email protected] or comment at