60 year old phone kiosk becomes communications hub in village
North Wiltshire MP James Gray unveiled a refurbished telephone kiosk at Purton on Friday 17 January following restoration by the the Parish Council and local data communications company Lde Digital Services (www.lde.co.uk).
The listed K6 telephone kiosk is located outside the public library in the village three miles from Swindon.
North Wilts MP James Gray cutting the ribbon on the phone box, right. Below, checking if it works with Bev and Ben Wildeboer of Lde. Photos by Richard Wintle of Calyx
The cast iron structure was manufactured by the Lion Foundry Company Ltd of Kirkintilloch in Scotland before 1952. The date has been determined by the fact that it carries the symbolic Tudor Crown which was replaced in 1952 by a representation of St Edward’s Crown.
When first installed, the K6 kiosk would have been connected to the old Purton telephone exchange located a few hundred yards away in Hyde Lane. It is now a private dwelling but with the words Telephone Exchange still clearly visible.
Structurally the ‘phone kiosk was sound but it had been vandalized with graffiti, broken windows, cracked cast iron mouldings and a smashed coin box.
Lde purchased the box for £1 but had to negotiate with both BT to install the modern equipment yet also overcome the requirements of listed building status to keep the phone box close to its original state.
Restored to its period glory the kiosk now sports fresh red paint, new windows and a new floor. And whilst it evokes times passed, inside the phone box has taken on a modern role, providing passers by with high speed WiFi internet access. Visitors will receive a mobile phone message welcoming them to the village.
A special information screen inside will provide a map and details of the locality. The kiosk will also feature a web cam giving the world a little window onto the centre of the village.
James Gray said phone boxes are an icon of Great Britain. "They are a brilliant piece of British design and construction which we should celebrate. We all struggle to find a wi-fi connection.
“I would like to think Purton will lead the way in utilising old features of our landscape with a modern use.”
See web cam images from the phone box
All photos by Richard Wintle of Calyx