Tuesday, 19 July 2011

News - Historic phonebox returns to town (Bassetlaw Museum)

An iconic red British telephone box has been donated to the Bassetlaw Museum.

The box was originally owned by Retford resident Julien Edson, who saved it from a telephone graveyard near Rotherham in the late 80s.

He said: “There’s a certain charm to the old telephone boxes, and I was always sad to see the kiosks being carted off to a breaker’s yard.”

After striking a deal, Mr Edison bought the box for £125 and got it delivered for free to his garden, where it has lived for the past 22 years.

But now this piece of history has been donated to the Bassetlaw Museum on Grove Street, where it has been restored by the council almost to its former glory.

It now stands proudly in the grounds of the Retford museum.

The red K6 kiosks were designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also drew the plans for Liverpool’s Anglian Cathedral and Battersea Power Station.

They are said to said to be particularly popular in America - their traditional vintage charm appealing to the likes of Rod Stewart and Tom Jones, who both own one.

In 1985 British Telecom withdrew the much-loved red boxes from the market and every one of the booths in Retford disappeared.

Museum curator Samantha Glasswell said they are thrilled to have such a nostalgic piece of British history back in the town.

“They used to be something that were on every street corner, and now they’re so rare,” she said.

“They were so much more than a phonebox - somewhere to meet the person of your heart’s desire, or shelter from the rain; they were a lot of fun,” she added.

Bassetlaw Council’s portfolio holder for environment and leisure Julie Leigh is hoping that the box can soon be completely restored.

“It’s always exciting when the Museum’s collection is enhanced, especially with objects representing part of our rich local heritage,” she said.

“It would be fantastic if we could complete the conservation of the phone box by fitting an original receiver and coin box, and perhaps there is a conservation-minded reader who could help us locate one.”

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