Ceiriog Valley phone boxes find new lease of life

Reporter:

Emily Davies

Iconic red telephone boxes, victims of the mobile phone revolution, are being put back into use in rural villages.

By the 1980s there were over 80,000 of them around the country before the rise of the mobile phone led to them becoming largely redundant.

But now, thanks to a special project launched by rural regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd, they are experiencing a new lease of life across the rural areas of Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham, which includes the Ceiriog Valley.

Up to five telephone boxes in each county will be re-purposed at a cost of £3,000 each to provide a range of services to locals and visitors in countryside villages with local communities raising some of the necessary cash.

Sarah Jones, Cadwyn Clwyd Environment and Heritage Officer, said: “The project arose from BT information about adopting a telephone box and a number of our communities showed interest.”

In those villages, where for years they were often the only contact with the outside world, they have taken on a role housing bicycle pumps, books and brochures, defibrillators and dog poo bags. They are also tourist information points offering brief histories of the area along with details of points of interest, recommendations for visits and walks and the flora and fauna found locally.

Sarah continued: “We have put in a block application for the three counties of Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham and we have £15,000 for each county, enough to kit out five boxes in each with local communities also making a contribution of £750.

“It has been a really good project and one we’ve been delighted to be involved with because this gives a new and useful lease of life to these wonderful and historic pieces of street furniture.

“They have been part of the fabric of our villages and countryside for decades and thanks to this they will continue to play a part in local life.”

The project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

The kiosks were originally designed by the famous architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott whose great works include Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, Waterloo Bridge and Battersea Power Station.

Email:

emily.davies@nwn.co.uk

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