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BT Ask UK Communities to Adopt Old Local Phone Boxes for £1.. Again

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 (10:40 am) - Score 4,010

BT has once again called upon local communities from across England and Wales to help adopt one of their old public phone boxes, many of which are now standing disused, for just £1 in order to “turn them into something inspirational” for their local area (i.e. a change of use from being adopted as a public toilet by revellers).

The “Adopt a Kiosk” programme has been running since 2008 and last June the operator revealed that 5,000 had already been adopted through this approach, with some being installed with lifesaving defibrillators and others becoming tiny discos (here), mini-libraries, miniature art museums, cake shops and information centres.

Despite this BT has today said that they’ve still got 3,600 traditional red boxes available for adoption across England (c.5,800 have already been adopted), plus 400 in Wales (c.400 have already been adopted) and 740 in Scotland (c.370 have already been adopted), although at their height the operator had something like 92,000 public payphones across the UK (today the figure is believed to be closer to 30,000 to 40,000 and half of those are loss making, with many due to be scrapped).

BT have said they will provide free electricity (if already in place) to power the light for adopted kiosks or as housings for defibrillators.

Katherine Bradley, BT’s Senior Payphones Manager, said:

“We’re pleased to be giving even more local communities the chance to adopt a phone box. With more than 5,800 payphones now adopted across the UK, this is a fantastic opportunity for communities to own a piece of history.

The opportunities are endless and we’ve already seen some amazing transformations. Applying is easy and quick and we’re always happy to speak to communities about adopting our traditional BT red payphone boxes.”

Meanwhile BT are also replacing more than 1,000 payphones in major cities across the UK with new digital hubs called (InLinks), which offer free ultrafast public WiFi, free UK phone calls, USB device charging and more.

Region No of red boxes available for adoption
South West 970
Scotland 741
London 555
South East 497
Yorkshire and The Humber 433
Wales 419
East of England 368
West Midlands 282
East Midlands 273
North West 267
North East 38
Total 4,843

Leave a Comment
14 Responses
  1. Joe says:

    We have our village box as a defibrillator. Thankfully in English – not sure why on earth they’ve done that in Welsh as practically no one whose Welsh doesn’t speak English but the reverse isn’t the same.

    1. StillWaitingForSuperFast says:

      I dont know a word of Welsh but even I could work out that its a defibrillator…

    2. Joe says:

      A not de minimus % of the pop won’t realise that. And at least when lives matter thats not imo a good thing.

    3. Jon Jones says:

      The kiosk in the picture is in Pandy Tudur, a rural village in the county of Conwy, in which more than 50% of the population would be Welsh speakers. So it’s only natural it would be in the native language of the area. For purposes of comparison, in a Spanish speaking area, it would be desfibrilador. French, défibrillateur. In most of Italy, defibrillatore. etc, etc (latin). Always entertained by how some monoglot English speakers fear other languages and cultures.

    4. CarlT says:

      It’s fine. The English can do what they always do if they don’t know the language – talk more slowly and loudly and point a lot.

    5. Joe says:

      Poor comparison Jon. While many people in wales don’t speak welsh (and conwy is by no means off the tourist trail for outsiders anyway) exceptionally few don’t speak English (<0.3% in the whole of Eng & W @ last census) even if they also speak welsh as and first or second language. Indeed depending on the figure you choose 11% (Welsh Language Use Survey for 2013/14) speak W fluently. So making a comparison to France, where unsurprisingly, the pop speak French pretty widely is false.

      So using the language most likely to be spoken by anyone seeing it is common sense in an emergency scenario. Its the same logic we employ for Using English is standard in many areas like for example air traffic control.

    6. Mike says:

      It’s in Welsh so they can revive the sheep after they’ve ‘exhausted’ it 😉

    7. Chris says:

      Snap, ours also has a defibrillator and also a little lending library of books (well, just a small shelf really). It did get valdalised though and cost a lot to repair. Still, it is a good use for the box and it is a good landmark for giving directions by.

    8. John says:

      There are 2 official languages in Wales and they have parity of esteem. I’m pretty sure any instructions in the box will be in English and Welsh. Survival of the language is a sensitive subject for many and it’s a shame that comments here revert to the universality of English ergo no need for anything else. The person who commented about sheep would do well to rescind it. It’s not a joke and it’s pretty offensive.
      As for BTs offer – it looks generous, but the cost to them of taking away boxes is significant. There will be a tail of residual cost for any community which adopts a box. If it’s not going to rust away it will need to be shot blasted, primed and painted. Any broken glass panels will have to be removed or replaced. There’s a lot. Each is fixed in with brass rivets. There are possible insurance implications.

  2. Declan says:

    Why not just leave the phoneboxes if not adopted, they are a iconic part of britian. Oh wait i just remembered this is BT again they would rather rip them out the ground and get scrap money for them.

    1. TheFacts says:

      And still be responsible for it? Better the community find a use for it.

    2. TheJono says:

      Most phone rural boxes are unused. The one in our village (when we went to get it listed) had not had a single call made from it for several years – at least 3). Yes, they are an iconic part of Britain, but BT is a commercial organisation not a heritage trust and therefore has no obligation to maintain something that costs money for no return. It is very admirable that they are offering them to local communities and even more so that they will continue to pay for electricity to power light and a defib.

    3. Chris says:

      We have poor mobile coverage in our village but I guess if there was an emergency then the person in need would just knock on a house door. Hard to justify keeping these boxes operational I think. They probably could be ripped up and sold with a profit so it is better they are offered to local communities. I’m not a BT fan at all but this policy is OK by me.

  3. Glenys williams says:

    Could you giveme some information about our kiosk please as someone wants to move the old kiosk and a lady told me she had adopted the kiosk for a 1£ some years ago, would it be possible for you to give me the information, as to the name of the lady thank you,

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