Thanks to the hard work of the Heswall Society and the generosity of Heswall residents the telephone kiosk in the Lower Village has now been adopted officially on behalf of the community.
Heswall Today’s Just Giving campaign raised £425 in July last year, while customers of the Lower Village shop responded kindly to a campaign organised by owner Caroline Cartwright. The money will prove indispensable as the process of restoration begins.
Roger Lane of the Heswall Society says: “It took a while to jump through various legal hoops, but thanks to the amazing support of local solicitor Richard Wynne Davies and local architect Nick Ellis we are now ready to go.
“We are grateful to the owner of the land on which the kiosk stands, the City of Liverpool Investment Company, for providing a long lease at a peppercorn rent. DBK Builders have kindly agreed to fit a replacement wooden door frame, and a painter will try to paint the kiosk before he goes on holiday later in the month.
“All the necessary repair parts, down to the brass rivets needed to restore the missing internal window frames are on the way.
“It’s all hands to the pump. Marie in the Lower Village Garage has kindly agreed to take receipt of these when delivered. The undercoat is already with Caroline in the Village Shop, and the special red top coat is also on the way.
“We will pick out the four crowns at the top with gold paint, which is now a BT recommendation as the heritage value of these kiosks has been recognised.”
The iconic British red phone box was the result of a competition held in 1924 to design a telephone box suitable for London Metropolitan Boroughs. Architect Giles Gilbert Scott took the honours and the box, known as the K2, started to be installed in London two years later. It was the Post Office’s idea to paint them red. Because of the expense of manufacturing them, not many K2’s got beyond the capital.
Hence the Lower Heswall box is a K6. Introduced in 1935 to commemorate the silver jubilee of King George V, it was a smaller version of the K2 and was installed across the country. It is the most recognised box, if not as coveted as its predecessor.
More than 240,000 red telephone boxes were built between the 1920’s and 1980’s, but during the 80’s and 90’s many red boxes were replaced with aluminium ones like the kiosk at Heswall Cross. Only 9400 K6’s are left standing.
Roger Lane adds: “On behalf of the Heswall Society I would like to propose a big vote of thanks to everyone who contributed to the crowdfunding campaign organised by Heswall Today. The money donated is being very well spent, saving a little piece of our history to be enjoyed now and in the future.
“We are aiming to stage an official opening in early October.”
Saving and restoring a K6 telephone box is a pleasing example of what a community can do to safeguard its heritage.
Who knows what else we could do?