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West Midlands dials up more than 450 phone box 'adoptions' as world's smallest night club makes it 5,000 in the UK

Press Release   •   Jun 05, 2018 16:44 BST

A reveller tries out the new-look phone box - now a night club - the 5000th to be 'adopted'

The much loved red telephone box is being given a new lease of life up and down the country as a result of a popular BT initiative.

From housing life-saving heartdefibrillators to being transformed into miniature art galleries and lending libraries,cafés, tourist information centres and sweet shops - redundant red phone boxes are being put back into use thanks to BT’s ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme.

Across the West Midlands around 455 phone boxes have now been transformed while 5000 have been adopted across the UK.

Katherine Bradley, commercial and operations manager for BT Payphones, said: “The Adopt a Kiosk programme has proved to be a huge success. With use of payphones declining by more than 90 per cent in the last decade, many phone boxes are no longer needed as working payphones. But villages and towns across the country have been keen to keep them because the red kiosks are often an integral part of the local community.

“Rather than leave the phone boxes empty, they have come up with a huge variety of uses, ranging from mini libraries and mini art galleries to tourist information centres and grocery shops - or the boxes have been equipped with the latest lifesaving heart defibrillator equipment.”

The ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ programme was introduced in 2008 for communities wanting to keep a traditional red phone box which is no longer needed as a payphone.

The UK’s 5,000th adoption took place in the Devon town of Kingsbridge where the town council has turned it into what is believed to be the world’s smallest nightclub.

Communities or individuals can ‘adopt’ or take ownership of a box for £1 if they are a:

  • recognised local authority, such as a district or borough council
  • parish, community, town council or equivalent
  • registered charity or community interest company
  • private land owner – anyone who has a BT telephone box on their land.

Individuals can also buy a red phone box through BT’s partner X2Connect. The most common use is for people to install them in their gardens – as tool sheds, swimming pool showers or other creative uses.

Further details are available at www.bt.com/adopt

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For more information please contact Emma Tennant at the BT Regional Press Office, on 0800 085 0660 or emma.tennant@bt.com

All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News

Notes to editors

Red Telephone Boxes

There are still about 5,500 working red payphones across the UK. The first incarnation of the red phone box was designed by architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott for a competition in 1924. This design, the K2, was introduced in 1926, predominantly in London. Ten years later Scott refined his design and the famous K6 or 'Jubilee Kiosk' was introduced nationwide to celebrate George V's Silver Jubilee.

The K2

  • Stands 9 feet 3 inches tall and sits on an area of 3 feet 6 inches square.
  • Weighs in at one and a quarter tons.
  • Made from cast iron with a hardwood door.
  • Has 3 sides glazed with 18 panes each of 32 oz glass.
  • New they cost £35.14s.0d each.

The K6

  • Stands at 8 feet 3 inches and sits on a base 3 feet square.
  • Weighs three quarters of a ton and again has a teak hardwood door.
  • There are 8 large panes and 16 small panes on each of the 3 sides.

Payphone use

Payphone use has been declining for many years primarily because of the use of mobile phones. BT is committed to providing a public payphone service, but with usage declining by over 90 per cent in the last decade, the company has continued to remove payphones which are no longer needed.

About BT

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For the year ended 31 March 2018, BT Group’s reported revenue was £23,723m with reported profit before taxation of £2,616m.

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