The exact date this phone box was placed in East the Water is not known but it would have been after 1936, as that was the year the first K6 design phone boxes were installed in the UK.

The K6 phone box – a design created by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935 was first introduced in 1936. The GPO had restricted the installation of earlier phone box models on the grounds of cost, but with the K6 they actively sought to install kiosks more widely. To that end the GPO established a number of schemes, starting with the Jubilee Concession, which sought to make a kiosk available to all towns and cities with a Post Office. See more history of phone boxes at: http://www.the-telephone-box.co.uk/story/

There were two phone boxes in East the Water, this one close to the railway station and bridge and another up Torrington Lane.

Original site by the Eagle Tavern Cafe

Originally this phone box was located next to the Eagle Tavern Cafe, which was in what is now the Royal Hotel Car Park, next to the wall of the Bethel Chapel.

In 1998, when the Royal Hotel extended their car park, the Eagle Tavern Cafe was demolished to make space. British Telecom wanted to remove the phone box entirely but the council planning department refused to allow this, as it was still an important means of communication for the community. A new site for the box was agreed in its current location, around the corner in Torrington Street, next to the Bethel Chapel and opposite the Swan public house.

Photos showing phone box outside the Eagle Tavern Cafe and in 1998 during demolition before phone box moved to its current location

In August 2021 the phone equipment was removed by BT and the phone box was adopted by Way of the Wharves CIO. Working together with East the Water in Bloom the two organisations will conserve the kiosk and create a community resource celebrating horticulture and heritage with artwork, information and an audio archive of phone box stories.

Phone boxes

At their peak, there were around 92,000 phone boxes in the UK. Now, when 96% of UK adults own a mobile phone, there are still about 21,000 call boxes across the country. For people without a mobile, or for those in areas with poor mobile coverage, these can be a lifeline for making calls to friends and family, helpline services and accessing emergency services. 

Almost 150,000 calls were made to emergency services from phone boxes in the year to May 2020, while 25,000 calls were made to Childline, and 20,000 to the Samaritans. About 6,000 kiosks have been adopted by local authorities for other purposes, such as book exchanges. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-59219078