History

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The exact date this phone box was installed is not known but it would have been after 1936.

This is a K6 phone box – a design created by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935 and 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/

At their peak, there were around 92,000 phone boxes in the UK, but now 96% of UK adults own a mobile phone. There are currently 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. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-59219078

About 6,000 kiosks have been adopted by local authorities for other purposes, such as book exchanges.

Originally this phone box was located closer to the steps to the station and more or less opposite The Royal Hotel entrance. In 1998, when the Royal Hotel extended their car park, the fish and chip shop next to the Bethel Chapel wall 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 this part of East the Water. 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 (Riverside Bistro)

August 2021 the phone box was adopted by Way of the Wharves CIO. Working with East the Water in Bloom to conserve the kiosk and create a community resource celebrating horticulture and heritage.