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Devon town finds innovative way to make phone boxes cool again

Tuesday, June 5th 2018 by Oprah Flash

As part of BT’s Adopt a Kiosk programme, Kingsbridge Town Council has transformed a traditional red phone box into the world’s smallest nightclub.

The once redundant phone box is situated on Fore Street, Kingsbridge, where it is hoped it will become a hotspot for revellers and music lovers.

Within the last 10 years, the use of payphones has declined by 90%, and yes you guessed it, we have the widespread availability of mobile phones and tariffs to thank. Last year, Ofcom found 94% of adults own a mobile phone and 76% of these are smartphone owners.

To preserve the much-loved traditional red phone box, BT set up the Adopt a Kiosk programme in 2008, in a bit to help communities revamp the kiosks that are no longer needed as a payphone. To take ownership, a local council or community group must buy the red phone box from BT for £1.

'Really eye catching'

Standing at 8 feet 3 inches tall on a 3 feet 6 inches square base, you might not meet your future life partner in this nightclub, as it can only fit one person at a time. The K6 phone box in the Devon town, has been decked out with a glitter ball, lighting and sound system, all paid for by BT.

You can’t make calls but it’s all for a good cause as the phone box will play tunes such as ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ by Blondie (1978) and “Telephone Line” by Electric Light Orchestra (1976), when you pay £1 using the dial-a disc system. All funds raised will go to @115, a local charity supporting adults with learning difficulties.

Councillor Chris Povey, of Kingsbridge Town Council, said: “This red phone box is an important part of Kingsbridge’s heritage and we were determined to keep it, but we also wanted to do something different with it - something really eye catching so we came up with making it the world’s smallest nightclub.

“Very importantly, it will also help raise funds for a Kingsbridge charity, which provides a vital service for the local community.”

'Unusual and clever idea'

As part of the Adopt a Kiosk scheme, 5,000 phone boxes across the UK have been ‘adopted’. The Red phone box was first designed in 1924 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott for a competition. The K6 design, that you may be more familiar with, was redesigned by Scott in celebration of George V's Silver Jubilee in 1935.

The iconic phone box is integral to British culture, how else would Dr Who travel through time? If it wasn’t for the phone box, the wizards in Harry Potter would be stood around like numpties trying to enter the Ministry of Magic in plain sight of muggles (by the way, you have to dial 62442 to get in).

Katherine Bradley, commercial and operations manager for BT Payphones, said: “Congratulations to the people of Kingsbridge for coming up with such an unusual and clever idea.

“The Adopt a Kiosk programme has proved to be a huge success. 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.”

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