The Red Kiosk Company, which restores and renovates Britain's iconic red phone boxes, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to sponsor and preserve five landmark local kiosks in cities across the UK this month. Over four weeks from 2nd March, the company and its charitable trust, Thinking Outside the Box, are raising £5,000 to refurbish each of the beloved phone booths in Brighton, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Liverpool and London.
There are over 9,000 red phone boxes spread across the UK. The famous 'K6' design created by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott has gained almost symbolic status, and was last year voted the greatest British design of all time in a poll that included the Routemaster bus, the Mini Cooper and even the Union flag.
The number of calls made from payphones has fallen dramatically over the last five years, leading many to fall into disuse. Since 2014, Red Kiosk Company has been working with BT to preserve the structures, converting several into 'micro-retail' outlets that sell coffee, ice cream and souvenirs. The company is also committed to protecting the remaining booths considered unsuitable for retail use.
If the campaign meets its target, Red Kiosk Company will guarantee to run a full refurbishment programme and maintain each of the phone boxes for the next five years. Donors contributing £25 or more will receive a personalised panel on the phone box that they have helped to save. Larger donations of more than £1200 will provide the donor with an entire side of the phone box to advertise their business or cause, as well as affording the opportunity to get the keys to their phone box, and use the space for the benefit of community projects.
We've already worked to preserve 140 red phone boxes around the country, and expect to oversee the refurbishment of 300 more within the next three years," says Eddie Ottewell, Red Kiosk Company co-founder. "They're part of our national identity, and we could lose them forever if we don't act to protect them. By getting involved in our campaign, donors will forever be part of the story of one of the true icons of British heritage."
Throughout the campaign, Red Kiosk Company will be sharing the stories of members of the public who remember using a phone box to make an urgent call, using the hashtag #phoneboxsavedme.
"Nearly everyone who remembers a time before mobile phones can recall being saved by a red phone box," Mr Ottewell continued. "Whether you were lost, needed to get hold of somebody or even had to shelter from the weather, we'd love to hear about it - now it's time for the British public to repay the favour."
If you'd like to help preserve the British red phone box, visit the crowdfunding campaign page.