Calls made for red phone boxes to be preserved ‘as part of the town’s heritage’

Calls made for red phone boxes to be preserved ‘as part of the town’s heritage’

by Danielle Thompson (April 2021)

CALLS are being made for the two historic red telephone boxes next to Southport Town Hall to be preserved - as part of the town’s heritage.

Created by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also designed Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and Battersea Power Station, the red telephone box was, in 2006, voted as one of Britain’s top 10 design icons alongside the Supermarine Spitfire, the Mini and the London tube map.

Now a Southport Councillor wants to see the two resort boxes repaired and restored as a ‘critical part of Britain’s great telecommunications history’.

Cllr Sir Ron Watson raised his concerns over the two boxes at a recent meeting of the full Sefton Council.

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He submitted a question asking: “Is the Leader of the Council aware that the two iconic red telephone boxes outside Southport Town Hall are due to be sold by auction?

“Does he agree with me that these iconic structures should be refurbished, repainted and made secure as they form an important part of our heritage?

“Would he confirm that he will investigate ways in which some element of Council funding perhaps through some of the amounts available from the old Southport Area Committee budgets form part of a financial package?”

Cllr Sir Ron Watson said: “These structures represent a significant part of our heritage and not to have them in place as an historical reminder of our communications past really would be a very great shame and would be regretted by very many people.

“Whilst I accept that there might be some marginal cost involved in removing the existing equipment and replacing the glass with material that is vandal proof, I think that they would need to be locked and secured.

Resonate

“The fairly obvious point in addition to this is that they should be repainted in the red colour that has been a feature of street life for many years.

“There will be many people for whom ‘press button B’ will still resonate but it would also be helpful for the younger generation to be able to view what has been a critical part of telecommunications.

“I understand that these structures are currently being offered for sale but I think this should be stopped in the hope that voluntary bodies with an interest in preservation and our heritage could liaise with Sefton Council and the GPO owners to see if a joint co-operative scheme could be agreed.

“I very much hope that this concept will be taken onboard by the relevant people concerned and I would personally be prepared as a local councillor for the area to agree to a funding allocation from the very small amount of money over which we have some direct input in terms of spending even if the word for word criteria for such schemes were in any doubt.”

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