BT puts traditional phoneboxes in Calderdale up for 'adoption' by their communities

It could be the best £1 you've ever spent.

Sunday, 21st March 2021, 7:00 am

Over 300 phoneboxes in Yorkshire have been put up for adoption by BT as their use dwindles in the age of mobile and digital communications - including the last of the remaining traditional and quintessentially British red design.

They are available for community groups or organisations who are able to pay just £1 to acquire a box and convert it into an alternative function such as a library or miniature exhibition space.

The Adopt a Kiosk programme has been running since 2008 and 443 boxes in Yorkshire have already been transformed into facilities such as museums, art galleries and book exchanges.

Opening of the Warley Village Museum, in an old phone box in 2016

Modern glass boxes can also be used to house defibrillators.

BT Enterprise unit director Sarah Walker said: “With most people now using mobile phones, it’s led to a huge drop in the number of calls made from payphones. At the same time, mobile coverage has improved significantly in recent years due to investment in masts, particularly in rural areas.

“We’re currently rationalising our payphone estate to make it fit for the future, and the Adopt a Kiosk scheme makes it possible for local communities in Yorkshire and the Humber to retain their local phonebox, with a refreshed purpose for the community.

“Thousands of communities have already come up with a fantastic array of ideas to re-use their beloved local phonebox. Applying is quick and easy and we’re always happy to speak to communities about adopting our phoneboxes.”

One of the phone boxes to be adopted in Calderdale is in Warley which has been dubbed the world's smallest museum.

Members of Warley Community Association restored the phone box and wanted to use it for something different, after researching the uses of other adopted boxes - including book exchanges and defibrillators.

The work and planning was carried out by Mrs Bailey, her joiner husband Doug, and Warley artists Paul and Chris Czainski.

The areas of Yorkshire with the highest concentrations of remaining redundant boxes are rural districts such as Richmondshire, Harrogate and Ryedale where mobile phone network coverage was poor until recently.

A recognised public body such as a town or parish council can adopt a box, as can a charity or an individual who owns the land the box is built on. BT will continue to provide power to the box free of charge.

The kiosks on the market

Barnsley - 5

Bradford - 13

Calderdale - 6

Craven - 27

Doncaster - 3

East Riding of Yorkshire - 28

Hambleton - 11

Harrogate - 47

Kirklees - 20

Leeds - 13

Richmondshire - 35

Rotherham - 6

Ryedale - 64

Scarborough - 16

Selby - 7

Sheffield - 17

Wakefield - 4

York - 6