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The Story of a Listed Phone Box

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Telephone Box, Lynsted Street

King George VI K6 Telephone Kiosk (Outside the Post Office). Now redundant as a phone-box, nevertheless retention of the old-style red-phone-box was considered by residents as essential to the look and feel of Lynsted Street. There was a strong resistance to either its 'modernisation' or total removal.

Pictured here in the 1980s with David Bage and Rodney Secundus, who lived nearly opposite the phone box for fifty years and felt strongly that it should be protected (thanks to Fred Nixon for the photograph). As David Nixon tells us, Rodney Secundus was the son of Folly, his own much loved cocker spaniel. He added, "when British Telecom became a separate entity from the GPO, Lynsted sub postmaster was paid a peppercorn rent for the ground it occupied and the princely sum of a couple of shillings for cleaning it out!"

Lynsted George VI telephone box
The 1986 colour photograph (right) was shared with the Society by Myra Scott who is also a long-standing resident of the Village and who also shared her family's story and links with Stedlyn Farm. Lynsted Telephone box 1986

29th August 1986, Evening News (thanks to Jean Waters).

By Elaine Jones. Villagers are fighting to keep a corner of their picturesque community forever old-fashioned England.
They are upset because British Telecom bosses plan to swop their traditional bright red 1936 telephone box in The Street, Lynsted, near Sittingbourne, for a brand new streamlined smoked-glass kiosk.
Now Swale councillors have backed them up by slapping a Building Preservation Order on the box, giving it a temporary reprieve while the Department of the Environment decides whether to make it Kent's first listed kiosk.
Chairman of Lynsted Parish Council, David Bage, has lived in the village for 32 years in one of its many historic listed buildings.
He didn't realise at first that so many of the 200 village residents would feel so strongly about plans to scrap the old box.
"On the other hand we do tend to be very conscious of anything that looks like spoiling the village. After all, we are a little microcosm of the past here and we want to keep it that way," he said.
Owners of the land where the telephone box stands are Major John Rees and his wife, Margaret. They ran the former sub-Post Office in the village - a Grade II listed building - until about a month ago.
Mrs Rees said she and her husband were "delighted" that people were making an effort. She thought it was a good idea to try and keep the old-style box for future generations.
British Telecom spokesman Andrew White said: "We are not changing the box for the sake of it. We are keen to reduce vandalism and give better access for the disabled, for instance."
There are at least eight listed telephone boxes in the country but I doubt this one will meet the Department's criteria for preserving them."
Mr White gave an assurance that British Telecom had no intention of steamrollering the feelings of the villagers.

Lynsted Telephone box campaign

(Shared by Myra Scott)

VILLAGERS CALL FOR A LISTED PHONE BOX
A village is trying to save its traditional red telephone kiosk - by making it a listed building.
Lynsted Parish Council has approached a sympathetic Swale Council to look at the possibilities of making it Kent's first listed kiosk.
Parish council chairman, Mr. David Bage, said he did not want the present pre-second World War, King George the sixth kiosk replaced by one of British Telecom's new plastic "monstrosities".
British Telecom wants the existing kiosk on the south side of the village near the site of the old post office, a grade two listed building, replaced as part of its modernization programme.
It is prepared to oppose the kiosk becoming a listed building if the matter comes before the Department of the Environment for a decision.
A spokesman said the kiosk did not seem to fulfil the requirements of being historically or architecturally interesting.
She added: It is 50 yards from the sewage works and is sited on private land.
No other kiosks in Kent have been made listed buildings, although some in London and other cities are thought to have achieved that status. "I think this is a one-off", added the spokesman.
Mr. Bage said he and other villagers believed a new kiosk would be an eyesore in a village which contained many listed buildings.

Telephone box listed building campaign

"DIAL 'V' FOR VICTORY. VILLAGERS WIN BATTLE TO SAVE 'LITTLE RED BOX'
A Swale village has won its fight to have its telephone box designated a listed building and residents are delighted.
The six-month struggle ended this month when Lynsted villagers were told the Department of Environment had decided to list the little red box.
Parish Council chairman Mr. David Bage said: "We have fought for it to stay and we have won. It was amazing the feeling there was in the village about the box."
Villagers were angry when British Telecom announced it was to replace the kiosk and refused to allow it to be replaced by a "plastic monstrosity".
Swale Council came to their aid to save the pre-second World War King George VI box immediately slapped on a temporary preservation order.
That was in September last year. A month later, the parish council was told by the Department of the Environment that it would consider listing the box if it could be proved it was there in 1939.
Locals rushed to the council's aid and there were soon two signed affidavits supporting the application - one from an elderly resident who said he could remember using it for courting before the Second World War.
British Telecom said after the decision that it did not accept the box met all the "normal" criteria required for a building to be listed.
A spokesman said "B.T. has always recognized that some kiosks would merit retention because of special historical or architectural importance or because of their contribution to the setting.
"But this is a unique situation and the preservation order has been given out at the discretion of the Department of the Environment."
The first box to be listed was at London Zoo last summer.

(shared with the Society by Myra Scott)

Campaign win for lynsted phone kiosk

 


Historic Environment Record (H.E.R.)

HER Number: TQ 96 SW 1194
Grade II listed building. Main construction periods 1926 to 1946
Grid Reference: TQ 9427 6076
Map Sheet: TQ96SW
Protected Status: Listed Building (II) 1253516: KING GEORGE VI K6 TELEPHONE KIOSK (OUTSIDE POST OFFICE)

TQ 96 SW LYNSTED THE STREET
2/191 King George VI K6 Telephone Kiosk (outside post office) -
GV II
Telephone kiosk. c1936 K6 type. Cast iron and glazed telephone kiosk with marginal glazing bars on 3 sides and leather and metal pintle hinges. Domed top with word "telephone" on panels on all four sides and Crown of George VI.

Reference: English Heritage, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (Scheduling record)