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Phone box returns as BT answers call from Market Harborough

Published Wednesday 10 January 2018

A historic red telephone box is back on Market Harborough’s High Street.

The red kiosk, outside property consultants Fisher German, was taken away last year as part of a nationwide programme to remove underused public telephones.

BT Red phone box is back

But when local community group, Market Harborough In Bloom, said they could have used the kiosk to publicise voluntary services, Harborough District Council stepped in and approached BT for help.

This week (Tuesday 9 January) saw the newly adopted (by the district council) red phone box return, joining thousands of former red telephone boxes across the UK being put to inventive, new uses.

There’s no phone inside the kiosk, but Market Harborough In Bloom will now use it to publicise and raise awareness of the many voluntary groups and services on offer locally.

Councillor Phil King, deputy leader of Harborough District Council, said: “I am delighted that the efforts of the District Council have resulted in this classic red phone box being restored to the Market Harborough High Street. The fact it will be used by the Harborough in Bloom team in such a positive way is an added bonus.”

 Across the UK, thousands of red telephone boxes have been adopted for community use. They’re being put to a wide range of uses from mini libraries to art galleries and more and more are now being used to house defibrillators.

The number of calls made from payphones has declined in recent years, and so the number of payphones has reduced from around 90,000 in 2002 to around 40,000 this year, including around 7,000 red phone boxes.

There are also around 4,500 adopted red phone boxes – this is where a community takes over a decommissioned telephone kiosk for £1. They are then responsible for the upkeep and maintenance.

Mark Johnson, BT’s head of payphones, said: “We try to work closely with communities whenever possible to identify any opportunities for adoption. We’re pleased with this successful outcome here in Market Harborough and I’m sure the local voluntary sector will be delighted to have somewhere to raise awareness of the many worthwhile and important services available.”

For more information about red payphones and how community groups can adopt them, visit and search for ‘Adopt a Kiosk’.