Banbury Phone Box Library: the epilogue

The books were still left in the box as the Banbury Guardian went to press
The books were still left in the box as the Banbury Guardian went to press

BT confirmed last week that it was calling time on the Banbury phone box library, and now its creator is keen to thank everyone for their support.

The book exchange in the red phone box just outside St John’s Church in South Bar was set up last summer and residents have been fighting the telecom giant’s decision to issue an eviction notice due to health and safety.

Banbury Town Council offered to adopt the box but only if it would still have a working phone – something BT stood firmly against.

The anonymous man behind the project said: “The whole thing has made me really proud of our community.

“It’s lovely that our town embraced this idea and it’s lovely too, that when BT offered us that phonebox as a community library, we stood firm against the idea, knowing that it wasn’t right because it would mean stitching up all the people in our town who still used that phone.

“I hope the phone box library does have a legacy. I hope that, as a town, we remember to share the things that others might enjoy and that we always do our best to make each other smile.

“Those values are important. I hope everyone remembers, that when you give a little love, it all comes back to you.”

A World Book event was planned to take place today (Thursday) – giving away specially produced books to readers who might be interested.

Meanwhile town resident and barrister, Steve Molloy, has highlighted an adopted phone box in Purton, Wiltshire, that was allowed to retain a telephone service for local calls. He has also suggested marking the 80th anniversary of Sir Giles Gilbert-Scott’s classic K6 red telephone kiosk design, by restoring the interior of the box to its original layout, which includes two substantial fixed shelves.

A spokesman said BT is considering the next steps but that it remains convinced that dual use is not the right approach.