Lewisham phone box transformed into mini library

Residents in Lewisham have rescued a rare telephone box from abandonment and transformed it into a community mini library.

The Dacre telephone box is from 1927 and can be found at Kingswood Place in Lewisham.

The telephone box was abandoned, but residents opted to work together and rescue it.

It is now used as a mini library, where books can be donated, borrowed or exchanged.

Painting, decorating and electrical workers; Gary Hampshire and Lance Rushton, helped the residents with restoration- alongside carpenter Mark Cheeseman.

The phone box was officially relaunched on Sunday, December 12 by Blackheath Ward councillor Juliet Campbell and Lewisham East MP Janet Dably.

The event marked the end of a two-year restoration project overseen by the Friends of Dacre Telephone Box (FDTB), which was supported by Blackheath Society and funding from Lewisham Council’s Blackheath Assembly.

Trisha O’Reilly, the FDTB chair said: “Blackheath Society helped us buy the telephone box from BT while the Council funding was crucial to pay for the repair work that needed to be done as the box was in a sorry state.

“We ran the box as a mini-library during lock-down, before it was restored, and the feedback from the local community was tremendous.

“Many saw it as a lifeline and missed it when we had to close for the refurbishment, so it’s wonderful to have it up and running again.

Blackheath Ward Councillor Juliet Campbell said: “This is a great example of people coming together to build a community service.

“Strong communities look out for and care about each other. “This telephone box service is a case of people seizing the opportunity to enhance their local area by making sure their community has access to books suitable for the whole family.”

Howard Shields, Blackheath Society committee member, said: “The Blackheath Society is delighted to be able to support this wonderful initiative by the local community.

“It will be an important part of enhancing the character of this special part of Blackheath with its nearby links to historic St Margaret’s Church and Boone’s Almshouses’.”

The Dacre Telephone Box is an example of the first public telephone boxes to be installed in the United Kingdom. Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, there were originally 1,700 of this ‘K2’ type of phone box introduced after 1926 – but today only about 200 remain.

This Is Local London | News