Proposed adoption of Bellfield Street BT Phone Box

This blog documents the proposed and hopeful adoption of the Bellfield Street phone box, Portobello, Edinburgh.  The kiosk is earmarked for decommissioning by British Telecom in the near future and it is hoped that Portobello Community Council will adopt it on behalf of the local community.    The intention is to initally restore the phone box – an iconic example of British design – and preserve it for the community.  Subsequently the aim is to convert it into “The Light Box” – by installing lights within the kiosk to illuminate images on the glass created by artists, school children or whatever the community chooses.  

A small team of volunteers – Portobello residents – are being recruited to both restore the phone box and maintain it. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, or want to get involved, please fill out the form below:

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2 Responses to Proposed adoption of Bellfield Street BT Phone Box

  1. Paul Slifer says:

    I was walking by the phone box this evening when a possible idea for the box came to me. Considering the iconic and antiquated nature of the phone box, I was thinking that a ‘voices from the past’ installation might be interesting. I was picturing the interior decorated like a sitting room from the 40’s. Old wallpaper, old pictures of Porty and Porty people in frames hung on the walls, illumminated by a single bulb covered by an antique lampshade. The viewer would enter the box and sit on a chair or stool that would be an appropriate size for the box. On the wall that used to hold the old phone would be a small shelf holding an antique phone at a comfortable height for the viewer to be seated and handle the phone. When the viewer lifts the receiver from the phone, stories from Porty’s past would be told by the people who lived them. One story of interest that I read recently at our Library was about at JU 88 Junkers that flew down portobello high st. at very low altitude, with two spitfires on it’s tail firing their machine guns. From what I gathered from the story, this happened in broad daylight, with houses being peppered by gun fire and a painter/decorator being hit while painting windows. Can you imagine how terrifying that must have been for the residents then? It’d be great to hear and record an eyewitness from that day and present it to the public. That’s just one idea for a recorded story. There can be others that cover lighter subject matter! Anyways, just throwing this idea out there.

  2. Hi Paul
    Great idea, thanks for taking the time to post. I’m not sure how resilient an exhibit would be that allows access inside the box, especially considering the urban location. However, I really like the thought of the box being a repository for stories such as this. We’re currently investigating installing an array of monitors which could be configured to display – well – anything really. This type of story telling could work as a multi-media audio/visual clip that is played on demand.

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