Blakey Moor’s Grade II Listed red telephone box gets restored

Published Thursday 23 September 2021 at 16:18

As part of the Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Project, the iconic red telephone box next to the Ribblesdale Hotel is being lovingly restored to its former glory this week.

Unlike many others that have been decommissioned or removed altogether, Blackburn’s red box is still in use as a public telephone and maintained by BT.

Over the last few years however, the condition of the Grade II Listed box has deteriorated with rust, graffiti and broken windows leaving it in a sorry state.

The Townscape Heritage Project called in Lancashire based company A-Team to undertake the works after they recently completed similar projects in Manchester and Preston.

The work will see the box fully restored inside and out with materials kindly provided by BT.

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Telephone box located next to the restored Ribbledale Hotel

Councillor Riley, Executive Member for Regeneration said:

This is a well-known landmark in the area and an important heritage asset for the town. We are lucky to still have one, and I’m really pleased the Townscape Heritage Project has been able to fund its restoration.

Since starting work on Monday, Steve and Geoff from A-Team have been inundated with positive comments from people passing-by, and today local businesses who have been keen to see the box restored came out to give a helping hand.

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(L-R) Michael Mahon owner of Shh Bar, Steve Pratt owner of A Team and Mary Parker from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council give a helping hand to paint the telephone box at Blakey Moor.

Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1935 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V, the K6 telephone box is quintessentially British. The much loved a design classic, was once a familiar sight on streets across the country but is becoming increasing rare.

At one time there were as many as 73,000 red telephone boxes across the UK, but many were lost during the 70s and 80s when they were replaced with more modern kiosks, and originals melted down or sold off. Today only around 10,000 survive on the streets and as most people now have mobile phones, almost 7,000 of these are purely decorative or have been repurposed.

Photo 5 Red telephone box outside the former Ribblesdale Hotel

Historic picture of telephone box next to Ribblesdale

The Blakey Moor red phone box is one of only 3,000 that are Listed with Historic England, so will hopefully be here to stay.

The Townscape Heritage Project is a joint investment by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The restoration of the telephone box is part of a wider regeneration plan for the area that has already seen major public realm improvements around King George’s Hall, the restoration of historic properties on Northgate and Lord Street West and the ambitions plan to restore and redevelop the Blakey Moor Terrace next year.

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