By Daniel Bird
This is the UK’s only phonebox graveyard – where the iconic red boxes are sent to be given a new lease of life.
Company X2 Connect, in Newark, Notts, lovingly renovate the national symbols back to their original standard before they are sold on to rock stars and royals.
The business also restores and refurbish some of the boxes for BT and local authorities and sell others to commercial companies all over the world.
Since opening 15 years ago, X2 have refurbished more than 600 red phone boxes in total – with each taking an average of four weeks to painstakingly restore, following a delivery from BT – they are sent away externally to be stripped of any paint. They are then painted off site before being returned to X2 where the Crown is hand painted in gold. Four coats of paint are used for the famous red gloss.
Richard Parker, director of X2 Connect, said “One of our most famous clients was a popular member of the sixties’ most popular band.
“We’ve also sold one to a Saudi dignitary.
“We’ve had some random clients, including a chap who wanted a kiosk to use as a shower next to his swimming pool near Sydney, Australia.”
The Red Phone Box was originally designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott for the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935, henceforth becoming known as ‘The Jubilee Box’.
Originally granted the restoration contact by BT in 2012, BT surveyed the UK in 2012 to find out what the ultimate British design symbol was – and found the telephone kiosk came out on top.
But thanks to the advent of mobile phones, working red phone boxes are becoming a thing of the past – with just an estimated 8000 left in the UK.
Richard added: “It’s an iconic item, lots of people want to purchase them.
“We’ve been taken back by the number of enquiries from abroad, about 40 per cent of our orders come overseas.
“I think there’s people of a certain age who have certain memories connected with a telephone box – it was the only form of communication back in the day.”