Preston's iconic red phone boxes given the green light for refurbishment

Preston City Council has given the green light for the refurbishment of the nine iconic red phone boxes on Market Street.

Situated outside the former post office building on Market Street, the phone boxes were acquired by the City Council in 2021 and in December 2023 an application was submitted for Listed Building Consent for their refurbishment.

Originally designed by British architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1932 to mark the Silver Jubilee of the Coronation of King George V in 1935, the cast iron kiosks are the longest line of red telephone boxes in the UK and are Grade II listed.

This project forms part of the wider Harris Quarter Towns Fund Investment Programme which was awarded £20.9 million from the Government's national Towns Fund initiative in March 2021.

The Council will now undertake the necessary restoration works to enable the phone boxes to be utilised for creative installations to complement vibrancy of the Harris Quarter, working in partnership with local artists.

Chris Hayward, Director of Development and Housing at Preston City Council said: "The red telephone boxes are very special to the city and are an iconic and unique piece of the city's history.

‘’We are in a fortunate position to finally be able to restore them sympathetically and we hope to have some wonderful new uses for them in the near future, working with local businesses and the creative arts."

John Bridge from Studio John Bridge Architects has provided architectural drawings for the phone boxes which informed the application for Listed Building Consent.

Speaking about their restoration, he said: "I am delighted to have supported the Council's work in restoring these historic assets. As a proud Prestonian myself, I am passionate about the City's cultural heritage and it will be great to see them brought back to life and safeguarded for future generations to enjoy."

John Chesworth, Chair of the Towns Fund Board said: "It will be great to see the telephone boxes brought to life, bringing a vibrancy to the city centre and another reason to visit the historic and cultural Harris Quarter when they are completed."

The Council will now go out to market for a specialist contractor to undertake the work. It is anticipated that the restoration will commence before the end of the year and it is anticipated that the phone boxes will be transported off site for the period of restoration.

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