The Wenvoe Telephone Box
Our Grade II Listed Telephone Kiosk
In spite of being a relatively small village, Wenvoe has three listed buildings. Most will probably be aware of St. Mary’s Church (Grade II*) and the Old Rectory (Grade II), but perhaps less well known (and not another attempt at an April Fool) is our Grade II listed telephone kiosk.
Listed buildings are nationally important and of special interest. For a building to be included, it must be a man-made structure that survives in something at least approaching its original state. Other than buildings, structures such as bridges, monuments, sculptures, war memorials, and even milestones may also be listed.
The Wenvoe telephone box is a K6 (Kiosk 6) design. These cast-iron boxes were introduced in 1926, with our K6 version appearing in the 1930s. They were designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, the architect of the Battersea Power Station and Liverpool Cathedral. At its height there were 92,000 telephone boxes like this in the UK. The iconic booths began disappearing in the 1980s, when the privatisation of British Telecom and the rise of the mobile phone consigned most of them to the scrap heap.
Our telephone box shares its listed building status with some other iconic landmarks. Wenvoe has something in common with the famous Beatles Crossing in Abbey Road (an ideal question for the excellent annual St Mary’s Church quiz), recognised as Grade II in 2010 for its historical and cultural importance. It also shares the distinction with an Esso petrol station in Redhill, Leicestershire. The circular Mobil canopies were designed by the American modernist architect Elliot Noyes in the late 1960s, along with the controversial Preston Bus Station.
On the left is a defibrillator at Upper Slaughter in the Cotswolds. Defibrillators in phone boxes like this one, have helped save lives in areas where medical help can be slower to arrive. On the right is an art work in Kingston upon Thames