Hemingford Abbots BT box put to good use

PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 March 2012

Polly Harper, left and Pearl Muspratt in the new Swap Shop at Hemingford Abbots

Polly Harper, left and Pearl Muspratt in the new Swap Shop at Hemingford Abbots


VILLAGERS in Hemingford Abbots are putting an old telephone box to a new and unusual use.

Members of the village hall committee bought landmark for the bargain price of £1 from BT and have since refurbished and transformed into a 24-hour, free “library”.

Retired postman Maurice Godfrey restored the telephone box using original paint and spares and residents were asked to contribute used books, DVDs, videos and magazines.

Pearl Muspratt, 69, has been involved in the project, which culminated in an unveiling ceremony on March 1, World Book Day.

Mrs Muspratt, of Common Lane, explained: “It’s an iconic piece of equipment. They are beautiful and lovely.

“A few years ago, BT wrote to the parish council and said they were considering removing it because these days everybody has a mobile phone and they were selling them for £1. The village hall bought it and a couple of us came up with the same idea – to use it as a ‘swap box’ for books. We will fill it with novels and children’s books and the idea is if you take a book to read, you have to replace it with something else. We want to make quite a feature of it.”

The swap box was unveiled by brothers Andrew and Edward Baily, who until recently relied on the telephone box as their only access to a phone. The event was also attended by district councillors Ian Bates and Alan Williams.


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