Hemingford Grey villager urges BT to replace red telephone box

Hunts Post front page March 3, 1994.

Hunts Post front page March 3, 1994. - Credit: Archant

A VILLAGER is calling on BT to replace its red telephone box which was removed after it was damaged.

Ivan Cutress said he noticed the iconic telephone box in Church Street, Hemingford Grey, was missing while on a walk on Saturday morning. Mr Cutress, of Mill Close, asked at the village shop and was told that it had been removed at the end of last week.

A BT spokesman said: “As part of a maintenance visit we discovered that the structure of the box had been severely damaged beyond repair, and left in a dangerous state. We made an urgent visit to site and removed it for safety reasons on March 28.

“We will be in contact with the local authority to consult with them on the options available.”

Mr Cutress, 71, said: “It is good that it hasn’t just been taken away but I want BT to replace it as the phone box resembles the essence of our thatched village. It’s good for children and good for our heritage, especially as we have won the best kept village a few times.”

He added: “Even if no one uses it, it is still an important symbol of village life.”

The telephone box was at the centre of an unlikely international media storm in 1994 when then Prime Minister John Major supported Marilyn and Roger Mawditt’s claim to have it removed as it was situated near their front door.

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The Mawditts had tried to get it moved for 20 years as they were kept up at night by people making calls to taxi firms after pub closing time. Protesters formed the Hemingford Phone Box Supporters Club and secured more than 1,100 signatures on a petition to keep the box in its place.

The matter was also discussed in the House of Commons. Huntingdonshire District Council rejected the proposals from BT to move it to a new location.