Historic village phone box gets a make-over

PUBLISHED: 17:52 03 November 2020 | UPDATED: 23:36 03 November 2020

Stuart Aldous renovated the K6 phone box on High Street, Witcham, which acted as the backdrop to a hastily arranged wedding in the village. Far left, what the phone box used to look like; centre, what the phone box looks like now. Pictures: SUPPLIED/STUART ALDOUS/TERRY HARRIS

Stuart Aldous renovated the K6 phone box on High Street, Witcham, which acted as the backdrop to a hastily arranged wedding in the village. Far left, what the phone box used to look like; centre, what the phone box looks like now. Pictures: SUPPLIED/STUART ALDOUS/TERRY HARRIS

Archant

A decorator who renovated his village phone box after it had fallen into disrepair said he was pleased to boost residents’ spirits due to his work.

What the phone box used to look like before renovation. Picture: SUPPLIED/STUART ALDOUSWhat the phone box used to look like before renovation. Picture: SUPPLIED/STUART ALDOUS

Stuart Aldous noticed the K6 phone box in High Street, Witcham had been damaged, and wanted to do something about it.

“I live in the village and after discussion with members of the parish council, I submitted an affordable estimate for the cost of the renovations and this was agreed by the parish council committee,” he said.

“I put together a proposal that suited them for the costs, they asked residents about it and they agreed.”

Once his proposal was agreed, Stuart, who has lived in Witcham for seven years, got to work on the listed building owned by Witcham Parish Council, which became more complicated than first thought.

Here, what the phone box looked like while work was being carried out. Picture: SUPPLIED/STUART ALDOUSHere, what the phone box looked like while work was being carried out. Picture: SUPPLIED/STUART ALDOUS

New glass for the door, glazing frames and paint was needed to restore the phone box to its former glory.

“It proved quite tricky to get the replacement parts and the works had to be put on hold whilst we waited for the parts to come into stock and be delivered,” Stuart said.

“Once the new glazing was safely fitted the works commenced again and the last touches were completed in October.”

MORE: Village phone box transforms to help those in need during coronavirus pandemic

What the phone box looks like now after renovation work. Picture: SUPPLIED/STUART ALDOUSWhat the phone box looks like now after renovation work. Picture: SUPPLIED/STUART ALDOUS

With the help of industrial paint manufacturer Dacrylate Paints and residents’ donations, Stuart, who specialises in renovating and restoring timber sash window frames and exterior joinery, was able to add a fresh coat of red to the vintage phone box.

He has also shared pictures of the finished piece on social media, which has received positive reaction, and one resident said: “I have lived in Witcham 38 years and it has never looked so good!”

The phone box coincidentally acted as a backdrop for photos of a hastily arranged wedding in the village on Sunday, November 1, and has also housed a dressed-up mannikin too.

Witcham Parish Council are deciding how best to use the phone box, rejuvenated by Stuart who could not be happier with the outcome.

The phone box on High Street, Witcham acted as a backdrop to a hastily arranged wedding in the village on November 1, 2020. Picture by Terry Harris.The phone box on High Street, Witcham acted as a backdrop to a hastily arranged wedding in the village on November 1, 2020. Picture by Terry Harris.

“Some ideas they are considering are using it to house a book exchange or as an art gallery or exhibition space,” he said.

“It’s nice to read the comments; I wasn’t expecting to have so many people saying how good it looked.

“The renovation has proved very popular with residents and has provided a much-needed boost to the villagers in these strange times. The spectacular bright red finish can’t help but cheer people up!”

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