Thursday, June 9, 2011

Off the hook – moving our telephone box

One of the larger (or certainly heavier) objects in the collection is telephone box that used to be on display in the museum courtyard.

Donated in 1988, when the previous owners were moving house, the telephone box had originally been installed in Potton Road on the Stratton Way Estate in Biggleswade.

The box is a K6 Mark 2 (EIIR) kiosk design, which came into service in 1953 to coincide with the ascension to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II. We can tell this from the design of the windows as well as from the crown. In total, there were 25,000 made between 1953 and 1968 – ours dates from 1958.

Just like every other object in the courtyard, the telephone box had to be moved offsite to keep it safe during the redevelopment work. The main problem with this was its overall weight – estimated at three quarters of a tonne - due to the cast iron exterior and the concrete cemented into its base.

We also discovered that the height of the telephone box was too tall for the removal van, as the top section of the box could not be detached. This meant we had to lay the box down in the vehicle to transported it offsite. With the assistance of the hydraulic tail lift, as well as many hands, the telephone box made it into (and out of) the vehicle unscathed.

We hope you enjoy watching the video of the telephone box being loaded onto the removal lorry – it was quite an operation, as you’ll see, and we were relieved at the end of the day to be let off the hook.

If you’d like to see more public telephone kiosks and other telecoms objects in museums across the country, you can find out more about BT’s Connected Earth initiative here

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