Imaginative project rejuvenates Kirky’s iconic red telephone boxes

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In an imaginative project involving local business, I Sew 2, Your Kirky (Kirkintilloch Community Council) and East Dunbartonshire Council, Kirkintilloch is celebrating its heritage by repurposing one of its iconic red telephone boxes in the heart of the town centre.

During an extensive community consultation last summer –Your Kirky gathered a variety of ideas to rejuvenate telephone boxes which were built by the famous Lion Foundry.

The phone box in Townhead is the first to be given a new lease of life with colourful artwork panels depicting local subjects, expertly designed and executed by local volunteer artists.

As well as the beautifully crafted panels, there is also a side explaining how:

· The phone box is a K6 Red Telephone Kiosk (the ‘K’ stands for Kiosk).

· By the end of the 1930s there were 20,000 all-red kiosks, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, located across the UK, many of which were made in Kirkintilloch

· The Lion Foundry opened in Kirkintilloch in 1880, however, the abandonment of cast iron kiosks by British Telecom in 1984 signalled its end.

· Kiosks made in Kirkintilloch can now be found all over the world.

Provost Brown said, “This is a fabulous initiative bringing a range of organisations and individuals together with the aim of bringing a little colour and vibrancy into the town centre. As well as its striking look, the refurbished phone box offers passing shoppers and tourists an insight into the rich industrial history of the town.

“I am delighted that we have been able to adopt the phone box and work with so many partners on this exciting project. My thanks to everyone who has helped.”

Lianne Garven from local shop I Sew 2 worked with volunteers and Sealy MacWheely on the colourful creation.

She said, “When I first had the idea to renovate the telephone box I wasn’t aware of its heritage and how iconic it is to Kirkintilloch. I saw the redundant box with damaged windows and instantly thought about individual images being framed with the bright red iron. It was important to keep a connection with Kirkintilloch past or present and the only criteria was to produce a panel using any textile medium.

“I am amazed with the diversity of panels created by local crafters, artists and the regional guild. It’s been a pleasure to work on the project and I hope you agree the results are stunning.”

Nigel Rooke from Your Kirky added, “The iconic phone box is very much part of the heritage of Kirkintilloch. They were built by the community and it’s really great that the community is once again part of shaping the future of these local icons. Your Kirky is trying to bring about change to the town by growing our community and this is just one of a number of projects we are carrying out. Well done to all involved.”

More details of the work of Your Kirky can be found at www.yourkirky.com

* List of volunteers: Carolyn Anderson, Carla Faulkner, Jean Pless, Kirsty Gold, Katie Seal, Laura Gilmour, Lianne Garven, Linda Miller, Liz Lai, Lorna Dunn, Louise Reid, Lucy Jackson, Lynne McGill, Margaret McNiff, Pamela Geddes and Ruth Blakey.