New identity for Swanton Morley phone box

The phone box at Swanton Morley village hall has been converted into a book exchange. Pictured are F

The phone box at Swanton Morley village hall has been converted into a book exchange. Pictured are Faye le Bon and her son George (10). Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

It's had a fresh lick of red paint and new glass in the windows but the old village telephone box in Swanton Morley won't be taking any more calls.

Swanton Morley Parish Council bought the village phone box from BT for £1. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Swanton Morley Parish Council bought the village phone box from BT for £1. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Instead the classic structure is being put to use as a different type of exchange - for books.

The parish council decided to take ownership of the kiosk which sat outside The Angel pub just over a year ago, buying it for the princely sum of £1.

According to BT the call box had just £1.80–worth of use over a whole year and it was starting to look faded and unloved.

Parish council clerk Faye Le Bon said they asked people for ideas for what it should be used for and suggestions ranged from turning it into a village information point, or possibly somewhere to store a defibrillator.


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'Someone even suggested painting it blue and turning it into a Tardis,' she said. 'But I don't think even Swanton Morley parish council has the technology for time travel.

'When the idea of a book exchange was put forward it was clearly the favourite.'

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The box was moved from The Angel site to a new home at the village hall on Manns Lane which would give people in the village easier access and parking.

New shelving is gradually filling up with books that people have donated for others to borrow completely free of charge.

Mrs Le Bon said: 'All we ask is that they remember to return them at some point. Nothing has to be signed in or out as it works completely on an honesty basis.'

Books currently waiting to be borrowed include genres from horror to history, gardening to autobiographies, and there are also plenty of children's books.

Mrs Le Bon's 10-year-old son George has just donated some of his much-loved Harry Potter books.

'The Chamber of Secrets is my favourite,' he said. 'I tend to read them over and over again.'

* All donations of books are welcome and the book exchange never closes.

* Have you been working on an unusual project? Email kathryn.cross@archant.co.uk.

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