Thinking outside the box: unusual uses for the UK’s old phone boxes

Mini medical centres that save lives

More than 1,000 red phone boxes from Cornwall to Shetland were repurposed as house defibrillators. These devices provide lifesaving electric shocks to people who have suffered a heart attack.

The Community HeartBeat TrustCharity came up with the idea, and BT partnered with it to help communities get over. BT charges just £1 to adopt a box plus free electricity for the project’s first seven years. Philip Davison, a Norfolk resident, is shown here renovating a Skeyton box. 

“To save a life after a cardiac arrest is time-dependent,” said Martin Fagan, the charity’s national secretary. “As telephone kiosks are in the  centre of communities, and are easily recognisable and generally feature on OS maps and satnavs, these make great locations for defibrillators.” 

A heated cabinet is required for most defibrillators to be protected in cold weather. Many telephone kiosks have power and can provide protection against the elements. However, not all of them are suitable for conversion. 

Image: Community HeartBeat Trust