A VILLAGE community has answered a renewed call to arms to save its beloved red telephone box.

The phone box at the entrance to Bryn-y-Gwenin, near Abergavenny, has been included by BT in plans to scrap thousands of underused payphones nationwide.

But villagers are determined to save the phone box and believe they have history on their side – BT’s previous plans to decommission the box were rebuffed successfully in 2016 following a similar local campaign.

Resident Paul Webb said villagers “cherished” the box, which bears the Tudor Crown of King George VI.

“One of our villagers, Richard Cox, cleans it on a weekly basis and repaints it when necessary, which is a real credit to him,” he said.

“The box has always been a proud landmark at the entrance to our village. It is an iconic part of British heritage yet sadly, these red telephone boxes are getting more and more scare in the countryside.”

The phone box is a K6 model, designed to commemorate the silver jubilee of King George V, and entering production in 1936.

It was originally connected to the village post office via a shared line – also known as a party line.

The box played a modest role in the Second World War, when it was used as the main point of contact for local air raid warnings.

The villagers have enlisted the help of David Davies MP in their campaign to save the phone box.

Mr Davies said keeping the phone box would serve a practical purpose, as well as preserving the village’s history.

“The mobile signal in this part of rural Monmouthshire is intermittent and very poor at best, so the public telephone box is an essential village amenity for Bryn-y-Gwenin,” he said.

“It also serves Llanddewi Skirrid and the surrounding area. With the Skirrid mountain a popular spot for walkers and cyclists, the significance of the box is paramount in an emergency.

“BT claims the phone box has had very little use over a significant period of time. Calls may well be small in number but one day that call could be very important and potentially life-saving.”


BT has launched a consultation period to help determine the future of the village’s phone box.

In a statement, a spokesman for BT said: “Most people now have a mobile phone and calls made from our public telephones have fallen by around 90 per cent in the past decade.

“We consider a number of factors before consulting on the removal of payphones, including whether others are available nearby and usage.

“In Monmouthshire, we are consulting on the removal of 17 payphones. As part of the consultation we are also offering communities the chance to adopt traditional red ‘heritage’ phone boxes for just £1 through our Adopt a Kiosk scheme and transform them into something inspirational for their local area.

“The need to provide payphones for use in emergency situations is also diminishing all the time, with at least 98 per cent of the UK having either 3G or 4G coverage.

“This is important because as long as there is network coverage, it’s now possible to call the emergency services, even when there is no credit or no coverage from your own mobile provider.”