Hundreds sign Isle of Man red phone box petition

Manx Telecom said the red telephone boxes are losing the company hundreds of pounds a year

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Hundreds of people have signed an online petition campaigning against the removal of several "unprofitable" red phone boxes on the Isle of Man.

Telecommunications firm, Manx Telecom has announced plans to decommission and remove five units by 16 December.

Campaign spokesman, Christine Cowley, is hoping the phone boxes can be used by the community.

She said: "Nearly 500 people have signed the petition to keep these iconic fixtures boxes in situ."

Miss Cowley added: "In some areas of the UK the boxes have been converted into libraries or kiosks- it doesn't really matter to us if they are decommissioned but they have become so much a part of our street furniture, it would be a shame to get rid of them altogether."

The red phone box was introduced in 1936 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V's coronation.

It became known as the "Jubilee Kiosk" and was the first standard telephone box to be installed across the UK.

Designer, G Scott was an architect known for his work on buildings including Liverpool Cathedral and Battersea Power Station.

No emergency calls

Earlier this year two phone boxes in Essex were converted into mini libraries and in 2012, one in Edinburgh one was made into a "micro art gallery".

There are currently more than 100 pay phones on the Isle of Man - about two thirds of those are the traditional red variety.

David Smith, from Manx Telecom, said the company is open to suggestions.

"They are unprofitable and simply not being used anymore. If their annual revenue falls behind £10 we have to look again because it costs us £600 a year to maintain each one.

"We appreciate that some communities have an emotional attachment but in the long term our customers are looking to new technology and that is more important to them than investing in phone boxes which are no longer used.

"The iconic phone box will be here to stay for many years - there will always be a case for leaving a few.

"But our records show that none of the emergency calls made in the last 12 months came from a call box."

Manx Telecom said if anyone is interested in keeping the phone boxes, they should speak directly to their local authority.

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