Red telephone boxes may be a British icon, but they're fast disappearing from our streets: our use of mobile phones for instance has drastically reduced the need for them. However, this telephone box won't be disappearing from Chippenham because it's a listed building.
English Heritage is the official public body which looks after the listed buildings register: in the majority of cases it's the owner's not their responsibility to look after the building itself. If a property is listed, it means it has a special architectural and/or historical interest and any proposed changes to the building require additional scrutiny within our planning system. You can find out a lot more about what listed building status means and the different grades awarded on English Heritage's website.
In 2000 and 2001 I was involved with Images of England. This was a Heritage Lottery funded Millennium project - completed last year - which aimed to photographically record over 350,000 listed buildings in England. I was allocated parishes within Chippenham and its surrounding villages where I took a representative photograph of each of the items on the listed buildings register for those areas. Mine and the photographs taken by hundreds of other volunteers are displayed on the Images of England website alongside the architectural listing description.
Lots of things not usually considered as buildings are listed: I've had to photograph tombstones, memorials, an historic walkway, dovecotes, milestones as well as the above phonebox. When I walked past it on Monday, I saw that it's changed slightly since I took the 'official' photograph. It now says on the outside that email and texts are possible as well as making the usual phonecall. However, when I looked inside I couldn't see how this was to be done as it still had the standard telephone. No sign of a keyboard, let alone anything that could be used for letters rather than numbers. However it did have one modern touch: there was the usual McDonald's carton left on the shelf.
For other Lovely ABC Wednesday posts, Look Lively and Leg it over there.