New use for Dartmoor village phone box

A Dartmoor Village is developing a redundant phone box into micro-museum in memory of those from the parish that died in the Great War.

For many years the moorland community of Princetown have battled to save the BT payphones in their remote village from being decommissioned. Earlier this year BT agreed to keep one of the phone boxes in Princetown and offer the other box to the Dartmoor Forest Parish Council for a nominal £1.00. The Parish Council thought rather than having the landmark phone box ripped out they would take it over.

They researched what other communities had used phone boxes for, including housing a defibrillator or use it as a local library. However, as there were already two defibrillators in the village and a library branch, something different and innovative was required. Therefore, in conjunction with Dartmoor National Park’s Moor than meets the eye landscape partnership scheme, work has now started to develop it into a micro museum.

As 2018 is the centenary of the end of WW1 the Parish Council is developing an exhibit that commemorates the lives of the men killed in that conflict and recorded on the Princetown War memorial.

The intention is to build on local historical research, completed by a previous resident of the village Christine Faulkner, into the lives of the men and tell more of their story.

They are working to a very tight deadline but expect it to be complete for opening on Remembrance Day, which is marked with great numbers attending in the village.

Princetown has a deep connection with the armed forces, with many ex and current serviceman living in the village, and many who have also worked at HMP Dartmoor. The Parish Council thought this project would be a creative, sensitive and thoughtful use of the redundant phone box. The old Post Office K6 telephone box is a common sight across the villages and towns of Great Britain and it seems appropriate to celebrate the sacrifice of the men of Princetown by utilising such a memorable icon.

The project is led by Cllrs. David Worth and Mark Renders, ably supported by the Parish Lengthsman David Cole and Parish Clerk; Steve Cox. They are involving the children of Princetown School and the organisers of the Remembrance Day parade to ensure it is a real community effort.