UK’s Red Telephone Boxes Reinvented

December 22, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. revamping /riˈvæmping/ (n.) – a makeover; an improvement
Example: The old building needs revamping so it can look good as new again.

2. unused /ʌnˈyuzd/ (adj.) – no longer utilized
Example: The team will remove all old and unused computers.

3. recharge /riˈtʃɑrdʒ/ (v.) – to refill or charge again with electricity
Example: I need to recharge my phone; its battery is about to die.

4. maintenance /ˈmeɪn tə nəns/ (n.) – the process of keeping something in good condition
Example: The old machine still works because of proper maintenance.

5. attraction /əˈtræk ʃən/ (n.) – something or somewhere that brings attention to people
Example: People rush to the main attraction of the theme park.


Read the text below.
Red telephone boxes in the United Kingdom get a major revamping not only in its appearance, but also in its function.

The number of people using the phone boxes has significantly decreased as most people now own mobile phones or smartphones. Because the boxes are left unused, citizens have thought of other ways to use these telephone boxes. One of which is using the phone boxes as charging stations for mobile phones.

Harold Craston and Kirsty Kenny, both entrepreneurs, designed the converted phone boxes called the Solarbox. From red, the phone boxes are now green with a solar panel on its roof. The Solarbox can recharge 100 phones daily, accommodating six people per hour.

Because the service is free, the phone box’s maintenance is covered by funds earned from advertising. Ads are flashed on a screen facing the charging area.

Aside from the Solarbox, phone boxes in different locations have been given a second life. One red telephone box in a Scottish town is now used as a small Internet café, in which people can brew coffee and read leaflets about local attractions.

In 2009, another phone box in Dorset, England has been converted into a small library. Housing 300 books, the mini library is open for 24 hours, free of charge. A year after, engineers in Peterborough, England turned a traditional red telephone box into an automated teller machine.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think this project can also be adapted in your country? Why or why not?
·         How else can the telephone boxes be used, other than those mentioned in the article?

Discussion B

·         What are the advantages of reusing disused or old equipment or infrastructure?
·         What old facility or infrastructure can still be reused in your community?

December 22, 2014