Last call for our phoneboxes?

A Lanark phone box; a dying breed?
A Lanark phone box; a dying breed?

Could Clydesdale soon see the end of that once familiar part of our streetscapes, the public telephone box?

British Telecom is currently “reviewing” its remaining public call boxes and are looking closely at the useage of them in these days of mass mobile phone ownership.

On Monday night, The Royal Burgh of Lanark Community Council heard that the callbox on Smyllum Park was under review and it was claimed by BT that only 46 calls had been made from it in the past year.

The public phone there is thought to have been there since the Smyllum estate was built in the 1970s when mobile phones didn’t exist and even home telephone ownership was still far from being universal.

The council was asked to submit its views on any removal proposal by BT and it was generally agreed to formally object to the box being removed.

Council members said that the Smyllum area was still one where there was deprivation and there should always be some method of folk contacting the emergency services without being charged.

For some hard-up families, the removal of the phonebox and its 999 capability would cut them off completely from summoning the police, fire brigade or ambulance service, leading to a possible tragedy.

It is understood the call box in Forth is also under review.