I recently extolled the joys my local library gave me when I was little. Now I want to joyfully extoll a little library.
A London man, Sebastian Handley, bought a disused red telephone box from British Telecom for the princely sum of one pound and transformed it into a lending library in his South East London neighborhood of Lewisham. Operating only a few months (and still vandalism-free), it is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Borrow a book, replace it with a different book; there’s no librarian, lending fees or return date. How’s that for thinking outside the box?
Designed in the 1920s by Sir Gilbert Scott, who also designed the Tate Modern, the red telephone box used to be spotted, pre-smartphone era, on the corner of every mews, high street and council estate, a little beacon next to every village green, standing sentinel in front of every country pub. A national treasure of the stature of post boxes, double decker buses, fifty pence pieces, Morris dancing and drunken sunburn, the red phone box is a Grade II listed “building” and one of Britain’s most iconic symbols. Anglophiles from Boston to Belgrade expect to check off the sighting from their itineraries when visiting the United Kingdom.
Enough said. I have been inspired to do my bit for the twin causes of maintaining libraries and red phone boxes. Keep calm and read on.
As I announced in my last post, my novel has had a makeover. So the question arose: What’s to become of the original novel?
Well, in the spirit of preserving landmarks, Fuchsia Silk as she has now become known is, yes, you’ve guessed it, off to London. Lewisham, to be precise. A personal treasure will sit inside a national treasure.
I tucked her into her a small shiny red box and booked her on the red eye. Mr Handley has described his phone box library as spectacular at night, lit up, “like a miniature lighthouse” so I don’t think Fuchsia Silk should have any trouble finding it.
Just in case there is someone waiting for her on the other side, she’ll be wearing a red bow so you’ll recognize her. She makes quite an elegant traveller. Treat her nice. Don’t leave her on the shelf like an old maid. Bring her home, introduce her to your friends, take her out and about the cafes and bars of London and I guarantee she’ll show you a good time.
At least that’s what they’ve been saying over on Amazon…
Later that same day…
*UPDATE JUST IN!* The eagle has landed!
The ever-welcoming Londoner, Kate at Maison Bentley Style has found the precious red box on the other side. I can rest easy…Phew!