Mobile phones may have done away with Britain’s red telephone boxes, but now the two have come together in an exchange as a London-based telephone box has found a second life as a mobile phone repair shop.
Housed on Southampton Row, a busy street in Holborn, Lovefone has created “the world’s tiniest phone repair shop”, offering repairs for iPhone, Google Pixel and Google Nexus.
In addition to repair services, Lovefone is also offering free mobile phone charging and wifi at their phone box repair shop.
Lovefone were on the lookout for locations to expand their retail outlets, but the steep cost of high street rent drove the team to rethink their approach, when they came up with the idea to repurpose red telephone boxes.
A special pod has been designed that slots inside the box, providing cctv, internet, power, temperature control and storage. Around 80% of the company’s repair offering is done in the box, although the space is too small for laptop repairs.
The repurposing element is in line with Lovefone’s support of a circular economy and a move away from throw-away culture to support a repair culture instead. Lovefone say: “Have you ever come across a neighbourhood shop run by nice people that do a few things well? When it comes to fixing things, that’s us.
“Unfortunately repair has become a bit of a lost art in today’s society. It’s not that people don’t like to repair things (they do) but rather that the stuff of today is designed to be disposable. Even if you really want to repair something the manufacturer often makes the process so difficult or expensive you give up.
“Thankfully that’s starting to change with mobile devices and we hope it spreads to all areas of consumer electronics. Repair is a noble industry that employs local people and keeps stuff going longer and out of the landfill. We’re moving toward a circular economy and repair is right at the centre of it.”
Red telephone boxes throughout the country have found new life as a library, a cake shop, a cafe, a beach shower and even to house life-saving equipment such as a defibrillator, among others.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea