Finding a library in a listed building is nothing unusual – Lewisham has several, including Manor House, Sandhurst Road and Forest Hill, but finding one in a former telephone box was slightly surprising.
The Grade II listed phone box is on the corner of Tyrwhitt Road and Lewisham Way, for any aficionados of phone boxes it is of the K2 variety designed by Giles Gilbert Scott with a listing description of a ‘domed roof perforated crowns to top panel and glazing bars to windows and door’
It has been lovingly renovated by a local resident using the BT adopt a phone box scheme with a considerable attention to detail, including a message in the lighting….
It opened 6 months ago last week and it still looking good – it was the brightness of the paint, a working light and a general looked after feel rather than the books that initially made me notice it. The glazing was spotless and smear free, having just been cleaned, and the smell of stale cigarette smoke and urine that tended to be the aroma of phone boxes in the past was re-assuringly absent. It was a pleasant oasis on Lewisham Way. It isn’t a unique concept, there are dozens of others around the country, although this was the first in London.
In reality it is an exchange rather than a library, and so being out running I was bereft of books to swap, although I might have been tempted by a re-reading of William Boyd’s ‘An Ice Cream War’, but as my likely ‘swap’ may well have been another Tony Parsons, I’m not sure whether that would have been too much for a small library.