Now, amid advances in technology, it emerges there are more in Yorkshire that have been adopted than remain in active use.
Across Yorkshire, 410 phone boxes have now been taken over and transformed, into libraries, art galleries, museums and stores, with just 401 still traditionally taking calls.
As neighbours have rallied around the adoption cause over recent years, they say its symbol still stands at the heart of communities.
“This is a part of our heritage,” said Holly Jones, in Harrogate, who is seeking to transform the area’s phone box into a library with backing of the Oatlands Community Association. “Adopting it will be of benefit to the whole community.”
The number of calls made from public telephone boxes has fallen by 90 per cent in a decade, BT says, as rising numbers of people use a mobile phone.
When it comes to adoptions, villagers in Marton cum Grafton were the pioneers, opening the first mini-library in 2010 with many more communities following suit.
In Stutton near Tadcaster, the decommissioned box was converted into a Christmas card last year, passing on festive messages to neighbours and friends.
There is an art gallery in Settle, while York’s oldest phone box on Duncombe Place now houses a defibrillator.
The traditional red phone box is a K6 kiosk, one of eight styles introduced by the General Post Office between 1926 and 1983.
It was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V in 1935, with some 60,000 installed.
World's smallest heritage centre
The phone box in Oatlands had started its journey to a library over two years ago, and now neighbours are looking to make it official with planning permissions submitted.
“We’re really interested in the community aspect, giving our area a focal point,” said fellow adoptee and neighbour Jane Kennerley.
“We haven’t got a village green. We’re really grateful that it’s available to us, and isn’t being sold off for someone’s back garden. It’s a lovely feature in our community.”
In Scarborough, the seafront’s last red box was adopted last year, transformed into what may be the world’s smallest heritage centre for tourists to visit.
There are black and white photographs of the port’s seafaring and shipbuilding past, and an audio-commentary which talks visitors through its history.
“There isn’t a museum in Scarborough, but I think people are quite interested in the history of the town and how it came to be,” said Mark Vesey, chairman of the Maritime Heritage Centre.
"A lot of people know Scarborough as a seaside resort, but it started as a shipbuilding port. There is a lot of history here.”
The traditional red box is disappearing from the street scene, Mr Vesey says, and the prospect of those warning pips as the pennies ran out is now an alien concept to today’s generation.
“We took them for granted,” he added. “They do hark back to the past really. But much like London’s buses, the red phone box is iconically British.”
Adoptions by area
THE Adopt a Kiosk scheme was launched by BT in 2008, with 401 traditional red phone boxes still in use in Yorkshire.
The greatest number of adoptions has been in the East Riding, at 76, followed by Ryedale at 39 and Harrogate at 35. In Sheffield and Barnsley, just four apiece have found a new home.
Despite Ryedale being a big adopter, it still has the greatest number of traditional boxes still in use at 65, five times more than in the metropolitan district of Leeds.
Any recognised public body, including parish councils and charities, can adopt a phone box.
Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.
Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.
And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.
Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.
If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.
Sincerely. Thank you.