Time-travelling phone box appears in Willoughby as tiny museum is opened - The Rugby Observer

Time-travelling phone box appears in Willoughby as tiny museum is opened

Rugby Editorial 15th Oct, 2019   0

A TIME-travelling phone box has appeared in Willoughby – but it’s nothing to do with Doctor Who.

Villagers have turned their disused phone box into Willoughby Jubilee Allotment Museum and Book Exchange.

The museum – likely to be among the smallest in the world – features artifacts from the past dug up at the village allotments.

Despite torrential rain, around 50 villagers turned up for nibbles and a glass of bubbly to celebrate the official opening, with county and borough councillor Howard Roberts cutting the ribbon.

Allotmenteer Sam Green said she and her fellow gardeners came across curious artifacts in the soil when the village allotments first opened in 2014.

She said: “We realised we were digging up the past with the parsnips, the roots of history among the radishes!

“We had an idea to collect the artifacts into a museum, a mobile museum or ‘travelling chest’ that could be taken to village events.

“Then the phone box was decommissioned and bought by the council, and it seemed a good communal space for displaying the collection of artifacts.”

Notable artifacts include 200-million-year-old fossils, a harvest mouse’s nest, a plough share and a horse shoe from the village’s agricultural past, and various remnants of former villagers’ lives.

Sam added: “I hope the phone box will add another point of interest in the village – a destination where residents and visitors can stop, exchange a book, see exhibits, and have a chance to think about deep time, village life, nourishment, and the environment around us.

“Its use may change in time, and villagers can add their artifacts as the display changes. As residents continue to dig up the past, who knows what they will find next?”

Coun Roberts said: “I’m glad to see the phone box renovated and re-purposed as a museum and book exchange.

“It’s a curious new destination in the village. It’s a good place to stop and think about our history, our environment, and life in Willoughby.”

The phone box, funded by a grant from Warwickshire Country Council, was opened almost three years to the day after the village of Warley in Yorkshire opened the first phone box museum – at the time believed to be the smallest museum in the world.

Visit www.willoughbyweb.net/AA/index.html for more information on the Willoughby Jubilee Allotment Museum and Book Exchange.

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