Ickle village book exchange unveiled in grand opening

Ickleford Parish Councillor Ray Blake officially opened the ckleford Telephone Box Book Exchange on Saturday

Ickleford Parish Councillor Ray Blake officially opened the Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange on Saturday - Credit: Karyn Haddon

If you’ve ventured into Ickleford recently, you might have spotted an old red telephone box on the green that hasn't been there in recent years...

The parish council was keen to see the classic kiosk installed, and funded the telephone box. Ickleford resident and artist Samantha James then came to the council with the idea of establishing a micro book exchange inside, available for the whole community to freely use.

The Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange was opened in an official ceremony on Saturday, September 11, by the chairman of the parish council Ray Blake.

The Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange ahead of the grand opening on Saturday

The Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange ahead of the grand opening on Saturday - Credit: Karyn Haddon

Samantha approached Cllr Blake - who had equal enthusiasm for the concept - at the beginning of the year, and encouraged her to fundraise to help pay for the project, which was also boosted by a generous donation from Cllr David Barnard. 

Ickleford Parish Councillor Ray Blake officially opened the Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange on Saturday

Ickleford Parish Councillor Ray Blake officially opened the Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange on Saturday - Credit: Karyn Haddon

She collected donations from Ickleford residents to pay for the shelving for the book exchange, with the ultimate aim that the library becomes a self-run project based on trust. 


You may also want to watch:


At the event, Cllr Blake said: “This is an exciting new venture for our village, and I hope it gives many years of enjoyment to all our residents.”

Samantha added: "It was such a fantastic day -  everything myself and Judith had envisioned. The sun was shining and there was about 200 residents in attendance.

Inquisitive residents check out the Ickleford Telephone Book Exchange at its grand opening

Inquisitive residents check out the Ickleford Telephone Book Exchange at its grand opening - Credit: Karyn Haddon

Most Read

"The Ickle Café was there serving tea, coffee and food and the local pub, The Old George, put on a fantastic complementary spread along with Pimm's and soft drinks for the children.

"The shelves of the book exchange were fit to burst with generous donations from the residents which I organised and collected, and Hitchin Lavender donated some dried lavender to decorate the inside of the telephone box with.

Danger Mouse entertained the crowds at the official opening of the Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange

Danger Mouse entertained the crowds at the official opening of the Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange - Credit: Karyn Haddon

"Overall, a fantastic day bringing the community together and I have seen lots of people using the exchange since it’s opening on Saturday."

Inside the new Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange, which stands off the green

Inside the new - and jam-packed - Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange, which stands off the green - Credit: Karyn Haddon

Leah,11 and Sam, five at the opening of the Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange

Leah,11 and Sam, five at the opening of the Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange - Credit: Karyn Haddon

Ickleford Parish Councillor Ray Blake officially opened the Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange on Saturday

Ickleford Parish Councillor Ray Blake officially opened the Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange on Saturday - Credit: Karyn Haddon

Jacob, eight, and Isaac, three, at the opening of the Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange

Jacob, eight, and Isaac, three, at the opening of the Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange - Credit: Karyn Haddon

Ickleford Parish Councillor Ray Blake officially opened the Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange on Saturday

Ickleford Parish Councillor Ray Blake officially opened the Ickleford Telephone Box Book Exchange on Saturday - Credit: Karyn Haddon

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter