Leeds to get Doctor Who-style phone boxes with free Wi-Fi

Blue 1930s-style phone boxes will soon spring up around Leeds, offering free Wi-Fi and other facilities.

Joe Svetlik Reporter
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Joe Svetlik
2 min read

If you're strolling around the streets of Leeds and bump into blue phone boxes, don't worry, you've not stumbled into an episode of Doctor Who.

The 1930s-style phone boxes have been restored by local firm aql, painted blue to stand out, and offer all manner of modern-day tech to help passersby, the Yorkshire Evening Post reports. Such as? They'll fire out free Wi-Fi for a start, so you can get online without having to eat into your monthly data allowance.

Each of the 24 phone boxes will also have six touchscreens showing 'route-finder' information and other info that'll be handy for tourists. But locals won't be left out. Leeds residents will be encouraged to record video messages on the phone boxes, detailing their memories of the area. A noble intent, I've no doubt, but I'd be surprised if no one takes the opportunity to play a prank or two.

The solar-powered phone boxes will be kept locked shut, with all the features accessible from outside.

They'll be set up 'soon', and you'll be able to find them in Dortmund Square, Victoria Gardens, City Square, Armouries Way, Briggate and The Headrow, as well near the front entrance to the Corn Exchange.

aql's Dr Adam Beaumont said: "We want them to become something iconic. We won't be putting them in any other cities, as we want them to be a symbol of Leeds."

The original red phone boxes were designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also designed Battersea Power Station, Waterloo Bridge and Liverpool Cathedral. aql decided to make them blue as it's in keeping with its company colours. And maybe as a nod to the good Doctor.

Will you be heading out to use the free Wi-Fi? Should more cities have similar facilities? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Now Public