Village with the highest density of red phone boxes in Sussex...

Tim Ralph with some of his garden phone boxes
Tim Ralph with some of his garden phone boxes

A village near Horsham has the highest density of red telephone boxes anywhere in Sussex.

That’s according to Tim Ralph - and he should know ... because four of them are in his garden and the other five are in the garden of a near-neighbour in Ashington.

Tim is passionate about restoring worse-for-wear old BT red phone kiosks back into pristine condition.

He bought his first one in 1994 and lovingly brought it back to its gleaming best. It now stands proudly in his front garden - along with a rare K2 phone box from the 1920s and a rare 1960s K8 model.

Another lovingly-restored box stands in his back garden - so that he can admire it from the conservatory of his house in Hillcrest Drive.

“My father used to be an engineer and I think it rubbed off on me,” said Tim. He first discovered his talents as a youngster when he started repairing an old pushbike. From there he progressed to repairing old farm engines.

Then in 1982 Tim bought his first car - a 1966 Triumph Spitfire - which he restored over a period of four years before he had even passed his driving test. “I taught myself everything, welding and spraying,” said Tim, adding that the car was still his “pride and joy.”

Since moving on to the restoration of telephone boxes, Tim has set up his own business - Ralph Restorations.

“Over the past 25 years I have fully restored all these boxes plus several others so I have a wealth of experience of working on them.”

A number of local councils and community organisations have ‘adopted’ disused phone kiosks and converted them for a variety of uses such as public defibrillator stations and information points.

Tim said: “As a true enthusiast of these and other historic items I am always willing to provide free advice to any parish councils who have, or are considering, taking ownership of their local telephone box. I can also carry out work for them professionally.

“I hope that the vast majority of our remaining boxes are saved for the future enjoyment of residents and that each one has either a good use found for it or simply kept in good condition for its visual appeal.”

As well as restoring telephone boxes, Ralph also specialises in restoring signposts and fingerposts.