Little Boxes - But they Don't All Look the Same!
21 Jun 2021
by Cathy Block

Fish Street box opposite Fabricius Green by Cherie Jerrard

We love the idea of asking local artists to brighten up the telephone and internet cable boxes around the town centre! 

The boxes are usually painted dark green by BT, and many of us walk past without a second glance, but now five boxes in the centre of Shrewsbury are standing out as pieces of art in their own right and they are proving a big hit with visitors and locals alike! 

Five local artists - Saffron Russell, Hannah Chumbley, Cherie Jerrard, Naomi Sampson and Emma Williams - have each taken a box and created a colourful mural based on the theme of animals - inspired by the flags fluttering over High Street as part of the national Great Big Art Exhibition. 

Hannah Chumbley painted the box on Wyle Cop by the Lion and Snooty Fox, Saffron Russell painted the box on Butcher Row, opposite Lads 'n' Dads, Cherie Jerrard did the box on Fish Street opposite Fabricius Green, Naomi Sampson painted the box on the corner of Al Piccolino's and Emma Williams painted the box on Roushill.

The project is the brainchild of Shrewsbury BID, which has teamed up with BT, supported by the Economic Recovery Programme run by Shropshire Council, to encourage artists to convert “hidden objects” into works of art.

Emma Molyneux, of Shrewsbury BID, said the murals were attracting lots of attention: "“Even as the artists were painting them, people were taking pictures and sharing them on social media, it’s been a really positive reaction.

“We have asked the artists to create a mural which ties in with the location of the BT box and links with the animals theme. For instance, the one near Bear Steps has a picture of a bear enjoying a bath in a giant cup of tea, and one at the top of Wyle Cop features a fox and a lion to link with the surrounding buildings. We are delighted with how the murals look, and it’s a fantastic way of making a creative use out of important but hidden objects in the town centre.” 

Craig Brown, ND Marches Patch Manager for Openreach, said: “These designs are truly amazing with incredibly talented artists producing them. 
“Works of art are always a matter of personal opinion, and I think turning our cabinets into works of art can distract and discourage the anti-social behaviour that they are often faced with in certain areas. This encourages artists to share their work freely, be creative and colourful in the community and brighten up the people of Shrewsbury’s daily lives. And let’s also not forget that these cabinets have now not only had a new lease of life but also provide Shrewsbury with superfast broadband.” 

Hannah Chumbley, who painted the cabinet at the top of Wyle Cop, said: “It's been wonderful to be involved in this project and I feel proud to have created a mural for our lovely town and brighten up a BT Box. When the animal theme was put to me and I knew which box I was going to be given, I thought it would be lovely to link the surrounding buildings to the design. It's been a joy to paint and walking past it today, seeing people stop and have a look has been really nice.” 

Saffron Russell, who painted the bear-themed box near the Bear Steps, added: “Painting the BT box in town was such a wonderful opportunity from Shrewsbury BID and I felt hugely grateful to be part of such a fantastic group of local artists. I had a lot of fun interacting with the community whilst painting and found that passers-by seemed really excited about the murals and brightening up the town. My design was inspired by Bear Steps and all the brilliant coffee shops nearby!”

BT box with a bear swimming in a giant cup of tea

Bear Steps box by Saffron Russell