Ian Rankin with Save the Children's rescued phone box Gilbert on Queen Street, Edinburgh (Photo: Sandy Young )
Ian Rankin with Save the Children's rescued phone box Gilbert on Queen Street, Edinburgh (Photo: Sandy Young )

Author Ian Rankin launches quirky tourist attraction

Rebus writer Ian Rankin has launched Save the Children’s ‘rescued’ phone box ‘Gilbert’ on Edinburgh’s Queen Street.

The old-fashioned red phone box, which is kindly run and maintained by bespoke tailors, Stewart Christie & Co, has been decked out in traditional tiling and bespoke features and contains items of dressing up, such as hats, pipes and tweeds.

Visitors to Gilbert make a donation to Save the Children in exchange for the key, held at neighbouring Stewart Christie Tailors, to take selfies in the traditional garb, making it Edinburgh’s newest and quirkiest tourist attraction.

Save the Children paid the total sum of £1 to buy Gilbert, as part of the BT adopt a kiosk scheme, which was then sub-let by Stewart Christie Tailors who fitted it and will maintain it on the charity’s behalf.

The interior of the phone box was handcrafted by Frederick Fearn, the father of Daniel Fearn who designed it and is the co-owner of Stewart Christie & Co, Scotland’s Oldest Tailors.

Vixy Rae, co-owner of Stewart Christie & Co said: ‘The box is named Gilbert after Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the designer of the red telephone box. Alas, with the modern age, poor Gilbert had no more use.

Ian Rankin with Save the Children’s rescued phone box Gilbert on Queen Street, Edinburgh (Photo: Sandy Young )

‘We have rescued this very special box and have given him a new purpose. A secret key is held at Stewart Christie, the oldest tailors in Scotland, and if you want to step inside his heart, you can ask permission and have a moment to step back in time whilst capturing it on a future device.

‘It’s a real privilege to be the proud owner of Gilbert. It’s been a real labour of love for us and we wanted to make it as appealing and as fun as possible. We feel it has real quirk appeal and we can’t believe how many visitors have already used the phone box for selfies and how much the total is really totting up for Save the Children.’

Susie Barron, Save the Children’s community engagement manager in Scotland, said: ‘We’re so excited about our phone box fundraiser, we get so many people doing interesting ventures to raise money for Save the Children, but this is surely the most innovative. We hope our Gilbert will become a destination for people visiting Edinburgh, it really is spectacular inside and who doesn’t want a picture in a top hat?!’

Gilbert the Phone Box is located at 63 Queen Street, Edinburgh and the key is available for a donation of £3 to Save the Children at Stewart Christie & Co Tailors.

Ian added: ‘This is a fantastic initiative by Stewart Christie the tailor and Save the Children. It’s a secret world, a secret place within Edinburgh that you can explore for a very meagre amount of money. Come into Stewart Christie and get the key, leave a donation and off you go and explore secret Edinburgh.’