DAME Helen Mirren will introduce families to the joys of one of Britain’s smallest and newest museums.

Yesterday the Clifftown Telephone Museum was officially installed in Alexandra Road thanks to the Clifftown Conservation Society – with the project centring on the Victorian heritage of Southend.

The conservation society was granted £9,800 from the National Lottery in January and six months later the project is nearly finished.

The telephone box – dating back to 1935 – has been restored to be identical to its original form, and will be finished off with mosaics created by school pupils placed inside.

While a lectern will be placed on one side – depicting the history of the area – a talking solar post will be on the other.

And Dame Helen, who grew up in the borough and went to St Bernard’s High School in Westcliff, has recorded the verbal introduction, with residents also recorded talking about the history of the area.

Laura Khan, from the conservation society, said: “The full restoration has been completed and we are nearly ready to install the solar post with the audio history.

“We are really pleased with how it has gone.

“We are hoping the lectern and solar post can be installed in the next couple of weeks, and youngsters from the schools are almost finished their mosaics, so we will be choosing the winners and starting a rotation once school finishes.”

A number of schools in the area have been involved by creating mosaics depicting the history of the area.

Once winners are selected, the mosaics will be used in rotation inside the telephone box.

Laura has been behind the project for two years, and was over the moon with how it was going - even before Dame Helen got involved.

Laura admitted it was an ambitious email and she never expected a response from the famed actress.

She added: “I couldn’t quite believe it.

“I never expected a response from her PA, but it is always worth asking.

“I sent off the e-mail and a couple of weeks later I had the response saying she would be happy to help.

“The audio has been recorded and it will be great for the people of Southend.”

Future uses of the iconic K6 British Telephone Box have not been limited, and Laura admitted it could be used to exhibit monuments or historic pieces in the future.

This year, the Clifftown Conservation Area is celebrating 160 years since the first brick was laid in the area, designating it as an area of conservation.

It is hoped the project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will enable Southend residents and visitors from further afield to explore the history of Southend.

The telephone box will be surrounded by a fence.