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Trail talk: Telephone kiosks

Anyone living in or visiting the UK is aware of iconic street furniture. Post boxes are prominent, along with gradually diminishing numbers of large, often bright red, items that have largely been left behind by technology- the Telephone Kiosk.

K6s Coventry
Coventry
K6- Chester
Chester
K6 on Cleveland Way
Cleveland Way

It is fairly easy to gather a basic understanding and knowledge of many of the telephone kiosks that can be seen while walking across the UK in town and country. If concentrating on the classic ‘K’ series of phone boxes, it is not a particularly wide range though there are also the oddities, sub-types and rarer peripherals that I shall not concentrate on here, much! Also the rather uglier kiosks, booths and pedestals that followed in the wake of design classics.

Telephone boxes, or ‘public call offices’, have a long history. It was in 1884 that the Postmaster General Henry Fawcett allowed telephone companies to establish them. Telephones were in their infancy, they were expensive to buy or rent, and by establishing them in locations that the public could access, the expanded use of the system was almost guaranteed, along with a rapid expansion of the network and an increase in profits to the various independent telephone companies then operating across the UK.

K6 kiosk in front of the Saxon church of St. Mary and St. Radigund. North Downs Way
K6 kiosk in front of the Saxon church of St. Mary and St. Radigund. North Downs Way

Official sanction led directly to the democratising of the telephone. They were transformed from being just for the privileged to something accessible to all. However the public did not want bystanders listening in to private calls and also wanted to shut themself off from extraneous noise, in railways stations for example.

An extremely rare example of a wooden contruct 'Wilson' telephone kiosk, dating from prior to the First World War. Bradford Industrial Museum
An extremely rare example of a wooden contruct ‘Wilson’ telephone kiosk, dating from prior to the First World War. Bradford Industrial Museum

Most telephone kiosks first erected were wood. Not neccessarily the most robust of materials in an often wet climate. Therefore most wooden kiosks were situated in protected locations- hotel foyers and within bus and train stations etc. These were also, coincidentally, where passing footfall was greatest. Very few examples of these kiosks survive and those that do are almost exclusively to be found in museums.

There was no one design or colour in the early days- the ‘Wilson’ was named after its inventor. The ‘Birmingham’ and ‘Norwich’ designs named from where they originated. This can be problematic if the public are unsure exactly what is is they are looking for when wanting to make a phone call.

Wood built telephone kiosks could sometimes have double glazing. Doors closed on to a compressible rubber seal in an attempt to seal off outside noise. These were known as ‘Silence Cabinets’. The General Post Office (GPO) also began supplying these to an approved design in the 1920’s. Some still survive, some still operational, in larger hotels and official buildings. Railway stations also have survivors though now invariably converted to some other purpose.

A typical GPO official Silence Cabinet for placing indoors or in a sheltered location
A typical official GPO Silence Cabinet for placing indoors or in a sheltered location
Delivery of a wooden Silence Cabinet to a museum with a purpose built kiosk trailer
Delivery of a wooden Silence Cabinet to a London museum store with a purpose built kiosk trailer
A pair of Silence Cabinets, formerly situated in Bradford Telephone exchange. now at Bradford Industrial Museum
A pair of Silence Cabinets, formerly situated in Bradford Telephone exchange. now at Bradford Industrial Museum
K1 at the National Telephone Kiosk Collection, at Avoncroft
K1 at the National Telephone Kiosk Collection, at Avoncroft

When the Post Office took over the great majority of the inland telephone system in 1912 (though Hull continued as an independently managed system), they decided to introduce a standard design of telephone kiosk, based on the Birmingham design. The Post Office had a responsibility as a national service to make the telephone facility an accessible service right across the country and extend kiosks to towns and villages previously denied. Also, to provide robust kiosks that would weather whatever conditions would be thrown at them in the most exposed conditions to be found. The first telephone box provided was called the K1, or Kiosk 1. The K1 was introduced in 1921 and resulted in three generations of the same kiosk. All were made of reinforced concrete sections with a wooden door. The first model, Mk234 had wooden window frames, the 1922 Mk235 replaced these with metal frames. The first kiosks were not particularly attractive and there was considerable resistance in some locations to having an ‘ugly edifice’ erected. Authorities were permitted to paint them in any colour they chose. Despite the intention to have the telephone service as widely available as possible, the Post Office was sometimes forced to place kiosks off the main thoroughfare, or strike a deal with a local landowner. Over 6300 of the early K1 models were manufactured but they are extremely rare today.

Following the K1, looking very much a product of it’s time, we then come to the first of our classic red-painted cast iron kiosks. This is the K2. Following a design contest, a design modified from that submitted by Giles Gilbert Scott (later Sir) was selected. The original perforated ‘Telephone’ wording was replaced by ‘opals’ on each face, though Scott’s perforated crown in the roof is retained to provide both ventilation and a link to the monarch’s crowns that are included on post box designs. Scott wanted his kiosks to be painted silver, with a blue-green interior. He was over-ruled and the Post Office instructed that they be painted red. This set the style that followed with almost all subsequent designs until the arrival of British Telecom decades later.

The K2 is large and imposing- approximately 9ft 3in/2820mm high and 3ft 6in/1070mm wide. It is a quite gorgeous design. The domed roof, designed to channel rain water down the grooved reeded corners is said to be modelled on the tomb of Sir John Soane in St. Pancras churchyard. With cast iron sides and a heavy teak door, and glazed on three sides, each kiosk weighs a little under a ton. This imposing kiosk was introduced in 1926 and hundreds survive across the City.

The original prototype K2 still exists and can be visited and used by any passing public to this day
The original wooden prototype K2 still exists and can be visited and used by any passing public to this day. Burlington House (Royal Academy), London
K2, London
K2, London
Row of K2's, London
Row of K2’s, Broad Court, W2, London
The 'London' K2 kiosk, with smaller 'National' K6 kiosk. Smithfield Market, London
The ‘London’ K2 kiosk, with smaller ‘national’ K6 kiosk. Smithfield Market, London

In March 2006, as part of a competition organised by the Design Museum and BBC Television to find Britain’s favourite design icon since 1900, the K2 was placed in the top ten by the British public. Though this is perhaps incorrect as it is by no means a national feature. Of the 1700 K2s produced, no more than a dozen were situated outside London. Each of the boxes still in place today has been given Listed Building status.

An uncommon cream and green painted K1 Mk236 at Avoncroft
An uncommon cream and green painted K1 Mk236 at Avoncroft

The K2 was expensive to manufacture and the Post Office decided to provide cheaper kiosks in rural areas until 1931. For these, they returned to the K1 design and refined that. The third generation of the K1, the Mk236, was introduced in 1927. These feature (from 1929) a wrought ironwork spear finial and scrolls on the roof with “Telephone” sign on each face. More than 5000 K1 Mk236 were manufactured, each had redesigned glazing and most were painted cream, with red painted glazing bars and door. Though yet again, some areas decided to adopt unofficial paint schemes. The survival rate has not been good and this is another rare and infrequently encountered kiosk today.

Three Points of the Compass hiked the South West Coast Path in 2018. Early in the walk, a night camp was made high on the cliffs on a foul night. An early get-away in the morning meant that I was able to visit the lonely little village of Tyneham. The residents of the Tyneham valley were forced to evacuate their homes during the Second World War as it was required for the war effort. Their promised return after hostilities never occured and the area is a remarkable time capsule testament to an earlier life.

From 1929 a K1 Mk236 was situated outside the little post office in Tyneham. It has had a run of bad luck. First abandoned and subsequently consumed by vegetation after the war, it was eventually restored in the early 1980s. During filming of Comrades in 1983, the kiosk was accidentally destroyed by the film company and they were forced to source a replacement. In 2012, the K1 was completely restored and is now authentic.

Walking the South West Coast Path and wild camping out on the cliffs, Three Points of the Compass was able to make an early morning visit to the abandoned town of Tyndrum before any other visitors. This is the ruined village post office, with K1 telephone kiosk at the entrance
Walking the South West Coast Path and wild camping out on the cliffs, Three Points of the Compass was able to make an early morning visit to the abandoned town of Tyneham before any other visitors. This is the ruined village post office, with K1 telephone kiosk at the entrance
Modified K1 (Mk236) at the entrance to the abandoned post office at Tyndrum
Modified K1 (Mk236) at the entrance to the abandoned post office at Tyneham

Another design of kiosk was planned for wider expansion across the country and Scott was invited by the Post Office to modify his design in 1930 for a K3 telephone kiosk. This was cheaper, mostly made of pre-cast concrete and despite being shorter and narrower, retained some of the design elements of K2, at least superficially.

Many communities were still resisting the red colour of kiosks, feeling that it was garish and didn’t fit into a rural environment. This is strange today when the sight of a red telephone kiosk in a quiet little country village is regarded very much as normal, if quaint. The K3 was instead painted cream with red glazing bars. Astonishingly, between 1929-1935, around 12,000 K3 kiosks were installed nationwide. Many firms were responsible for manufacturing these. But you will struggle to find one today as their concrete contruction proved too fragile and almost none have survived. London Zoo’s penguin pool hosts an example outside that now has an English Heritage Grade I listed status.

The crown in the roof is absent from this design. Instead, there is a ventilation slot included just above the ‘Telephone’ sign. This is a design feature that would be carried over to the subsequent, successful kiosk that would follow in still larger numbers.

K3. Part of the National Telephone Kiosk Collection, Avoncroft
K3. Part of the National Telephone Kiosk Collection, Avoncroft
Another era. Concrete K3 telephone kiosk at Langton Green in the 1930s
Another era- a concrete K3 telephone kiosk outside the post office at Langton Green, near Tunbridge Wells, in the 1930s

The Post Office now started getting a little cocky in its ambitions. If post boxes can be sited across the country, and telephone boxes were also being rolled out. Why not include the two functions? And while doing that, why not include a facility for the public to buy stamps, so include two stamp vending machines? So was born the K4.

K4 on the East Somerset Railway. Cranmore Station
K4 on the East Somerset Railway. Cranmore Station
K4 draws heavily upon the design of Scott's K2 kiosk
K4 draws heavily upon the design of Scott’s K2 kiosk
K4 combines a telephone with post box and two stamp vending machines
K4 combines a telephone with post box and two stamp vending machines

Introduced in 1927 and produced in-house by the Post Office engineering department, the K4 was effectively a stretched K2 and the K4 draws on many of that kiosk’s design elements. Three quarters of it are almost unchanged. It is the rear that is radically different. Below the cipher of George V is a post box. Each side of which is a stamp vending machine, these are illuminated by a lamp above. It was colloquially known as the ‘Vermillion Giant‘. Painted one shade of red on the outside, a brighter hue was used inside to brighten the interior. Intended as a ’24 hour post office’, the word ‘telephone’ is above the door, ‘stamps’ above the stamp vending machine, and ‘post office’ on each side.

K4 kiosk on the Severn Valley Railway, Bewdley
K4 kiosk on the Severn Valley Railway, Bewdley

The design was an unmitigated disaster despite being the first fully-automated twenty-four hour postal service. What may be an ideal location for a post box does not necessarily suit a phone box. Telephone users complained of traffic noise and the sound of coins rattling into the stamp vending machine. Stamps got stuck up due to the damp and the sheer size of the kiosk proved problematic. Only fifty were ever made of which a dozen or so survive today. Railway stations proved the most suited of locations and a handful survive on heritage railways and other localities today. A great concept perhaps, but not a practical one.

Each stamp vending machine contained 1000 stamps when freshly loaded
Each stamp vending machine contained a roll of 1000 stamps when freshly loaded

If the K4 is a rare beast today, then the K5 is mythical. This was simply a seven-piece ‘flat pack’ kiosk of 1934 – a transportable temporary design made in steel faced plywood for use at fairs and exhibitions. The envisaged design used less glass for ease of transport. Some might have been made.

Few, if any, kiosk interiors are original. Phones and ancillary equipment is mounted on a back-board then simply removed, replaced and updated to the latest equipment
Few, if any, kiosk interiors are original. A telephone and ancillary equipment is mounted on a back-board then simply removed, replaced and updated to the latest equipment. K6 at Chatham Historic Dockyard
Recontruction of a K5 from original drawings. Part of the Avoncroft National Telephone Kiosk Collection
Recontruction of a K5 from original drawings. Part of the Avoncroft National Telephone Kiosk Collection

We now come to one of the most successful and familiar of telephone kiosk designs. This is the K6, created to be used nationally and installed in huge numbers. There are also some interesting varieties within this kiosk of which just a couple are covered here.

George Gilbert Scott was again asked to design this cheaper and smaller replacement to the K2. His design was termed the ‘Jubilee Kiosk, to commemorate King George V’s 1935 silver jubilee, however it wasn’t actually introduced until 1936, though a single prototype had been installed in London in December 1935. This became the most widely used version of the kiosk with over seventy thousand being installed across the UK. A more vandal-proof Mk II version replaced this in 1939.

K6- On the Limestone Way
K6- On the Limestone Way
K6 at Mousehole, Cornwall. SWCP
K6 at Mousehole, Cornwall. SWCP. Note the ill-fitting Post Office Direction (POD) sign attached to the roof. This should be atop a pillar box
K6 (Lion Foundry), on Norfolk Broads
K6 (Lion Foundry), on Norfolk Broads

If faced with a lone kiosk, you may wonder exactly what type you are looking at. While the larger K2 has six rows of equal sized glazing, the K6 has eight rows of wider central glass panes with narrow ones to the side. This was to let in a little more light to the smaller gloomy interiors, as well as enable the public to see the advertising that was now beginning to adorn the interior of kiosks.

A brief halt on the Yorkshire Wolds Way. anomalous K6 sits beside the village green at Welton
A brief halt on the Yorkshire Wolds Way. Anomalous kiosk sits beside the village green at Welton, Yorkshire

When the telephone service was nationalised in the UK, there were a small number of telephone companies that remained independent. Most of these were eventually subsumed into Post Office Telephones, later BT, however kiosks in and around Hull were the exception. It is the only district in the UK not served by BT. Kingston Communications, later KCOM, maintained cream coloured ‘K6’ kiosks and even today these can be found in Yorkshire.

Cream coloured K6 at Welton, Yorkshire
Cream coloured ‘K6’. Other than their colour, the most noticeable difference is the lack of a crown around the roof.

After 1945, the Post Office agreed that Dark Battleship Grey kiosks with red glazing bars could be used in places of outstanding natural beauty. Many of those were subsequently repainted red as a more appropriate ‘heritage’ colour. Local authorities were, reluctantly, permitted to use more muted colours in rural locations but red glazing bars were supposed to always be included in a paint scheme, however this instruction was occasionally ignored.

K6 at Firle, East Sussex
K6 at Firle, East Sussex
K6 in Dorset. Now used as a book exchange
K6 in Dorset. Now used as a book exchange
K6 in the shadow of Chrome Hill, Peak District
K6 in the shadow of Chrome Hill, Peak District
K6 with crown based on that from the Post Office crest
K6 with Tudor crown based on that from the Post Office crest, dates this kiosk to pre-1953
Queen's Crown of Scotland (the 'Scottish' Crown) inserted into a slot in the casting of this K6 dates it to post 1955
Crown of Scotland (the ‘Scottish’ Crown) inserted into a slot in the casting of this K6 dates kiosk to post 1955

The first K6 kiosks had the usual ‘Tudor Crown’, based on the Post Office crest, included in the roof moulding. With the ascent of Queen Elizabeth II, this was changed in 1953 to a St. Edward’s crown in the casting. However the Queen is not the second Queen Elizabeth of Scotland and there were some objections to its inclusion. From 1955, a slot was included in the kiosk casting so that an appropriate crown could be inserted during assembly

Another piece of information that can be found on the K6 kiosk is the manufacturer- There were five: Carron Foundry, Lion Foundry, Marfarlane [Saracen] Foundry, McDowall Steven and Bratt Colbran

Integral St. Edward's crown dates this K6 to 1953-1955
Integral St. Edward’s crown dates this K6 to 1953-1955
Another noticeable difference on the K6 kiosk is the manufactuer- There were five: Carron Foundry, Lion Foundry, Marfarlane [Saracen] Foundry, McDowall Steven and Bratt Colbran
‘McDowall Steven & Co. Ltd’ casting on side of K6 identifies the manufacturer of this example
Rare as hen's teeth, only five of the aluminium K7 entered service. This example is in the National Collection at Avoncroft
Rare as hen’s teeth, only five of the aluminium K7 kiosks entered service. This example is in the National Collection at Avoncroft
GPO branding on K7 door handle

So, everything going well. A successful, popular and robust design is in place. What next? In 1958 the Post Office decided to explore a replacement design and invited three designers and architects to come up with something. The modern looking design from Neville Conder was selected and six aluminium prototypes were made of the K7. Five went into service in 1962. The innovative design did not progress beyond another six K7 prototypes, this time in cast iron. The original five continued in use for twenty years. Even for such an outwardly simplistic design, there were some nice little touches. The door handle even includes GPO branding.

The Post Office was on a roll now. Despite having experimented (slightly) with alternative construction materials, it was time to not only return to cast iron, but also to the red-painted kiosk. This was a period when the Post Office was going through a bit of a revamp of it’s image. Post Offices were being modernised, Postmen’s uniforms were updated, even a brighter shade of red was now being used on postal vans, post boxes and the next telephone kiosk to be produced. 1965 saw yet another design competition.

Bruce Martin’s was the preferred design however the construction material suggested by Douglas Scott also drew favour. So the Post Office merged the two and came up with a kiosk to mostly Martin’s design but cast in iron, with a cast aluminium door to reduce weight. The first K8 was installed in July 1968 and was radically different to previous designs. The kiosk utilises far less parts in its construction, eschews any ornate decoration, and with Postmaster General Tony Benn at the helm, it is not surprising that the crown was abandoned on the design. Both K6 and K8 telephone kiosks are approximately 8ft 3in/2510mm high and 3ft 5in/910mm wide.

K8 on Polzeath campsite, SWCP
K8 on Polzeath campsite, SWCP. This is an earlier example with original roof design that incorporated a simple casting
K8 on Lynton campsite, SWCP
K8 on Lynton campsite, SWCP. This has a modified roof design introduced in 1976 to stop cracking during the casting process
K8 on Cheddleton campsite
K8 with modified roof cap. On Cheddleton campsite. As usual, I found that the owners of the site were unaware of the rarity of the kiosk on their premises

The 11,000 K8 kiosks produced were the last design for a telephone kiosk ever made by the Post Office. The new ‘modern’ design was exactly what was wanted for the fresh housing estates and new look towns springing up across the UK.

The British Telecom brand was first introduced in 1980, and it became independent of the Post Office in 1981. With the creation of British Telecom, ownership of telecommunications passed to them, along with responsibility for the existing portfolio of kiosks across the country. British Telecom became ‘BT’ in 1991.

The K8 kiosk was the last design to be installed so when British Telecom looked to removing many of their kiosks, it was a case of ‘last in-first out’ and they have subsequently become one of the rarest kiosks to be found with probably less than a hundred extant. Oddly, when K8 telephone kiosks were being installed it was around the time that many campsites were first opening, as a result, these locations are where many survivors are still to be found.

K8 seen at Northwick Park, Metropolitan Line, en route to the London Countryway
K8 seen at Northwick Park, Metropolitan Line, en route to the London Countryway

Some K8s were also adopted by London Underground for internal use and you can still come across examples, sometimes slightly disguised by the addition of wood and metal panelling, and painted an array of alternative colour schemes, on their lines.

Probably the only time you will see a photo of the four classic K series of red-painted kiosks directly compared side-by-side. Photographed at the Postal Museum's store, from left to right- K4, K2, K6 and K8
Probably the only time you will see a photo of the four classic K series kiosks produced by the Post Office directly compared side-by-side. Photographed at the Postal Museum’s store, from left to right- K4, K2, K6 and K8

The British Telecom and subsequent BT kiosks became ever more utilitarian. None more so than the 300 ordered from the US in 1985. These were short-lived on the streets however and none survive beyond the three or four in museum collections. Vast numbers of the new KX series of kiosks were installed by BT- over 137,000 by the end of the century. At the same time, some three-quarters of adults owned a mobile phone.

Stainless steel, anodised aluminium and extensive use of sheet toughened glass or plastics make for cheaper installation. Many were minimalistic in design and Three Points of the Compass has slightly lost interest in these as a result. They are far removed from the cast iron classic designs of yore.

Four-sided pedestal BT phone booths at Waterllo railway station
Four-sided BT pedestal phone booths at Waterloo railway station, London
US design of telephone kiosk, erected 1985. Museum of London store
US design of telephone kiosk, erected in London in 1985. Photographed at the Museum of London store
Pair of KX100's
Introduced in 1985, BT’s KX100‘s were often erected in pairs. Cheapside, London. These are a poor replacement for the cast iron K series of kiosks
British Telecom KX100 Plus kiosk, with added cowling to mimic that of a K series kiosk, and competitor kiosk beside
British Telecom KX100 Plus kiosk introduced 1996, with added cowling reminiscent of K2 and K6 kiosks, open design kiosk beside
K6 converted to provide both telephone call point and cash-point facilities. New Forest
K6 converted to provide both telephone call point and cash-point facilities. New Forest

In 1993, BT began re-installing refurbished K6 kiosk. Some replaced more modern units, others were installed in sensitive heritage sites where a more modern design of telephone kiosk would be unacceptable.

Many cast iron kiosks, mostly K6s, have entered a second existence. Some have been removed from site and subsequently sold, to be erected in private homes or gardens as private kiosks, showers, post boxes, tool sheds or simply ornamental. Others have had their phone fittings removed by BT and have been adopted by local communities and now house defibrillators, or book exchanges, local information points, vegetable sale points, coffee shops, or anything else someone may have thought of.

K6 converted to house an emergency defibrillator. Passed at Sandon, on Icknield Way
K6 converted to house an emergency defibrillator. Passed at Sandon, on Icknield Way
BT KX200's at Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station
BT KX200‘s at Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station. There is improved wheelchair access to this design of kiosk
In 2009 BT entered a partnership with JC Decaux for a new series of 'kiosks'. These have a standard ST6 on one side and scrolling advertising on the other. Ealing, London
In 2009 BT entered a partnership with JC Decaux for a new series of ‘kiosks’. These have a standard ST6 (Street Talk 6) payphone on one side and scrolling advertising on the other. London
KX300's. Probably not used much as hidden away behind the flowers at this railway station outlet
KX300‘s. Probably not much used as hidden away behind the flowers at this railway station outlet

The various modern ‘kiosks’ introduced by British Telecom/BT are functional and resistant to vandalism, but can rarely be called attractive. Only a handful are shown here as there is a bewildering array of variations on a common theme.

BT Phonecard

BT converted some of their KX100 kiosks to accept Phonecards. The new kiosk was shown on some of their Phonecards. These phones would not accept payment by coin and must have been a source of great frustration for some users. For this reason, a coin operated payphone kiosk would also be sited close by- usually!

This not the end however for those curious as to the various telephone kioks that you may stumble across in the UK. To mention just two more of the historic kiosk types that may be seen. These are the Police kiosks and those provided by motoring organisations.

Metropolitan Police Pillar, London. Seen on Shepherd Neame City of London walk
1930s Metropolitan Police post, London. Seen on Shepherd Neame City of London walk
Police telephone kiosk. Glasgow, spotted while en route to the start of the West Highland Way
Police telephone kiosk. Glasgow, spotted en route to the start of the West Highland Way
Police telephone kiosk- Filey, while on the Cleveland Way
Police telephone kiosk- seen at Filey, at the end of the Cleveland Way

The various Police kiosks and posts utilised across the country have a long and fairly involved history. Prior to mobile phones there was a need for officers to contact their station and for a station to contact an officer. Hence the introduction of these kiosks and stand alone call points. Their heyday was from the 1920s to the 1960s. With a large number of disparate Police forces across the UK, the variety of design is large and few are actually alike. They are all invariably dark blue in colour and a number survive. Some have been converted to other uses such as coffee shops, or even taken into gardens for use as garden sheds. And don’t forget Dr. Who’s Tardis!

RAC and AA kiosks. Part of the National Telephone Kiosk Collection
RAC and AA kiosks. Part of the National Telephone Kiosk Collection
AA telephone kiosk. Lake District
AA telephone kiosk. Lake District
AA kiosk at the start of the Wealdway, Eastbourne
AA kiosk at the start of The Wealdway, Eastbourne

Both the Automobile Association (AA) and the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) had a network of phone kiosks for their staff and the public to use. The AA began installing kiosks in 1912, the RAC in 1919. Members had a key to access the interior so that they could phone for assistance. There is quite a wide variety of designs and pedestal boxes were also used. Some examples still survive of each, by far the majority are AA kiosks and they may be seen while driving around the UK.

Not everything is as it seems. These K6 lookalikes are provided by New World Telephones, London
Not everything is as it seems. These black-painted K6 lookalikes are operated by New World Telephones, London

This has just been a brief glance at some of the telephone kiosks that can be seen while walking and travelling across the UK. There are considerably more than those mentioned and shown here but I have covered the most important step changes in evolution, while also showing those most likely to be encountered.

There is considerable additional information to be found online, but little has been pulled together particularly well. Even more exists in various museums, archives and publications, but that takes time and effort to track down and visit for primary research. There are also a number of excellent printed publications that cover the subject for anyone curious enough. I suggest some of those from my own bookshelves in a separate blog.

The British Phonebox

4 replies »

    • Absolutely Andrew. But there are only a dozen or so surviving examples, and I showed three of them! Best images I have are of the one at Avoncroft but I felt I had shown enough images from that collection. Frustratingly, I cannot find my photos of the Whitby and Frodsham boxes that I took quite some years ago

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