The famous red telephone box
Red Telephone Box facts:
The K6, Red Telephone Box was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1935 to coincide with the Jubilee of King George V. Sadly the King did not live to see any such examples installed.
Initially known as the 'Jubilee' Kiosk, some 70,000 examples were installed around the UK between 1936 to 1968.
Kiosk number 6 or K6, is the sixth British telephone box design, superseding its predecessors. (K1, K2, K3, K4 & K5, although the K5 never went into production).
The K6 kiosk is recognised on a global scale, along with double decker buses & pillar boxes....all red!
K6 kiosks were produced in five foundries:
Carron Foundry, Lion Foundry, McDowall Steven, Macfarlane (also known as Saracen Foundry) and Bratt Colbran.
In the 30's it was not uncommon for a kiosk to be missing glass panes! A screwdriver could easily remove cast glazing frames to release precious glass, enough to glaze a coldframe!
K6 kiosks were modified slightly in 1939. An integral improvement on the cast iron backpanel ensured that 'A and B' coin boxes could not be prized off there glossy wooden, bakelite & chrome mounting boards. Mk 2 examples utilised 'Lugs' cast into their iron backs. These were 'drilled and tapped' at the foundry to accept strong bolts securing the coin boxes through the wooden backboard and into the casting... Brass dowels were also produced, replacing screws to retain the inner glazing frames. This again reduced the opportunist thief!
Mk 2 kiosks were available in four assemblies, for use under various conditions as follows:-
“Kiosks No. 6A”; door fitted opposite back panel and hinged left
“Kiosks No. 6B”; door fitted opposite back panel and hinged right
“Kiosks No. 6C”; door fitted on the left side panel and hinged left
“Kiosks No. 6D”; door fitted on the right side panel and hinged right
Unbeknown to the majority of people, K6 kiosk doors are made from teak wood! There heavy inner cast iron glazing bars and slow moving closure mechanism give the impression of a one piece solid unit.
K6 kiosks equipped with interiors weigh 750kgs (14.25 CWT / 3/4 ton / 1653 Lbs) They stand an impressive eight foot four inches by three foot square. Telephone boxes are renowned to be red, however in the 1940's kiosks in a setting of 'particular natural beauty' were often painted Battleship Grey with red glazing bars. This was to 'blend in' more with the surroundings!
K6 kiosks comprise 18 separate cast iron sections and are held together with exactly 200 screws. The units are either fabricated at the foundry or erected on site. Assembled kiosks were installed using crane units or purpose built kiosk trailers.
1952 saw the introduction of 'Elizabethan' crowned examples. Two years later it was noted that Queen Elizabeth II was not the second Queen of Scotland, thus modifications to the K6 were required. Interchangeable crowns were cast so that kiosks destined for 'North of the border' could sport the Scottish crown.
Since being decommissioned back in the early 1980's thousands have been smashed and weighed in for scrap until a reprisal in the nineties.
Some 2,500 examples of K6 have been granted 'grade II listings'.
Approximately 14,000 examples of K6 remain on our streets.