Thursday, 4 October 2012


Hello everyone,

Vanessa- London 2007
This is me and I took this image in London (2007) when I went there with my friends. London fascinated me and I hope to come back soon!
I am sure this image  is well-known to you, but...I am going to tell you some curiosities about one of the most famous British icons, the 
red telephone box:

-What's this? It is a telephone kiosk for a public telephone.  

-Who designed it? It was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.

-Is it only in London? No, it isn't. It is a familiar sight on the streets of the United Kingdom, Malta, Bermuda and Gibraltar, and despite a reduction in their numbers in recent years, red boxes can still be seen in many places and in current or former British colonies around the world. 

-Why red? Because the colour red made them easy to spot.

-When was the first public telephone kiosk introduced? In 1920 (designated K1)

-Why was it created? It was created because in 1924 took place a competition to design a kiosk that would be acceptable to the London Metropolitan Boroughs. The boxes were the same idea as the police boxes.

-Is there only one design? No, there isn't. 6 different models have existed:
          K1 (1920)

K2 (1926): Scott's winning design in cast iron deployed in and around London. 
k3 (1929): Similar to K2 but constructed from concrete and intended for nationwide use. The standard colour scheme for both the K1 and the K3 was cream, with red glazing bars.

K4 (1927): designed by the Post Office Engineering Department. It incorportaed a post box and machines for buying postage stamps on the exterior. Only 50 kiosks of this design were built.
K5 (1934):  a playwood construction designed to be assembled and dismantled  and used at exhibitions.

K6 (1935): designed to commemorate the silver jubilee of King George V. K6 was the first red telephone kiosk to be extensively used outside London, and many thousands were deployed in virtually every town and city, replacing most of the existing kiosks and establishing thousands of new sites.

-Is King George V the only one  related with the red telephone box? No, it isn't.
In 1952 the new Queen, Elizabeth II, decided to depart from the practice of using the purely symbolic 'Tudor Crown' as the symbol of her government, and instead use a representation of the actual crown generally used for British coronations, the St Edward's Crown. This new symbol therefore began to appear on the fascias of K6 kiosks. In Scotland, the Post Office opted to use a representation of the actual Crown of Scotland, in line with the new practice for other parts of the Government.
Prior to these changes, the Tudor Crown had been used in all parts of the United Kingdom, and the British Empire.
To accommodate the two different Crowns on the K6 kiosks, the fascia sections were henceforth cast with a slot in them, into which a plate bearing the appropriate crown was inserted before the roof section was fitted. (This change happened in 1955 and is a very useful way of dating K6 boxes manufactured thereafter.)
Kiosks installed in Kingston upon Hull were not fitted with a crown, as those kiosks were installed by the Hull Corporation (later Hull City Council, then Kingston Communications). All boxes in Hull were also painted in cream.

-Has it been modernised? Yes, of course!In 1959 architect Neville Conder was commissioned to design a new box. The K7 design went no further than the prototype stage. K8 was introduced in 1968 designed by Bruce Martin. It was used primarily for new sites; around 11000 were installed, replacing earlier models only when they needed relocating or had been damaged beyond repair. The K8 retained a red colour scheme, but it was a different shade of red: a slightly brighter 'Poppy Red', which went on to be the standard colour across all kiosks.
The K8 featured a single large glass panel on two sides and the door. While improving visibility and illumination inside the box, these were vulnerable to damage. Only 12 remain — most having been replaced with the KX100 — making the K8 as rare as the K3.

-Has it been used in contemporary art? Yes, it has.


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