Red Telephone Kiosk

Red Telephone Kiosk

In London and across the country, the red telephone box is an iconic image for residents and tourists alike.

The history of the public telephone actually begins in the late 1880s but it was not until the early 1900s that telephone kiosks started to appear. The first kiosk, K1, was installed in 1921.

The origin of the familiar red telephone box begins with the K2. In 1923, the General Post Office held a competition to design the next telephone box. The successful design was by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in conjunction with the Royal Fine Arts Commission. K2 was launched in 1926. It had a domed roof, a design that continued in many later kiosks. This kiosk was primarily used across London, as it was deemed too expensive and prestigious to use throughout the country. A more affordable version was eventually released across the United Kingdom. Since then, there have been a number of variations on this design.

Sir Giles also produced the next design, K3, in 1929. This was smaller than its predecessor and was very successful, with 12,000 kiosks appearing across the country. However, the most well known in London and throughout Britain, is the K6. This first appeared in 1936, and combined the best elements from the earlier designs. By the end of production, there were nearly 70,000 K6's across Britain.

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