Frequently Asked Questions
Please browse this list of Frequently Asked Questions for more information and telephone kiosks and street furniture. The questions and answers are some of the more popular questions e-mailed to the website.
This is not something that we can arrange. However, there are a number of companies who will be able help. To purchase a restored kiosk you may like to contact X2Connect, Unicorn Kiosks or RedPhoneBox.com. Lightweight, reproduction kiosks are also available, from The Phoneybox Company. Alternatively, if you wish to build your own kiosk why not purchase a set of instructions by Les Kenny, who has created a detailed set of plans to help build your own K2 telephone kiosk.
Kiosks can only be adopted by recognised local authorities, parish, community or town councils, or registered charity in England, Scotland and Wales. Terms and conditions, set out by British Telecom, also apply. For more information please visit the British Telecom Adopt a Kiosk website.
This is not something that we can provide. A detailed set of instructions for the design of a K2 kiosk by Les Kenny is available for purchase.
Yes, I have been interviewed by BBC Radio, ABC News in the United States and Germany's Deutsche Welle. I am a telephone box enthusiast, based in London, and have run this website since 2005. Please use the contact form link at the top of the page to get in touch.
Figures from British Telecom record the following installations over time:
- 1925: 1,000 (K1 only)
- 1930: 8,000 (includes K2 and K3)
- 1935: 19,000 (includes K6)
- 1940: 35,000
- 1950: 44,000
- 1960: 65,000
- 1970: 70,000 (includes K8)
- 1980: 73,000
These totals do not represents all kiosks; kiosks will have been installed at new locations but some kiosks will have replaced pre-existing kiosks, e.g. a K6 kiosk replacing a rural K1 kiosk.
Approximate figures indicate the following numbers of kiosks:
- K1: 6,300
- K2: 1,700
- K3: 12,000
- K4: 50
- K5: none (a small number of sample kiosks were manufactured)
- K6: 60,000
- K7: 12 (prototypes only)
- K8: 11,000
For the 80th anniversary of the red telephone box in October 2016 British Telecom reported that just 8,000 of the 46,000 public kiosks remaining are "traditional red phone boxes", but this number is likely to reduce gradually in line with demand. Many telephone kiosks are now listed structures. Figures from May 2017 record the following numbers of listed kiosks:
- K1: 6 (England only)
- K2: 220 (England only)
- K3: 1 (England), 1 (Scotland)
- K4: 5 (England only)
- K5: none
- K6: Listed kiosks: 2,343 (England), 236 (Wales), 128 (Scotland), 201 (Northern Ireland) leaving approximately 5,100 un-listed kiosks
- K7: none
- K8: 12 (England only)
These figures are collated from the websites of Historic England, Cadw and Historic Environment Scotland. Some K6 listings in England may comprise more than one kiosk. The figures for Northern Ireland are taken from an article published by Irish News in June 2016. The difference between the total number of listed kiosks on total number of remaining kiosks are likely to be mainly K6 kiosks, hence the figure provided above. These numbers exlcude kiosks in private ownership.
Not all remaining red telephone boxes have been listed. Early listings related did not include the K8. Following a two year campaign led by the 20th Century Society the first K8 kiosk received Grade II-listing on 8 July 2009. The kiosk, at Worcester Shrub Hill Railway Station, is one of around 54 remaining functioning K8 kiosks in the UK. This number includes those identified at London Underground stations, but not those in private ownership. A campaign by the 20th Century Society aims to get all surviving K8 kiosks listed. Listing is not automatically applied to all red telephone boxes; listing is applied on a case-by-case basis. Therefore other kiosks not listed remain at risk.
The K2, K3 and K6 were designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. He was born on 9 November 1880 and came from a pre-eminent family of architects. His father was George Gilbert Scott Junior and his grandfather Sir George Gilbert Scott Senior. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott produced iconic designs in Britain including those for Liverpool Cathedral and Battersea Power Station. His design for Liverpool Cathedral was submitted in 1903, when he was just twenty-two years old. Knighted by King George V on 22 July 1924, he died on 8 February 1960.
Red was a highly visible colour. The General Post Office's pillar boxes were already painted red so the choice of colour was an obvious decision. Originally Scott had intended his kiosks to be painted silver, with a "greeny-blue" interior; but for the internal workings of the Post Office Britain might never have had a Red Telephone Box.
The K2 telephone kiosk is approximately 9 ft/274 cm high, 3ft 4 in/100 cm wide and weighs approximately 1,250 kg. The K6 and K8 telephone kiosks are both approximately 8 ft/244 cm high and 3 ft/91 cm wide and weigh approximately 750 kg and 600 kg respectively.
The first K2 telephone kiosks were installed in Kensington and Holborn in central London.
On the northern side of Piccadilly in London, between Sackville Street and Old Bond Street stands Burlington House, home to the Royal Academy of Arts. Just inside the porte-cochere entrance stands Sir Giles Gilbert-Scott's original, wooden, prototype K2 kiosk. On the opposite side of the porte-cochere is a production-version of a K2.
Yes. You can view these kiosks in person at the National Telephone Kiosk Collection. The collection forms part of the Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings in Bromgsrove, Worcestershire (England). It comprises examples of all GPO kiosks as well as a collection of kiosks from other independent telephone companies, the Automobile Association (AA) and the Royal Automobile Club (RAC). A visit to this museum is highly recommended.
Yes, prior and subsequent to the General Post Office monopoly, examples of kiosks were installed in many parts of the country. For example, following privatisation rival companies such as Mercury Communications established new kiosk networks. General Post Office-designed kiosks such as the K6 and K8 were used by other telecoms and utility companies. Hull Corporation installed a number of white crown-less K6 kiosks and London Underground installed the K8 kiosk at a number of stations, although not for public use.
As of March 2017 there are around 4,000 adopted kiosks in the UK. Without these adoption schemes many of these kiosks will habe been removed and lost from local communities. British Telecom's website states that 8,000 further kiosks are available for adoption. If these are not adopted it is likely that many of these, if not listed by a heritage body, will be decommissioned and removed.
The website www.cabbieblog.com has a map showing the location of the surviving thirteen cabmen's shelters. The map is available on their website or via this direct link.
The website PoliceBoxes.co.uk has a map showing the location of known police boxes. The website also has a map showing surviving police boxes and replica police boxes.
If you have a specific question and have not been able to find an answer on this website, please use the contact form below to get in touch.