The Story of Kiosk No 3


The K3 kiosk was introduced in 1929. It was intended for use nationwide, whereas the K2 kiosk was limited to London due its cost and size. The K3 was designed by British architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also designed the K2 in 1924. Some 12,000 examples were installed by 1935. The design of the K3 was an evolution of Scott's K2 design, but with less classical architectural styling. K3 kiosks are very rare, with only one example given Grade II listing status by English Heritage.


The K3 kiosk is constructed of concrete sections, bolted together, standing on a concrete base. Its general form is a four-sided rectangular box with a domed roof. On three sides of the kiosk, are six rows of three small rectangular panes of glass, with red-painted glazing bars; the equivalent back panel is blank. The door is of teak, with a metal "cup" handle. Above the main body of the kiosk is an entablature, set back from the face of the kiosk, with a rectangular slot containing an illuminated telephone sign, with serif capital lettering on opaque glass. The roof of the kiosk is domed, formed by shallow segmental pediments with embossed panels. The dome stands on short, cubic capitals, disguising narrow ventilation slots. The K3 does not carry a Royal crown. Unlike the K2, K6 and K8 kiosks, but like the K1 and K5 kiosks, the K3 is not painted red. Apart from the window glazing bars, the external surfaces of the K3 are finished in cream stipple-paint. The detailing of the K3 is simple, without excessive decoration. The execution of the design in concrete is unrefined, the coarse aggregate stone gives the concrete a cruder finish than the General Post Office's cast-iron kiosks.


The design of the K2 was accepted following a competition organised in 1924 by the Royal Fine Art Commission. However, it was expensive at £35 14s 0d per kiosk and quite large. For these reasons there was a unofficial policy within the General Post Office to restrict installations of the K2 to London, with a few rare exceptions. The K1 kiosk was manufactured of pre-cast concrete sections and in 1925 had a unit price of just £13. The General Post Office looked to Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to refine the design of his K2 into a more cost-effective solution, manufactured of concrete. At the time concrete was not widely used and the quality of the material varied. The finish of the K3 was fairly crude; concrete did not allow the refined detailing of the K2 to be replicated. K3 kiosks were often damaged whilst in transit for installation as the concrete proved fragile and weathered too easily. Unlike the K2, the K3 was painted a cream colour with red glazing bars, a concession for those who disliked the red K2. Some 12,000 examples were installed nationwide in six years, before the General Post Office commissioned Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to design a new national kiosk to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V; the K6.

Heritage legacy

Between 1929 and 1935 11,000 examples of the K3 were installed. They are exceptionally rare. There total number of known surviving K2 kiosk is two (less than 1% of all K3 kiosks): a K3 found at London Zoo's Parrot House (with Grade II listing status from English Heritage), and in Scotland, at Rhynd near Perth. Of the eight kiosk types introduced by the General Post Office, the K2 was the third-most populous type introduced, but the sixth-most populous type in terms of surviving kiosks. A number of exported K3 kiosks can be found in Portugal.

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