Classic Red Phone Box Turns 75

We all know that classic red phone box. In fact, little more represents Britain than the very kiosk which today celebrates its 75th anniversary. Designed by English architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, Kiosk no. 6 (K6) was introduced to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V in 1936. Upon introduction, the K6 was installed in every town or village with a post office, citing 8,000 installations in the first year. By the end of production in 1968, there were nearly 70,000 placed throughout the country. While the K6 model eventually faced replacement in the 1980s with the more modern KX series, many of the originals were sold off in auctions and the design was also registered as a trademark. The K6 still represents about 20 percent of Britain’s phone boxes, roughly 11,000, though payphone use has plunged in the last five years more than 80 percent and reportedly 64 percent of phone boxes actually lose the company’s money. Instead of just removing the boxes, which each weigh in at three quarters of a ton, the BT has been selling the decommissioned phone boxes and urging parish councils to adopt the local phone boxes and safeguard them through its Adopt a Kiosk scheme which sees villagers use the boxes for everything from art exhibitions to local libraries. To commemorate the 75th anniversary, BT has donated a K6 kiosk to the Design Museum for permanent display and is set to feature in the museum’s “This is Design” exhibit. The exhibit features highlights from the museum’s collection including Anglepoise lamp, the candlestick telephone, the Moulton bicycle and the 1997 Apple iMac. Happy Birthday, K6! You’ll always hold a special place in our hearts.