National Payphone Museum, K2, Worcestershire, B60 4JR

National Payphone Museum, K2, Worcestershire, B60 4JR

Date of visit: 12th Sept 2020

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The red telephone box was the result of a competition in 1924 to design a kiosk that would be acceptable to the London Metropolitan Boroughs which had hitherto resisted the Post Office’s effort to erect K1 kiosks on their streets.

The Royal Fine Art Commission was instrumental in the choice of the British standard kiosk. Because of widespread dissatisfaction with the GPO’s design, the Metropolitan Boroughs Joint Standing Committee organised a competition for a superior one in 1923, but the results were disappointing. The Birmingham Civic Society then produced a design of its own—in reinforced concrete—but it was informed by the Director of Telephones that the design produced by the Office of the Engineer-in-Chief was preferred; as the Architects’ Journal commented, “no one with any knowledge of design could feel anything but indignation with the pattern that seems to satisfy the official mind”. The Birmingham Civic Society did not give up and, with additional pressure from the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Town Planning Institute and the Royal Academy, the Postmaster General was forced to think again; and the result was that the RFAC organised a limited competition.

K2 in London
The organisers invited entries from three respected architects and, along with the designs from the Post Office and from The Birmingham Civic Society, the Fine Arts Commission judged the competition and selected the design submitted by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. The invitation had come at the time when Scott had been made a trustee of Sir John Soane’s Museum: his design for the competition was in the classical style, but topped with a dome reminiscent of Soane’s self-designed mausoleums in St Pancras’ Old Churchyard and Dulwich Picture Gallery, London.

The original wooden prototypes of the entries were later put into public service at under-cover sites around London. That of Scott’s design is the only one known to survive and is still where it was originally placed, in the left entrance arch to the Royal Academy.

The Post Office chose to make Scott’s winning design in cast iron (Scott had suggested mild steel) and to paint it red (Scott had suggested silver, with a “greeny-blue” interior) and, with other minor changes of detail, it was brought into service as the Kiosk No.2 or K2. From 1926 K2 was deployed in and around London and the K1 continued to be erected elsewhere.

Avoncroft Museum, home of the National Telephone Kiosk Collection
If you are interested in telephone kiosks, old telephones or telephone exchanges then a trip to the National Telephone Kiosk Collection at the Avoncroft Museum in Bromsgrove is well worth a visit.

Here is the K2 box on show at the museum, this marks the start of the true red telephone box, designed in 1926 and introduced in 1927 the Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s designed K2 represents the classical design or red box which became the foundation for the design of the K6.

Unfortunately due to restriction of Covid 19 all the kiosks were locked up and access limited, sorry for the poor images at this time.

Location Information

Location – what3words:///glee.client.pulled
Location – UK Postcode B60 4JR
Location – OS Grid Ref: 395286, 268470
Location – Latitude / Longditude: 52.314319, -2.070569
Location – Northing / Westing 52°18’51.5″N 2°04’14.0″W