They are one of the most instantly recognisable symbols of Britain and while the red phone box may not be a feature of every British town and city, they are still just as famous and loved as ever.
Our love affair with the iconic red phonebox started in 1912 when the General Post Office absorbed all the private telephone companies in Britain, and in a bid to find a single design for a national kiosk, the first standard kiosk, the K1, appeared.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a big hit with local authorities and was only installed in limited numbers.
The red K2, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, was rolled out in 1926 followed by a few years later with the blue metropolitan police telephone box. Next came the K6 with nearly 8,000 kiosks installed across the UK from 1936.
Phone kiosks, however, slowly fell into decline with the majority of the red telephone boxes being removed or replaced by BT branded versions.
In 2017, the red phone box is yet again getting a makeover. New World Payphones are set to revolutionise urban spaces in London and nationwide with state-of-the-art kiosks, inspired by the originals.
The new versions are adapting the classic K2 kiosk for the 21st century, updating the iconic design with cutting edge technology, bringing something beautiful to Britain’s urban centres.
The new phone kiosks are set to offer much more than vital telephony services by providing pedestrians and communities with high-speed Wi-Fi connection and interactive touch screen journey planners and local information services, and as always the kiosk is open to all.
There is good news for the environment too; for every red phone box removed or replaced, a living gift is to be bestowed upon us in the form of a tree being planted near the phone box site.
Professor Nigel Linge of the University of Salford’s telecommunication programme said: “It’s often said that mobile phones have caused the death of the public phone box, I would argue that this new model proves that mobiles have actually prompted the evolution of the phone box.
“Our communication needs are always evolving. This model meets the demand for enabling modern communication, while keeping one foot in the past with a design steeped in history. It is a technological and aesthetically-pleasing success and will ensure that phone boxes will retain their ubiquitous presence on our high streets for years to come.”
Sit back and get a lesson in history; here’s the birth and evolution of Britain’s most recognisable symbol: