The article “Design for GPO Telephone Kiosk 1924,” published on RIBA Architecture, features the original design for Giles Gilbert Scott’s classic telephone box drawn on a linen sheet and a brief history of the kiosk.
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s design
In 1924, the London Metropolitan Boroughs ran a competition to find a new design for telephone boxes. They were unhappy with the Post Office’s K1 design, which was bulky and ugly. Giles Gilbert Scott won the competition with his design, which was drawn on a linen sheet sometime between 1924 and 1926.
Below is a scan of the original drawing on linen sheet:
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The drawing depicts the front, rear, top and sides of the kiosk with measurements and notes about its features. Why was it drawn on linen? As RIBA writes, “The cloth was popular with architects as it was durable, translucent and produced excellent folding properties.”
The famous red telephone box
The red telephone box is one of Britain’s most iconic designs. Some would say it’s the most iconic design. The original wooden prototypes were put into public service in London in 1926. One of these can be found at the Royal Academy.
The K2 was Scott’s first design, but he also designed the K3. Confusingly, the K3 kiosk was launched after the K4 which was designed by the Post Office. The K3 was made from concrete, so very few models survive today.
You can view the original design for the K2 telephone kiosk on RIBA Architecture.