Mark Duell’s article “Revealed: How Britain’s iconic red phone boxes were inspired by the 19th century mausoleum architect Sir John Soane designed for his wife,” published on the Daily Mail, reveals the fascinating history behind the K2 telephone box and how the design for it was inspired by ‘The Soane Memorial’.
What do a graveyard and the red telephone box have in common?
Quite a lot.
As Mark Duell reveals in his article, the K2 box, perhaps better known as the red telephone box, was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who got the idea from Soane’s memorial at St Pancras Old Church. The Soane Memorial was raised in 1816 over the grave of architect Sir John Soane’s wife Eliza. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was familiar with the tomb because he was a trustee of John’s museum for over 35 years.
As you can see in the picture below (INSERT PICTURE BELOW), the Soane Memorial bares a striking resemblance to the red telephone box. The shape of the tomb, and the curvature and pitch of the roof, are the same. Also, all four sides of the K2 telephone box offer a view out into the world, the same as the tomb raised in 1816.
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott didn’t want his telephone boxes to be red, though. He wanted them coloured silver and made from steel. The Post Office changed that to coloured red and made from iron. Still, at least the shape remained unaltered.
To find out more about how the K2 box’s design was inspired by The Soane Memorial, we invite you to read the original article on The Daily Mail.