“No Place to Hide: The Phone Box on Exhibition Road,” is a feature article written by Angus Patterson for V&A. It looks at the history behind the K2 red telephone box on Exhibition Road which bears bombing scars from World War II.

V&A’s red telephone box

During World War II, the V&A museum sustained damage during bombing air raids. Outside V&A stood one of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s famous red telephone boxes.

Like most red telephone boxes, the one outside V&A stood out. The box was installed in the 1920s and was a popular way for commuters to communicate. It was installed at the front of the museums façade, in prime place for business.

Considerable damage

“The museum suffered considerable damage,” claimed a report at the time which covered the bombing air raids. This is plain to see with a study of the K2’s cast iron shell, which is matted and scarred with shrapnel hits. Shockingly, the thick cast iron shell of the red phone box was penetrated clean through in places.

A report at the time details the damage: “Two powerful bombs hit in the vicinity on Exhibition Road. It has practically wrecked the west side of the museum. The surface of the masonry was badly knocked about and the Exhibition Road doors were blown in. Practically all windows, frames and iron grilles were destroyed, and we have lost most of the glass roofing on that side of the museum.’

If you’d like to find out more about the red telephone box on Exhibition Road, we invite you to read the original article on V&A.