The British Phonebox was co-written by BT Technology, Service & Operations’ Andy Sutton and Nigel Linge, a professor of telecoms at the University of Salford.
The book contains 122 photos and examines the history and evolution of the British phonebox through all of its major models - and the exciting new designs that will extend the life of the phonebox well into the twenty-first century.
The British phone kiosk began life as the ‘silence cabinet’ in the late 1800s, but started to establish itself firmly as part of the landscape in the 1920s when the first standardised K1 model was introduced.
Co-author Andy says: “The red phone box is a globally recognisable icon and an important part of our history and heritage. Our book aims to tell the story from its origins, before it was painted red, through to new kiosks for the 21st century.”
Kiosk K1, Mark 234, but fitted with the much later, more ornate roof decoration. This example is at the Crich Tramway Village. (Neil Johannessen)
Today the familiar glass-paned K6 telephone box is considered to be a design icon, but that wasn’t always the case.
Nigel says: “In the late 1950s and the 1960s the country was looking forward, and in this context the K6 looked tired and old.
“Kiosk vandalism was still a major problem and the K6 wasn’t well suited to providing disabled access.”
Many of the book’s photos are original, but some are from the BT Archives in Holborn, central London.