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"K" for kiosk (part two)
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The Post Office intended to use the K2 almost exclusively in London and, as boxes in the first production batch cost over £50 each, it determined that other places would get them only in the most special circumstances. This policy was largely successful: of more than 1500 K2s, only a few dozen or so were installed on sites outside London.

The K2 was not only too expensive for general use, it was also too big. With these factors in mind, the Post Office decided to continue to supply the Kl, but in a dramatically remodelled form. Designated the Kl Mk236 and introduced in 1927, it had glazing reminiscent of Giles Gilbert Scott's design and was painted cream, with red glazing bars and a red door.

Over 5000 modified Kls were erected over the next three years while, in search of a better design, the Post Office asked Scott (by now Sir Giles) to design a further kiosk. The idea was to combine the smaller size and lower cost of the Kl with the quality of design of his K2. The result was the concrete КЗ. Introduced in 1929, it was similar in style to the K2. The КЗ was to be the standard kiosk for Britain, a role it fulfilled very well. Around 12,000 units were erected all over the country during the next six years.

The K4, introduced in 1927, was a departure from the main run of kiosk development. It was a rather grand idea on the part of the Post Office, aiming to combine some of the services of a post office with a telephone kiosk, in a form of 24-hour post office. To achieve this they literally 'stretched' the K2, the additional space being used to accommodate a letter box and two stamp-vending machines. The K4 was rapidly nicknamed the 'Vermilion Giant'.

The K5, introduced in 1934, was even more of a departure. In some ways it was not even a real kiosk. Made in steel-faced plywood, it was a transportable knockdown kiosk for use at exhibitions and in other temporary locations. It is not known how many were made and, if any still remain, they are extremely well hidden.

Scott's concrete КЗ was a success but, as the rate of installation increased, problems arose. The kiosks were produced by a number of manufacturers around Britain and it was difficult to ensure the required standards. A Mark 2 version was introduced in 1934, featuring new moulding details and much thicker roof pillars, but it had become clear that, even though cast-iron boxes cost more to manufacture, the long-term maintenance costs were lower. In addition, not only were the Kl and КЗ smaller externally than the K2 but, as their walls were thicker, their internal space was smaller still. What was needed was a model with the small ground area of the КЗ and the spacious interior of the K2.

Post Office engineers considered constructing the КЗ in fabricated steel, making the walls much thinner. However, even as they were making their plans, a more pressing consideration arose.


"K" for kiosk (part two) "K" for kiosk (part two)

Two of the 1923 competition entries. There were some innovative ideas but they were generally little more than reworkings of the 'Birmingham' and K1 designs.


"K" for kiosk (part two) "K" for kiosk (part two) "K" for kiosk (part two)


"K" for kiosk (part two) "K" for kiosk (part two)

The telephone boxes in the 1924 contest by (top left) the Birmingham Civic Society, (top centre) Sir Robert Lorimer, (top right) the GPO, (bottom left) Sir John Burnet and (bottom right) Giles Gilbert Scott. After judging, four of the five wooden mock-ups went into public service, in covered sites. The Birmingham model appears to have been returned. Of the four that were put to use, one has miraculously survived. Under the courtyard arch entrance at the Royal Academy, Piccadilly, London, Scott's design can still be used.


"K" for kiosk (part two)

New roof and door signs, introduced in 1924, did little to improve the basic K1.


"K" for kiosk (part two)

An early issue Kiosk No. 2. Giles Gilbert Scott envisaged that his design would be fabricated in steel, painted silver and have elegant serif lettering.
The GPO chose to make it in cast iron, to paint it vermilion red, and to use their then normal blue and white kiosk lettering.


"K" for kiosk (part two)

The style of lettering around the dome of the K2 was soon changed to this more elegant form. The same serif lettering, in maroon on cream, was used thereafter until the 1960s.


"K" for kiosk (part two)

Two of the few K2s that were erected outside London. These were to be found in Oxford.


"K" for kiosk (part two)

The concrete КЗ was used throughout the United Kingdom, on both urban and rural sites. An all-red colour scheme was allowed, but the most normal livery was cream stipple paint and red glazing bars. This box was outside the Belfast Post Office.


"K" for kiosk (part two)

Some places that demanded, but were denied, the K2 were very reluctant to accept the Kl. A compromise was reached in Eastbourne with the provision of two specially thatched units.


"K" for kiosk (part two)

The modified Kl (the Mk236) provided the Post Office with a generally acceptable yet low-cost option. It shared the new standard 'Telephone' sign with the K2.

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