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"K" for kiosk (part fifth)
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It was soon pointed out that, contrary to what the new crown implied (and letter boxes announced in the cipher E II R), Her Majesty was not the second Queen Elizabeth of Scotland and that the new Post Office crest did not apply north of the border. The solution was introduced in 1955. Henceforth, K6 fascias were to be cast with slots, into which either the Queen's Crown of Scotland or the St Edward's Crown would be inserted before the roof was fitted, depending on where the box was destined to be used.

Between 1950 and 1955 about 25,000 new K6s were erected, an even greater rate than before 1939. The pace slowed thereafter, but they were still being installed at the rate of about a thousand a year in the mid 1960s.

The GPO again considered the possibility of a new design of kiosk and in 1958 invited designs from three noted designers and architects, Neville Conder, Misha Black and Jack Howe. All three proposed to use aluminium. The GPO eventually selected Conder's design for a field trial. It was designated the K7, and the first versions were erected in 1962. The K7 was innovative in many ways. It was determinedly modern and was intended to be erected in groups, by then an increasingly likely need. It used windows fixed in rubber gaskets, much like those used for many years for car windscreens. Six prototypes were made, five of which entered public service. These were in aluminium, as Conder had intended, but they lacked some of the machined surface finishes that would be possible with mass-production. Most of these were designed to combat the effect of weathering on aluminium and, in their absence, the Post Office was soon criticising the material as unsuitable for the British climate. It is also very possible that Post Office engineers were reluctant to adopt a new material. Without telling Conder what they were doing, they commissioned a further half dozen K7s in cast iron. What happened to this second batch is not known. It is reported that some were erected in Glasgow, but this remains unconfirmed. Whatever happened to them, the K7 was not adopted for general use and most of the aluminium prototypes went on to provide perfectly satisfactory service for twenty years.

The Post Office preference for cast iron continued in the design that eventually superseded the K6. It was not that the K6 needed to be replaced, but there was a need for a more modern design that was suitable for use in the many new town centres and housing estates being built, and that was cheaper to produce, easier to maintain and resistant to the greatly increased levels of vandalism.

Consequently, in 1965, a new competition was held for what was to become the K8. Three designers were asked to submit proposals - Neville Conder, Bruce Martin and Douglas Scott. In the end, only Martin and Scott produced complete designs. Martin's was to be made in aluminium. Scott's was to use cast iron. Martin's design was preferred, but the Post Office was concerned that it might not be strong enough, so they made it of cast iron but with a cast aluminium door. It first appeared on the streets in July 1968.

The K8 was a fundamentally different design to the K6 and it also incorporated a more subtle change: it was not quite the same shade of red. The K8 was 'poppy red' (BS381C - red 539, to be precise), a slightly more orange shade than the old Post Office red (BS381С-red 538). Over the following years the new livery was applied to all kiosks.


"K" for kiosk (part fifth)

A post-1955 Кб in the alternative grey and red livery, in the Cathedral Close at Salis-bury.


"K" for kiosk (part fifth)

Neither red, nor grey, nor carrying a crown motif, the white kiosks in Hull have always had their own unique style.


"K" for kiosk (part fifth)

By the end of the 1950s, as demand grew, kiosks were frequently grouped, often by the addition of boxes to an existing site. This elegant group in Stafford is of three pre-1953 units and one that is post-1955.


"K" for kiosk (part fifth)

Five aluminium K7s were put on trial in 1962. One was in Coventry, another in the City of London. These three were in Grosvenor Gardens, near Victoria station, London.


"K" for kiosk (part fifth)

The main material for Douglas Scott's submission was cast iron. Stainless steel was used for the corner cappings and for the glazing frames.


"K" for kiosk (part fifth)

One of the very first K8s, photographed on the day of its public launch in 1968. Notice the new plain lettering and the lack of any crown motif.


"K" for kiosk (part fifth)

This group of К8s sports the early 1980s experimental and controversial yellow livery of the newly established British Telecom.

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