History in Structure

3 K6 Telephone Kiosks, High Street, Edinburgh

A Category B Listed Building in Edinburgh, Edinburgh

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Latitude: 55.9499 / 55°56'59"N

Longitude: -3.1891 / 3°11'20"W

OS Eastings: 325837

OS Northings: 673623

OS Grid: NT258736

Mapcode National: GBR 8PG.HM

Mapcode Global: WH6SL.ZQJ3

Plus Code: 9C7RWRX6+X8

Entry Name: 3 K6 Telephone Kiosks, High Street, Edinburgh

Listing Name: High Street, Group of K6 Telephone Kiosks (At 150-164 High Street)

Listing Date: 5 March 1991

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 371061

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB30254

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200371061

Location: Edinburgh

County: Edinburgh

Town: Edinburgh

Electoral Ward: City Centre

Traditional County: Midlothian

Tagged with: Telephone booth

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Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, 1935; produced 1936-1968. 3 standard K6 telephone kiosks in an aligned grouping standing on slightly sloping ground on the High Street. Each comprising 4 sides of lying-pane glazing (8 high) with narrow margin lights, one side with cup handle at 4th/5th pane forming door. Blind cast-iron panel to rear with telephone and shelf unit. Rectangular glass opal to each side with vent below and central embossed crown above; rising into 4 segmental-headed pediments terminating in a saucer dome. Cast-iron, painted Post Office red.

Statement of Interest

Visually striking group of 3 standard K6 telephone call boxes occupying a key location towards the top of Edinburgh's High Street. The landmark K6 design, with its red livery, is a distinctive and widely-acknowledged icon of Britain's streets, providing an invaluable public telecommunications service throughout the second half of the 20th century and beyond. Part of Edinburgh's World Heritage Site, the Royal Mile runs from Edinburgh Castle at the top to Holyrood Palace at the bottom. The High Street is of outstanding national and international historical and architectural significance.

The General Post Office set up a committee to redesign the telephone kiosk for mass production in 1934, with a Jubilee Concession Scheme providing one kiosk for each village with a Post Office. Scott was asked to design the new kiosk in March 1935, and after approval by the Royal Fine Art Commission, the K6 went into production in 1936. The new K6 was constructed from cast-iron and painted Post Office red (in 1924 the same commission had decided on the colour red for the kiosk, as it was "easy to spot and gave an authoritative and official character."). It stands 8 feet 3 inches tall. The new box was based on Scott's 1924 K2 kiosk which had been classical in character with small pane glazing, a reeded Grecian surround and a Soanian dome (believed to have been inspired by that on Sir John Soane's tomb or the lantern above the mausoleum at the Dulwich Picture Gallery). Aware of new architectural trends, Scott applied a modernistic style to his older box. The Grecian fluting was removed but the Soanian dome remained, as did the curved corners (which added strength to the cast-iron panels, now designed to be bolted together and erected in a day). The most noticeable change was the glazing; the horizontal bars were moved sideways to create a broad central light with narrow margin lights. This was to improve visibility and resemble 'moderne' architecture. The design of the box was so popular it remained in production until 1968 when it was superseded by the K8 by Bruce Martin (the K7, by Neville Conder, was never widely used).

List description updated at resurvey (2007/08).

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