Martin Briscombe writes:
The Kirkby on Bain Telephone Box
Adopted by The Parish Council for the princely sum of £1
Our telephone box is a fine example of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s red K6 telephone box. The parish council adopted it so that we could preserve a British icon, be a symbol of the village and be used for a variety of community uses.
A survey revealed it needed full restoration. The list included a new door, full reglazing and painting inside and out. Fortunately the main supplier of payphones for BT is X2 Connect, handily based just down the road at Newark. They could supply everything we needed and the Parish Council had funds available to cover.
March to June was a steady progression of stripping, preparation & painting round the box until all was complete. Fortunately the unmetered electricity supply to the box was still on. So it only needed new lamps needed for re-illumination.
Flyers were circulated to all residents in Kirkby, including Moor Lane & Wellsyke Lane, asking for suggestions for community use. The most popular were: Defibrillator, Book Exchange & Information Board. These were all adopted.
Recycled colour-washed pallet wood was used for the shelves & the pin-board. The Village Book Group stocked the shelves. Margaret Dewrance planted the flower border. A couple of large logs from the churchyard were set as bus stop seats. The Defibrillator was ordered from LIVES , sponsored by Millhouse Designs, Aggregate Industries & both District Councillors.
So now we have a box to be proud of, illuminated at night to show its uses for the village and preserving a British icon. The only blot on the landscape, or in this case the telephone box, is the position of the telephone wires used by perching birds with unerring accuracy!
The life & times of the Red Phone Box
We have architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to thank for our Red K6 Telephone Box. He was involved with the design of telephone boxes from 1920 when the white K1 box was on the streets. He won the Royal Fine Arts Commission competition to design the K2 box. You may have seen these boxes in London. They have all square windows, over 9 foot tall & weigh 1. 5 tons. Real monsters.
After that they tried concrete ones, boxes that sold stamps as well, and even plywood ones to make them more cost effective. Then Sir Giles came up with the K6 in 1935 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V.
It’s the same as ours but it has the Tudor Crown on the top. This lasted until 1953 when Queen Elizabeth allowed the change to the crown of St Edmunds; which ours has.
The Scots (being insubordinate) demanded the Crown of Scotland be used instead. Mind you they were in a strong position as all boxes were made at Kirkintilloch & Falkirk until 1959. Hull declared UDI too & painted their boxes cream
Then in 1959 the boxes with the single panel door started to appear. Still red but rather plain. In1980, with the advent of privatization, there was a move to paint them all BT yellow. Cue a public outcry, resulting in Mrs Thatcher telling BT to reverse the decision. (Shades of British Airways.) 1980 was also the start of the Stainless Steel boxes KX 100 & the triangular KX 300.
Still, it’s our K6 that remains the British icon. 11,000 still in use as phones, with adopted ones being used for showers, coffee shops, book exchanges, plant stalls, ATMs (e.g. Woodhall Spa) , Information (Torksey), Art Galleries etc. For the nerds: ours is a K6A. Front door / Left hand opening. Guess what K6B , 6C, 6D, 6E & 6F are!
Read more about British phone boxes!