K8 phone box

K8 phone box / Bruce Martin, 1967

The ‘kiosk 8’ phone box is a classic of mid-century industrial design. Introduced in the late 60s by Bruce Martin, it was conceived as a modern, rational successor to the classic K6 by George Gilbert Scott (you know, the typical British red phone box). Although 11,000 K8s were originally installed around the UK, now fewer than 60 remain. Thankfully a preservation campaign by the Twentieth Century Society is gradually gaining momentum, ensuring that the remaining examples are saved and restored.

Little did I realise that there’s one at Amersham Tube station, which I must have walked past hundreds of times over the past 20 years. It’s no longer functioning as a telephone but you can step inside. I noticed there are examples at Chalfont & Latimer and Chorleywood stations too, although they have been painted navy blue and dark green, and seem to be reserved for use by station staff.

It’s a beautiful piece of work  up close; sturdy cast iron painted a rich poppy red. The type is gorgeous too – clean, functional and modern. Both Stefi Orazi and People Will Always Need Plates agree, and have produced some loving illustrations.

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