The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have awarded special protection for architectural and historic interest to four K8 telephone boxes found on London Underground station platforms. Pretty phone-tastic, right?
The rare and newly listed phone boxes can be found on platforms at High Street Kensington, Chalfont and Latimer, Chorleywood and Northwick Park stations and are among around fifty remaining K8 phone boxes in the UK.
The modern and minimalist K8 kiosks were designed in the mid-sixties by architect Bruce Martin and commissioned by the General Post Office who, at the time, owned the public telephone network. These phone boxes were designed to be easier to maintain and repair than previous models and around 11,000 of them were installed across the UK between 1968 and 1983.
The K8s were later owned by British Telecom who removed all but around fifty of them when it became privatised in 1984. They were instead replaced by sleeker-looking silver kiosks (known as the KX100s) which are now fairly obsolete due to the use of mobile phones.
The reason for the survival of the train platform K8s is down to them being owned by the London Underground. They are not operational as public telephones but are instead used as an internal telephone system by TfL staff and are painted in different colours to the traditional letterbox red.
These London boxes join the nine K8s in Hull that were given listed status earlier this year and the two phone boxes found at South Kensington station. A total of 24 K8s are currently on the National Heritage List for England, and Historic England have said they will consider listing applications for any unrecorded K8s that are found (where evidence is provided).
There are thought to be around 25 more of these iconic kiosks scattered across the country but their whereabouts are currently unknown. The protection of the K8 phone boxes has come about thanks to the applications made by dedicated phone box enthusiasts (yes, there is such a thing). These same enthusiasts continue to search for the missing K8s and share their information and findings on online forums.