Kiosk No. 6 (K6)
Kiosk No. 6 - known as the K6 - was introduced in the UK in 1936 (Mark 2 was introduced in 1939) to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V. The 'Jubilee Kiosk', as it became known, was once again designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and approved by the Fine Arts Commission. It was similar in appearance to Kiosk No. 2, the main difference being that the vertical bars in the windows and door were spaced further apart to improve visibility.
Post Office red was chosen as the kiosks colour, although not without objections from some quarters on aesthetic grounds it nevertheless received the approval of the Royal Fine Arts Commission and that approval was supported by the Councils for the Preservation of Rural England, Wales and Scotland, thus placing the Post Office in a particularly strong position to justify the choice made.
The K2 had not penetrated far outside London, but the 'Jubilee' model became the first genuinely standard kiosk and was installed all over the country.
Under the "Jubilee Concession", introduced as part of that year's celebrations, kiosks were to be provided in every town or village with a post office, regardless of cost. As a result of this scheme over 8,000 new kiosks were installed, adding impetus to the spread of the K6.
In the following year, the "Tercentenary Concession" was introduced: if a local authority committed to paying £4 a year, then the normal subscription, for five years then the Post Office would install a kiosk on request almost anywhere. This scheme remained in force until 1949 and led to almost another thousand K6s being introduced. The "Rural Allocation Scheme" was introduced to replace it: kiosks were allocated to rural areas and installed where recommended by a rural local authority, whether likely to prove profitable or not.
The kiosks were made of the best grey cast iron with glazing in 26oz glass. The total weight was 13.5cwt.
The Mark 1 did not last long and was quickly updated to the Mark 2 which had more secure window fixings and coin box mounting points. It was found coin box could be easily prised off in the Mark 1 kiosks and the Mark 2 was made with threaded holes in the back panel for the coin box fixing bolts.
An easy way to identify the two Marks is to look at the two cable entry holes at the bottom of the rear panel. The Mark one has symmetrical holes, whilst the Mark two has asymmetrical holes.
The K6 Kiosk can be found with three different crowns. The Tudor Crown of George V (the Kings Crown) and this crown can be identified by it's flattened bottom, whilst the Tudor Crown of King George VI had more shape to the base of the crown.
The MacFarlane/Saracen foundry used the flatter crown for Marks 1 and 2. Macdowall Steven also used this (flatter) crown but they only manufactured Mark 1. The fuller Crown was used by Lion and Carron for Marks 1 & 2. Bratt Colbran also used this (fuller) crown but they only manufactured Mark 1.
After 1953 the crown on the kiosk was changed to the St Edwards Crown (Queens Crown). Between 1955 and 1965 the K6 kiosks were produced with a slot where the crown was located so that in England the St Edwards Crown were fitted and in Scotland the Royal Crown of Scotland. See below for further information.
The K6 was the most prolific kiosk in the UK and it's growth was:-
The 'Jubilee Kiosk' is perhaps the best remembered example of Gilbert Scott's work (with the possible exception of Liverpool Cathedral) and is to this day fondly regarded as a typical British landmark. K6s survived the introduction of Nos. 7 and 8, but during the 1980s and early 1990s were frequently replaced with the modern KX 100 - 400 series of payphone booths. Thousands of old K6 kiosks were sold off at public auctions. Some were scrapped, but many more were put to a variety of imaginative and bizarre uses in private hands. However, the Department of the Environment and English Heritage worked with BT to identify kiosks, including more than 1,000 K6s, worthy of listing as being of special architectural and historical interest, mainly near existing listed buildings or in attractive town and country locations.
The Mark 2 differed in respects to the glazing frames being retained by brass studs instead of screws, two knock outs in the rear panel and four tapped studs on the rear panel for fixing the mechanism (theft prevention). In the early 1970's the glazing practice was changed - the glass, cast glazing frame and studs were replaced with moulded Perspex glazing panels held in place by steel pins secured with serrated washers.
The Kiosk was also illuminated at night. This was achieved by a timer connected to the mains electric supply. The timers could be fitted with one of five solar dials, each solar dial was designed for an area of the UK due to the dusk and dawn being at different times depending on the location. On the introduction of the fluorescent light fitting in the early 1970's the time switches were removed and the lights remained illuminated 24 hours a day.
Some of the above taken from BT archives
Addendum to above
More ironically though, the flip side of this confusion was that Scotland got kiosks that it shouldn't have too. Many examples can be found in Central Edinburgh and on the Royal Mile.
In the years 2017 and 2018 British Telecoms wrote to UK Councils enquiring if they wished to purchase most of the Telephone Kiosks in their respective areas. The price per kiosk was £1 and BT would pay the electric bill for a period of time. Many Councils have now purchased Kiosks and are using them for a variety of purposes.
The crowns were never highlighted with paint until somebody at BT decided to paint them gold in the 21st Century!
Average weight of castings - 13¼cwt.
Uses Hinges, Brass No. 2 on the door (6" x 3").
The following is taken from
KIT No. 35
Contents of KitNo. 35
All screws and bolt have B.S.W. threadsand unless otherwise are mild steel. Diameter quoted before length.
Crowns (Used on Mark 2 Kiosks)
Original Mark 2 Kiosks had the Tudor Crown of George VI but, unlike the Mark 1, the design had more shape to the base of the crown. In 1953 the crown became the St Edward's Crown.
In the early 1950s the UK Cabinet decided that the Scottish Crown should replace the Royal Cypher and the St Edward's Crown on mail vans and new letterboxes in Scotland. In 1955 it was decided that kiosks No. 6 should be supplied with the St Edward's Crown or the Scottish Royal Crown.
On the original Mark 1 and 2 Kiosks the crown was cast in the Crown panel. Circa 1956 the crown was cast on a separate plate which slid into place on the Crown panel, which allowed any Crown to be installed when ordering. The Royal Crown of Scotland was also introduced at that time, to be fitted to any kiosk installed in Scotland.
These can found on Drawing - 60908 (dated 1935).
St Edward's Crown - Used in England
Royal Crown of Scotland - Used in Scotland
Kiosk No. 6 - Internal layout - Prepayment
Kiosk No. 6 - Internal layout - Postpayment - London STD
Kiosk No. 6 - Main components
Interior view showing a 1936 Jubilee layout
An interesting Kiosk No. 6 at Crulivig with "Hebridean doors".
1952 pattern with St Edwards Crown (left) and 1936 pattern with Tudor Crown (right) at Bembridge, IoW
Rural style at Rothley, GCR
Last revised: July 14, 2023