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5 Special Services and Facilities
Issue 2, Feb 1973


The standard kiosk in the 1970's was the Kiosk No. 8 which was introduced in 1968 to a design of Mr Bruce Martin.  There are five other types of Kiosk in existence but no further supplies of these will be obtained.  Particulars of each type are shown below and they are illustrated below.

Kiosk No. 1

Concrete structure with pyramidal roof (1921) (Engineering Department).
After 1927:-
Inside and outside treated with two coats of cream Snowcem or one coat of stipple paint.
Window frames and whole of door painted in Red 539.
There are three variants, the Mark 234, 235 and 236.
The Mark 236 has 6 panes of glass in the door, whilst the Mark 236 has 8 panes.
Click on the picture for further information.






Kiosk No. 2
Cast iron structure (1926) (Sir G. G. Scott).
Inside and outside was painted in Red 539
with a final coat of Varnish, Weatherproof.
Underside of roof, down to the top of the
curve in the transom was painted in white enamel.
Click on the picture for further information.

Kiosk No. 3
Concrete structure with domed roof (1929) (Sir G. G. Scott).
Inside and outside treated with two coats of cream Snowcem or one coat of stipple paint.
Window frames the exterior surrounding was painted in Red 539 with a final coat of Varnish, Weatherproof.
Click on the picture for further information.


Kiosk No. 4
Cast iron structure incorporating a posting box and
stamp selling machine (Engineering Department) (1928).
Inside and outside as for Kiosk No. 2.
Click on the picture for further information.




Kiosk No. 5
There is no Kiosk No. 5 officially.
Made of steel and wood this
Kiosk was transportable.
Click on the picture for further information.


Kiosk No. 6
Cast iron structure (1936) (Sir G. G. Scott)
Inside and outside was painted in Red 539
with a final coat of Varnish, Weatherproof.
Underside of roof, down to the level of the
ventilator openings, was painted in white enamel
Click on the picture for further information.




Kiosk No. 7
This kiosk was a prototype (1962) (Neville Conder)
expected  to replace the Kiosk No. 6.
Made of aluminium it quickly turned into a
disaster due to the English weather.
Click on the picture for further information.





Kiosk No. 8
Cast iron structure with aluminium door (1968)
(Mr Bruce Martin).
Inside and outside painted in Red 539.
Inside of roof painted in white enamel.
Sill and roof ring in black.
Click on the picture for further information.

The question of the colour of telephone kiosks was reviewed in 1948 in conjunction with the Royal Fine Art Commission, Ministry of Town and Country Planning and the Councils for the Preservation of Rural England and Wales. After a detailed investigation of the problem and an examination of suitably sited kiosks painted in certain suggested alternative colours (Standard Post Office Red, Deep Brunswick Green, Black, Light Battleship Grey and Dark Battleship Grey) it was unanimously agreed that:-

Red should continue to be the standard colour for kiosks. The primary reason for choosing red is that a kiosk must be readily distinguishable from its surroundings so as to be recognised from a distance by a stranger in the stress of an emergency and uniformity of colour is essential if this object is to be achieved.

In certain places of very exceptional beauty, where objection is raised to red, one alternative colour only should be permitted, viz, dark battleship grey with the glazing bars "picked out" in red. This scheme is not suitable for Kiosks No. 8. The alternative colour scheme acceptable for Kiosks No. 8 is battleship grey (BS632) with a red top casting (except for the lettering panels); if desired, the grey of the base and the red of the top casting may be separated by a relieving band of black or white.

Similar arrangements have been agreed with regard to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The procedure for dealing with objections to the use of the standard colour, Red 539, is given in Appendix 1. Where a kiosk of either type No. 1 or No. 3 is situated (a) alongside another type painted red or (b) in a dirty or industrial area, the whole of the kiosk should be painted red. In certain districts the exterior of the window frames and the door of Kiosks Nos. 1 and 3 have, by agreement with the Local Authority, been painted in other than the standard colour. This practice may continue unless it is apparent that the Local Authority desire to revert to Post Office red. If these kiosks are replaced the Local Authority concerned should be persuaded to accept the standard colour; if they object, the matter should be dealt with in accordance with Appendix 1.

When the question of the replacement of a kiosk arises for any reason consideration should be given to the need for its retention or whether it should be moved to another site (see H0011). The new kiosk should be of the No. 8 type whenever it is necessary for architectural reasons or because vandalism is high. In other situations Kiosks No. 6 should be re-used if they are available.

Should it be necessary to install a new kiosk en suite or in close proximity to other kiosks of obsolete types it will normally be desirable on aesthetic grounds to provide for all the kiosks to be of the No. 8 type. Head/District Postmasters should be advised.


Procedure for dealing with applications for painting in a non-standard colour

If the Planning Authority objects to the use of Red 539 it should be told of the reasons why this colour was adopted and the support given to the Post Office to use it:-

  1. If the Planning Authority persists after this explanation, the TM should report to the DTR.

  2. If the DTR is disposed to agree with the Local Planning Authority that the alternative colouring of grey and red should be adopted he may authorise it.

  3. If the DTR considers the standard red colour is appropriate, or if he is doubtful, he should refer the matter to the Regional Controller of the Department of Environment.

The Regional Controller will endeavour to settle the case and may consult local amenity societies but if he is unsuccessful he will refer the case to his headquarters after telling the DTR. At this stage the DTR should refer his papers to THQ/SvD/Svl.2.

The Department of Environment will ask the Council for the Preservation of Rural England (or Wales) for its recommendations. The Council will make recommendations to the Department after consultation, if thought desirable, with the Royal Fine Art Commission. The Department, on receiving the recommendation of the Council and (where applicable) the Royal Fine Art Commission, will report the result to THQ/SvD/Svl.2.

Any further correspondence will be conducted between THQ and the Department and the DTR will be advised of the result so that the TM can inform the Local Planning Authority.

If the Planning Authority has agreed to the standard colour but objections are raised by a local amenity society, before or after the kiosk is erected, the Telephone Manager should inform the objector that the standard colour has been agreed for general use by the Department of Environment, the Royal Fine Art Commission and the Council for the Preservation of Rural England (or Wales), and that its application to this particular kiosk has been agreed by the Local Planning Authority. The objections of local amenity societies will tend to find their way to the Headquarters of the CPRE (or W) where the Executive Committee will examine every application on its merits and will recommend the use of the alternative colour only in very exceptional cases. In such cases the Council will report its views to the Headquarters of the Department of Environment who will advise THQ whether they consider that the circumstances justify the use of the alternative colour.

The Scottish Home and Health Department and the Ministry of Health and Social Services are the appropriate authorities for consultation in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively in place of the Department of Environment.

Kiosk Paint

Kiosk Red
For many years Post Office vehicles (and kiosks and other red-painted hardware) were painted in the shade referred to as BSS 381C shade No. 538 Post Office Red, but from late 1968 or early 1969 a brighter shade BSS 381C shade No. 539 Postal Service Red was used for new vehicles and on repaints, in an effort to brighten the image.

Sources of supply
BSS (British Standards shade) colours are still current and specialist automotive paint suppliers will be happy to make aerosol spray cans or mix tins of brushing cellulose or synthetic enamel on request.  Remember to state whether you need a gloss or satin finish.  For your nearest supplier look in Yellow Pages under the keyword 'Motor Factors'.

Andrew Brade adds:
Advice I can offer is to obtain paint from an industrial paint supplier.  I've used Cromadex air drying enamel applied with a brush to good effect over grey primer.  Post Office red is no longer sold as that name - they now call it Cherry Red, but they assure me it is the same colour and indeed looks exactly right.  I have the BS number for it at home - if you are interested I will provide it to you.  You'll find it a real pain to paint all the glazing bars, but I've done it with glass in and I suppose it would be better and quicker done unglazed.  I think I paid about £30 total for five litres of each top coat and primer. You won't need that much, but Cromadex would not sell it in one litre tins.

Cromadex are the manufacturers.  The company is part of the International Paints organisation now owned by Akzo Nobel UK Ltd. They have an office based in Silvertown, London E16, (020) 7473 7000.  They also have branches in Tilbury and Portsmouth  (01375) 851024 and (01705) 201356 respectively, and here in Leeds (0113) 276 0653.  However, there are bound to be other manufacturers locally who may give you a suitable equivalent.  The Cromadex paint uses a xylene-based solvent (observe safety instructions) and special thinners are needed, but are not expensive.

The paint colour I referred to yesterday is BS 381C shade 538, now known as Cherry.  The paint itself is simply known as fast air drying gloss.

BS 4800 is a colour standard, but it does not include the Post Office Red colour, although there are some shades close to it - as Laurence Rudolf points out the correct standard is BS381C, shade 538.  Both British Standards are paint standards, but BS381C covers architectural and building services, BS4800 is used for machinery and other things.  Post Office Red has to be called Cherry now - not sure why something legal I think, but it's the same colour.

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