Noble Kiosk

The kiosk was designed by Mr. C. Wycliffe Noble, an architect employed by the Festival of Britain in 1951.  A total, of 17 were installed at the South Bank site of the Festival of Britain in London, UK.

The kiosk was unsatisfactory in the following respects:-
  1. The doors were not self-closing and as members of the public seldom closed the door after they had vacated a kiosk the telephone equipment was exposed to the elements.
  2. Because the doors were not self closing and were of bad design and construction several got blown off by the wind.
  3. The doors were found to foul any directories that were left open at the right hand end of the shelf.
  4. As the instructions to callers were engraved on a glass panel it would have been very expensive to modify them to cater for changes in dialling facilities.
  5. The shelf above the coin box obscured button A end made insertion of coins in the coin box difficult. (The shelf eventually had to be out away).
  6. The coin box mechanism could not be withdrawn in the event of its needing replacement.
  7. Difficulty was experienced in clearing the cash compartment of the coin box because the grill arrangement fouled the bag used for collecting the coins.
  8. The coin box mechanism could not readily be withdrawn from the coin box housing for maintenance purposes.
  9. The telephone instrument was fixed to the shelf by four bolts which prevented ready access for maintenance purposes.
  10. The racking and directory supporting frames were too fragile and soon became bent and broken.

Continual representations were made to the Festival of Britain Committee to improve the condition of the kiosks with the result that some of the more unsatisfactory features were improved.  Eventually Jubilee pattern backboards were fitted but the final result was not up to Post Office standards.

By 26th June, 1951 defects due to the poor design had been pin pointed.

Taken from a 1955 report to the London telephone Region, Regional Director.

On the first day of opening a caller was trapped in one of these kiosks and could only be released after dismantling the kiosk.

These kiosks were never approved by the GPO and it appears they were not even consulted on the design.




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Last revised: February 10, 2021