Pair of K2 telephone kiosks, c1927, designed by (Sir) Giles Gilbert Scott.
Reason for Listing
The K2 telephone kiosks are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Design interest: the K2 represents a milestone in industrial design, a highly successful adaptation of architectural tradition to contemporary technological requirements designed by a leading C20 architect, and is thus of special architectural and historic interest;
* Rarity: almost exclusive to London, K2s were not produced in very high numbers and are now relatively scarce; they are a highly distinctive feature of the capital's streetscape;
* Group value: with Battersea Arts Centre, formerly Battersea Town Hall, listed Grade II*.
In 1923, the General Post Office (GPO) launched a competition organised by the Royal Fine Arts Commission to design a new telephone kiosk to improve upon the first standard design, the K1, in service from about 1921, which was widely deemed unsatisfactory and resisted by the London Metropolitan boroughs. In 1926 the winning entry was finally selected: a neoclassical design by (Sir) Giles Gilbert Scott (1880-1960), already a leading architect whose notable commissions had by then included Liverpool's Anglican cathedral. The shallow-domed top of the K2 is reminiscent of Sir John Soane's design for his tomb in St Pancras churchyard, Camden (Scott was a trustee of the Soane Museum). Approximately 1,700 K2s were erected, mainly in Metropolitan London, and just over 200 are thought to survive. The K2 was succeeded by Scott's K6 design in 1935, which was installed nationally.
The kiosks follow the standard K2 design: square, cast-iron and painted red, covered by a shallow domed roof with pendentives. There are 18 glazed rectangular lights to the door and sides, some replaced in perspex; each side is framed by a shallow, reeded strip with small paterae to the angles. On each face of the frieze there is a rectangular white glazed panel bearing the word 'TELEPHONE' in black. Each segmental pediment of the sides of the dome has a perforated crown, the symbol of the GPO.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.