Classic red phone box celebrates its 80th birthday

Happy birthday, red phone boxes! On Wednesday 5 October, BT kicked off anniversary celebrations for the classic icon, which turns a landmark 80 years old this month.

Giant pictures of the phone box were projected onto buildings in central London to wish it many happy returns.

The 'K6' red phone box, the most recognisable phone box of all, was first introduced in 1936, to mark King George V's silver jubilee. Its iconic design is thanks to a certain Sir Giles Gilbert Scott - the guy who also designed Battersea Power Station, Bankside Power Station (aka Tate Modern), Waterloo Bridge, and Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral.

It's since become a cultural icon for London and for Britishness, voted the nation's favourite British design last year.

These days, there are still around 8,000 red phone boxes gracing our streets, and 2,400 of those are so good-looking that they're grade II listed buildings.

As for the decommissioned ones that people no longer use, BT runs an Adopt A Kiosk scheme - where locals can buy a box for as little as £1 and use it for pretty much whatever they like. Loads of them have been fitted with emergency defibrillation machines, while others are information kiosks, ATMs, mini galleries and libraries, and occasionally even novelty pubs.

Neil Scoresby, BT's head of payphones (which is a real job that we are jealous of) said: "Happy Birthday K6. The success of the Adopt a Kiosk scheme has shown the huge amount of affection communities throughout the UK have for red phone boxes, particularly the K6. They're loved around the world, so much so that lots of people have actually bought one from us. Owning your own phone box has been a huge hit and we think the Union Jack design will prove to be really popular."

Source: BT

Read more mobile, broadband, and TV news

Suggested Pages

  • BT Smart Hub: What’s it like?

  • BT Home Hub 4 and 5: What you get, what it does and how to get it

  • Compare BT Sports deals

  • What’s happening to old red phone boxes?

  • BT to raise prices and charge for BT Sport

  • BT to install new payphones with ultrafast Wi-Fi and free phone calls

  • BT to install new payphones with ultrafast Wi-Fi and free phone calls

  • Jo Brand to voice the Speaking Clock for Sport Relief

  • UK call centres to take BT customer calls

  • BT Cloud relaunches with Chromecast support

  • Thousands of parents don’t understand internet slang

  • BT celebrates the Speaking Clock’s 80th birthday