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British Telecom Kiosk No. 2

 
kiosk 2
A wooden mock-up of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's 1924 submitted kiosk A wooden mock-up of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's 1924 submitted kiosk design is still in use as a payphone kiosk under the arch at the Royal Academy, Piccadilly, London.
Kiosk number 2. The winning design by the architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was built in cast iron.

Kiosk number 2 weighed one and a half tons. It had more room inside and let in more light through its larger windows. It became very popular in London and the larger towns. You may still see number 2 kiosks when you travel in London.

In 1924 competition to design a new kiosk was organised and several leading architects were invited to submit designs. Models were placed on view behind the National Gallery and selection was made by the Fine Arts Commission. The winner was a design by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and, after a slight modification to the door and change of material from mild steel to cast iron, it was adopted by the Post Office and designated Kiosk No. 2, or K2.

Some important improvements to the door mechanism and window arrangement were contained in the kiosk. The glass was deliberately made into small panels so that breakages could be repaired with a minimum of renewal. There was also a ventilation system which worked through perforations in the dome. Because of its cast iron construction it weighed approximately 1.5 tons and had more interior space than its predecessor. The most distinctive feature was undoubtedly the bright red colour scheme. The kiosk's introduction in 1927 was mainly confined to London and some large provincial towns and proved to be very successful. It was eventually made obsolete in June 1936, although a number continue to be found in London today and very few in other large cities. A number have been designated as Grade II listed buildings and will continue to be preserved.

Gilbert Scott's original model of what was to become the K2 still stands outside the National Gallery, at first glance identical to its progeny although it is in fact different in some details, principally in its wooden construction.