Four of the Millbrook VETs recently decided to renovate our remaining telephone box as it was in a very run down state and detracted from the improved Tanyard (which has responded well due to the care of the VETs). Before commencing the renovation work, a lot of research took place.
The original telephone kiosks, the K1, first appeared on our streets in 1921 and over the years there has been a series of designs. The telephone kiosk on King Street, was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who also designed Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, Battersea power station and Bankside power station – now the Tate Modern. Gilbert Scott was a member of a very well-known family of architects and his brother, Adrian, designed the Mount Edgcumbe House that we see today.
Millbrook’s kiosk is a K6, which was designed in 1935 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V and this design was used into the 1960’s. The earlier K6 kiosks were embellished with the Tudor crown but those produced after 1953, the Coronation year of Queen Elizabeth II, carried the crown of St. Edward. There was another small amendment to the design in 1955 when removable crowns were introduced. All this dates the Millbrook kiosk to between 1953 and 1955.
The kiosk is cast iron with a teak door and was manufactured in Stirlingshire by the Carron Company. It stands 8′ 3″ (2.4 metres) tall, is 3′ (0.92 metres) wide and weighs three quarters of a ton (762 kilograms).
So, armed with wire brushes, scrapers, sugar soap, masking tape and loads of enthusiasm, the work began. Little did we know that it would take three or four volunteers at a time working on it together for over 50 hours. There was toil, tears and laughter. Would we ever reach the stage where we could paint it?
But we finally painted it in the correct shade of red and picked out the crowns in gold. It is now looking as good as new and we have received loads of positive feedback. K6 kiosks are now eligible for Grade 2 listing.