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24 September 2014

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You are in: Wiltshire > About Wiltshire > Places > Are there any K8's out there?

Two Goodies and three K8s...

Two Goodies and three K8s...

Are there any K8's out there?

There are only 12 left in the country and four of them can be spotted in Swindon....

In the 1960s there were 11,000 of them up and down the country.  Now, less than 40 years on, their numbers have dwindled to just 12… most of which are to be found in Swindon.

The plight of the K8

Despite its iconic status the UK's red phone-box has always been a bit of an endangered species.  In the 1980's it was Giles Gilbert Scott's classic model that was only just rescued from extinction by a hard fought campaign to get 3,000 of them listed.  This time around and it's Kiosk 8, aka K8, that is on the point of disappearing off the face of... well… England.

1960's Kiosk 8 designed by Bruce Martin

The modern version of the 'classic' red phone box

Introduced to the streets of Britain in 1968, at the height of the swinging sixties, the K8 was 'hailed as a masterpiece of industrial design’.  The winning entry in the GPO's design a phone booth competition, the K8 was Bruce Martin's take on 'the most complex brief ever issued for a piece of street furniture'.

Vandal-proof, weather-proof and easy to maintain it not only boasted a distinctively lit-up roof light and greenhouse like floor-to-roof glass panels but was even redder than its predecessor.

By 1968, over 11,000 of the red cast iron phone boxes had hit the streets… but less than 40 years on and just 12 remain in working order (actually meant remain as working phone boxes) and a third of them are to be found in Swindon.

Too young to be saved

With the future looking less than bright… the Twentieth Century Society, a group with all things modern and architectural at heart, have stepped in to try and save them from extinction:

"It represents the final stage in the lineage of a design that has become nothing short of a global icon, a symbol of Britain," it says.

1960's Kiosk 8 designed by Bruce Martin

...another sighting of the endangered phone box...

"It should have been the modern equivalent of the 1930's K6.  But when BT began de-commissioning boxes in 1984 - K8's were the first in the firing line and at the time, were too young to be protected by English Heritage's 30 year listing rule."

But they're not too young now.  In fact all 12 survivors, including the four in Swindon, have been submitted to English Heritage in the hope of bagging them a listed status.

Plus, in an effort to save as many as they can, the society has also launched a nationwide search for any undiscovered K8's out there.

So, as the newly adopted home of the most surviving K8's, we also want to know… Are there any K8's out there?  If so, let us know…

last updated: 09/05/2008 at 10:39
created: 23/03/2007

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Duncan McMillan
There are dozens of them still in service in and around Hull. Being the property of Kingston Communications they were not subject to BT’s purge in the eighties.

Scott Wigston
There was one in Minehead in Somerset on the High St. This was many years ago in the mid 1990's so it may have been moved. Worth a look though.

i need to find a K8 in nottingham for a students project

wayne green
Hijust purchased a k8 for the garden and will be restored complete with phonebroughton astley leicester

shainey hallin
HiI have a K8 in bits.. i think its complete, as far as i am aware. Been in my garden for years.Thinking of selling it....Especially as they seem so rare.regards shainey - Norfolk

K8's are the buisness. There was one at the top of my street when growing up in the 70's/80's and every phonebox on the estate was K8. They should be saved.

Found one yesterday in Pebble Bank Caravan Park in Weymouth - opposite the bar - This is a non BT phone though.The little square window ones were mainly K6's but there are other K types that look very similar

Jon Wright (C20 Caseworker)
Could those of you who have responded with new sightings below, contact me with pictures? If you can, please send to you in advance.Jon

I saved a K8 from scrap in 1993 and its in my back garden. One day I will restore it to its full glory complete with a pay on answer payphone.

Dan Gill
There is a superb example of a K8 telephone box on Grove Hill, Highworth, Wiltshire.

There was a Green one in Yattendon, Berkshire. On a private estate - hence the green, all the doors and windows on the properties are the same green.

martin woodham
There is one in Westbury Wiltshire. It is located near the town centre outside The Lion (pub)

Wiltshire resident
Didn’t know they had numbers, the K8 is quite ugly. Any anorak know the number of the older style with the little square windows.

John Cronk Avebury
We have one of the older red boxes in Avebury High Street

Ady Bunce
There has been a K8 in a garden near Kimble in Bucks for @ least 10 years that I know of

Theres one in the village of Bratton near westbury

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