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The Phone Box that was Nearly Rescued (but didn't need rescuing)

First sweep and wash. The paint was peeling to reveal a darker colour underneath the layer, so the phone box looked very patchy and sad.

Bonchurch K6

With thanks to Simon Harrison for this information

Our phone box is a K6, one of a series originating in Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s original K2, the K6 design variant being commissioned to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of

King George VI, and going into production in 1936.

By the 1970s, when it was superseded by the much plainer K8, over 70,000 had been installed.

The K6 was smaller than earlier designs, allowing it to fit into cramped spaces, and nodded to a more modernist design aesthetic compared to earlier types. The Crown motif, which had previously been pierced through the ironwork to give ventilation, was now cast in relief on each face. Other design details include the domed roof, ventilation slots under the TELEPHONE signs, the splendid brass hinges and the leather closing straps. The door frame is of hardwood, contrasting with the cast iron elsewhere, presumably to avoid users struggling to open it.

The makers’ details were cast into a small panel low down on the rear face, externally. Five manufacturers were used. Our K6 is from Scotland, made at the Lion Foundry in Kirkintilloch, on the outskirts of Glasgow, a town with a history of metal foundries owing to its excellent canal and rail links and proximity to coal mines for smelting.

The Lion Foundry opened in 1880 and specialised in ornamental ironwork -gates, railings, lamp posts, verandas and the like. From the mid twentieth century it switched to more utilitarian products such as K6 and K8 telephone boxes, and when orders for the latter dried up it went out of business, in 1984.

The Bonchurch phone box was to be declared redundant by BT, but is saved by a lack of local mobile signal, and remains in use for emergency calls only.

The Bonchurch community has “unofficially” adopted this heritage asset, and takes care of it.

First stages, sanding down very rusty areas and taking off lifting old paint. Spotting the very bad rusty areas with special paint.

Refreshed with delicious fresh mint tea provided by a lovely neighbour.

Second stage, undercoat, a very fetching pink.

In The Pink.

Nearly caused an overnight panic in the village.

Divided opinions, some loved it, some hated it.

Tempted to keep the colour for a little while...

The Crew in action.

Seen at this stage, after several days hard work and in need of a drink or two.

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Elaine Alatalo
Elaine Alatalo

📞 From a fan of that phone box, presuming it's that one beside those nearly 1000 steps upwards. Appreciate the work gone into in order to provide this email info to Bonchurch residents and friends. Elaine Alatalo Former Bonchurch and then Ventnor resident, currently in Finland for the summer and otherwise Sandown nowadays. 😉

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