Old Time Telephony

a1_20160202_20160202_Maidenhead_014_6000 x 4000

This is a fine old telephone box dating back to the 1920s, I believe.  The first official street box was the K1 kiosk, that appeared in 1921.  The design wasn’t very popular as it was deemed old-fashioned and it went through two further variations within just a few years.  Its life was short: a more recognisable booth, with a domed roof,  came along in 1926.

The rooftop sign and fancy metal scroll on this green example suggest that it is one of the variants of the K1.  Its windows don’t match any official variant, however, so I suspect they have been replaced at some point.

These old boxes came mainly in red and white, or in cream, but other colours were used in some areas (hard to tell what colours as the photos are in black and white).  This forest green variant is at Boulters Lock in Maidenhead and perhaps the colour was chosen to match its rural, waterside position.  Some places made even stronger adaptations, with Eastbourne stretching to two of these K1 kiosks with thatched roofs.


#6dae81 color imageA colourful note:  the use of forest green as an English colour term dates back as far as 1810 and Wikipedia tells me that  is a representation of the average colour of the leaves of the trees of a temperate zone deciduous forest.
As a crayon it is older than me! It became a Crayola colour in 1957.



aDSC_0636_ppCopyright Debbie Smyth, 5 February 2016

15 thoughts on “Old Time Telephony

  1. Makes me think of this poem by Laura Elizabeth Richards that we enjoyed as children:


    Once there was an elephant,
    Who tried to use the telephant—
    No! no! I mean an elephone
    Who tried to use the telephone—
    (Dear me! I am not certain quite
    That even now I’ve got it right.)
    Howe’er it was, he got his trunk
    Entangled in the telephunk;
    The more he tried to get it free,
    The louder buzzed the telephee—
    (I fear I’d better drop the song
    Of elephop and telephong!)

    It was the title that got me thinking of it. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have packed a lot of valuable and interesting info in this post. I had no idea the first box was called K1. I have now found the link to it and am most appreciative. These captures are lovely, and mind you the box is in my favourite colour. (I really appreciate your recently introduced info about the origin of some names for shades). Hope you are doing well, dear. xx


    1. This colour challenge seems to have brought out the librarian in me: I’m really enjoying the research into the colours! I seem to be back to my normal concentration levels now. This phone box just happened to be outside a restaurant that I had a business lunch at this week – lucky eh?

      On Sat, Feb 6, 2016 at 9:42 AM, Travel with Intent wrote:



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