Telephones: red kiosks in Oxford
There are thirteen public red telephone kiosks within the city boundary, although the one in Pembroke Street no longer has a functioning telephone (see below).
All except one are K6 square kiosks with domed roofs, which were designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1935 and introduced as part of the Jubilee celebrations. They were made of cast iron by various contractors, and have unperforated crowns to top panels and margin glazing to windows and door.
The four kiosks shown below are Grade II listed. The first three, which were listed in 1987/8, were not replaced when BT brought in its new-style telephone boxes in the 1980s, and so have never been removed from their original site; the fourth, which was listed in 2009, was one of four donated to the city by Nicholas Medley in 1994, and is Scott’s earlier K2 design of 1924, a type not previously seen in the city.
The telephone kiosk in Pembroke Street (above, third from left) no longer has a functioning telephone. It is inscribed at the top with the word NONSENSE instead of TELEPHONE, and is part of the adjacent Story Museum.
The kiosk at Carfax (above right) was installed in a location where one originally stood. It was listed in 2009, principally because “Giles Gilbert Scott's design has special interest for its artistry and functionality as well as its iconic status as a milestone of C20 industrial design”. English Heritage describe the design thus: Cast iron and painted red, the kiosk is neo-classical in inspiration with Soanian segmental vaulted roofs and multi-pane glazing reminiscent of a Georgian sash window, the latter with reeded strip surrounds and classical paterae. It has a perforated crown, the symbol of the GPO, set within the upper faces of the canopy and placed above a glazed panel bearing the word 'TELEPHONE'.
There are ten other public red kiosks in Oxford, all complete with Payphones and donated to the city by either Nicholas Medley or BT, installed in the following locations:
- Broad Street (south side)
- Carfax (north-west corner)
- Gloucester Green (near Walton Street)
- High Street (outside Warden’s House, All Souls College): see below
- Market Street (outside Market)
- Old High Street, Headington (outside Baptist Chapel)
- Parks Road (outside Wadham College)
- Queen Street (near Bonn Square)
- St Giles’ Street east (outside St John’s College)
- St Giles’ Street west (outside No. 65)
Right: The kiosk in Queen Street has been adapted for modern needs: as well as a telephone on the south side, it has an ATM on the east side, shown facing the camera.
Left: The telephone box outside the Warden's House, All Souls College.
A planning application was submitted in November 2013 to replace this box with a replica that includes an ATM:
13/02991/FUL: “Replacement of existing public telephone kiosk with combined public payphone and ATM cash machine kiosk”
The Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society would prefer to see the existing box adapted, as in Queen Street, above.
Oxford Mail, 28 November 2013:
“Conservation group sees red over plan to replace High Street phone box with cash machine replica”