Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.

HIGH STREET, GROUP OF K6 TELEPHONE KIOSKS (AT 150-164 HIGH STREET)LB30254

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
B
Date Added
05/03/1991
Local Authority
Edinburgh
Planning Authority
Edinburgh
Burgh
Edinburgh
NGR
NT 25837 73623
Coordinates
325837, 673623

Description

Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, 1935; produced 1936-1968. 3 standard K6 telephone kiosks in an aligned grouping standing on slightly sloping ground on the High Street. Each comprising 4 sides of lying-pane glazing (8 high) with narrow margin lights, one side with cup handle at 4th/5th pane forming door. Blind cast-iron panel to rear with telephone and shelf unit. Rectangular glass opal to each side with vent below and central embossed crown above; rising into 4 segmental-headed pediments terminating in a saucer dome. Cast-iron, painted Post Office red.

Statement of Special Interest

Visually striking group of 3 standard K6 telephone call boxes occupying a key location towards the top of Edinburgh's High Street. The landmark K6 design, with its red livery, is a distinctive and widely-acknowledged icon of Britain's streets, providing an invaluable public telecommunications service throughout the second half of the 20th century and beyond. Part of Edinburgh's World Heritage Site, the Royal Mile runs from Edinburgh Castle at the top to Holyrood Palace at the bottom. The High Street is of outstanding national and international historical and architectural significance.

The General Post Office set up a committee to redesign the telephone kiosk for mass production in 1934, with a Jubilee Concession Scheme providing one kiosk for each village with a Post Office. Scott was asked to design the new kiosk in March 1935, and after approval by the Royal Fine Art Commission, the K6 went into production in 1936. The new K6 was constructed from cast-iron and painted Post Office red (in 1924 the same commission had decided on the colour red for the kiosk, as it was "easy to spot and gave an authoritative and official character."). It stands 8 feet 3 inches tall. The new box was based on Scott's 1924 K2 kiosk which had been classical in character with small pane glazing, a reeded Grecian surround and a Soanian dome (believed to have been inspired by that on Sir John Soane's tomb or the lantern above the mausoleum at the Dulwich Picture Gallery). Aware of new architectural trends, Scott applied a modernistic style to his older box. The Grecian fluting was removed but the Soanian dome remained, as did the curved corners (which added strength to the cast-iron panels, now designed to be bolted together and erected in a day). The most noticeable change was the glazing; the horizontal bars were moved sideways to create a broad central light with narrow margin lights. This was to improve visibility and resemble 'moderne' architecture. The design of the box was so popular it remained in production until 1968 when it was superseded by the K8 by Bruce Martin (the K7, by Neville Conder, was never widely used).

List description updated at resurvey (2007/08).

References

Bibliography

G Stamp, Telephone Boxes (1989) p13-18. 3rd Edition Ordnance Survey map (1932). For more information on the history of telephone boxes see www.payphones.bt.com

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

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