On the Embankment near Blackfriars is a normal looking phone box with a most delightful stained glass addition.

It appeared sometime earlier this year, and no one really seems to know who put it there or why — other than to cause moments of technicolour delights to people who notice.

One lady stopped as I was taking photos and commented that she assumed I was a random tourist and then spotted the additional delight to be found. She cycles past every day and hadn’t noticed it before.

In the design of a medieval knight — possibly relating to the Knights Templar who used to have their London headquarters nearby — it’s also not a cheap plastic insert but a fully formed piece of heavy stained glass.

Proper lead strips and heavy decorated glass.

It’s utterly stunning, and in a way, the mystery of its origin only adds to the delight of stumbling upon it.

I’ve checked all my usual sources, and also contacted BT for a comment. They have no idea where it came from either, other than to say it’s not been commissioned — or approved — by BT. That last bit might suggest that they will come along and remove it at some point.

It’s a mystery as to how it came to be here. But what a wonderful mystery.

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  1. Marauder says:

    Does it work?

  2. JP says:

    Sir Gawain looks a little dazed and somewhat confused himself.
    I fully expected there to be an explanation of why and by whom; so it was a pleasant surprise that we’re all dumbfounded.
    Bit of a weight to manœuver into place in the wee small hours by your unknown artist and sponsor. Perhaps Banksy had gone mediæval on us.

  3. Margaret Ormonde says:

    We were wondering if it was the same prankster who installed a fake postbox on Sonning Bridge, 40 miles upstream in 2013. It was very realistic, but again no-one knew how it was put there or by whom. Removed by the authorities after a few months. I do have a photo, but can’t upload here.

  4. Duncan Comrie says:

    An attractive piece of guerilla intervention art and suggestive of at least one alternative use for a K2 cast iron phone box. Their original use as a pay phone container is rapidly coming to an end, yet this fine old public servant and classic example of design, and made in Scotland engineering, is now such a feature of London. The question is how can they be regenerated?

  5. David Peet says:

    Who remembers the ‘BT ArtBoxes’ project in 2012, when 80 full-sized replicas of Gilbert Scott’s ‘K’ telephone boxes, wildly transformed, appeared in London? They were spread across the capital in the run up to the Olympics and raised money for ChildLine at an auction at the National Portrait Gallery on 18th July 2012. ‘City of Birds’ by Pete Bishop was at the bottom of Park Lane on the park side. I always wanted the sofa … I wanted to post photos but the site doesn’t allow it

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