Four rare surviving K8 phone boxes that can be found on the London Underground have been given heritage listing protection.

High Street Kensington (c) Historic England Archive

The K8 phone box was designed in the middle of the 1960s as a modern replacement for the classic K6 phone box, which had been designed three decades earlier by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Although around 11,000 of them were built, just 54 survive as they never really gained public approval in the same way as the 1930s phone box design and there’s not much call to save them.

They are therefore rare, and worth saving.

There are seven of them on the London Underground, which are particularly unusual as they aren’t the classic Post Office Red but painted a range of different colours — anything but red. That’s because these phone boxes were for staff only, and if painted red, the public might have tried to use them.

Four of the phone boxes have been given specific listing protection, and are situated on platforms at High Street Kensington, Chalfont and Latimer, Chorleywood, and Northwick Park stations. The K8s at High Street Kensington and Chorleywood are blue, the one at Chalfont and Latimer is maroon, and the kiosk at Northwick Park is painted white.

The newly listed boxes join the nine K8 phone boxes in Hull that were listed earlier this year, and there are currently 23 K8s on the National Heritage List for England.

Tom Foxall, Regional Director for Historic England in London and the South East, said: “There are very few designs that can be genuinely termed as ‘iconic’ but the K8 is certainly one of them. Like its predecessors, this kiosk was a defining feature of 20th century Britain’s physical, technological and cultural landscape. Very few K8s survive, so they certainly need to be cherished and protected.”

Chalfont and Latimer (c) Historic England Archive

The recent protection of 11 K8s are a result of listing applications submitted by dedicated phone box enthusiasts. Attracted by the boxes crisp design and nostalgia for the pre-digital age, the search for hidden K8s continues. Fans share information on forums and make special trips to confirm possible sightings. Historic England will consider listing applications of any unrecorded K8s where suitable evidence is provided to support the case for listing.

K8 phone boxes listed at Grade II on the London Underground

  1. Platform 3, High Street Kensington
  2. Southbound Platform, Chalfont and Latimer
  3. Platform 2, Chorleywood
  4. Island platform, Northwick Park

Before anyone asked, Historic England confirmed to me that the two K8 kiosks at South Kensington station and he one at Acton Town are already protected, as part of the wider heritage listing for the whole station.

Chorleywood (c) Historic England Archive

Considering how few original K8 phone kiosks survive, there are probably more of them on model railways than there are real ones left.

Updated: 12:20pm to add note about Acton Town station phone kiosk.


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  1. Zion says:

    Wonder why the one on Acton Town’s westbound platform’s isn’t included?

  2. Barry Edwards says:

    Do I take it that the boxes at High Street Ken and Chorleywood are for staff use and the Chalfont and Latimer box is a public telephone?

  3. Nigel Headley says:

    Does anybody know if these will be working boxes or just heritage relics without purpose?

  4. Nigel Headley says:

    Aha. Thank you. With all due respect, there’s nothing to indicate whether it’s a recent photo, especially as it’s notated ‘Historic England archive’

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