Mapperley Village

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The Phone Boxes of West Hallam and Mapperley

K6 Telephone box, Mapperley
The red GPO phone box appeared on Britain’s streets in 1925, replacing an earlier type that was no longer fit for purpose. But the K2 (kiosk 2), designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, proved too expensive for more than a few to be introduced, and a succession of other, cheaper, but less successful designs were used over the next decade. In 1935 Scott was commissioned to design another kiosk to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of George V. This box, constructed from cast iron with a teak door, became the standard and was installed and used nationwide for almost five decades. Known as K6, it probably played an important part in the life of anyone now living who was born before the 1980’s.

The GPO was broken up in 1984 and the telephone part of the business was privatised as British Telecom. The new company set about modernising its equipment and began to remove the K6 boxes, replacing them with newer types which were less pleasing to the eye, poorly designed and soon looked shabby.

The final nail in the coffin of the public call box is the rise of the mobile phone. Decreasing use and a vast dip in profits have led BT to close more and more kiosks without replacing them. Many of the K6 boxes have been sold – the going rate is about £2000. Some boxes have been saved in their original locations by the “Adopt a Kiosk” scheme which was set up to allow local groups to convert them to house defibrillators, tourist information or to act as small libraries.

There are three working phone boxes in West Hallam, all of the post-1984 design. They all look rather neglected and it is hard to see much of a future for them. BT is unlikely to keep them operational for much longer and they do not have the heritage appeal of the K6. These boxes are at the Dales, on Station Road and on High Lane East.

K7 Telephone Box, High Lane East, West Hallam

Telephone Box, Station Road, West Hallam

K7 Box
Dales Shopping Centre, West Hallam


Mapperley, on the other hand, has one decommissioned K6. Its future seems to be assured as the Parish Council is negotiating to adopt it.

Jeff Wynch

Royal Mail Post Boxes

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