Iconic Bri­tish tele­phone kiosks to be re­stored

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Eleven red tele­phone boxes dis­persed around Val­letta will be re­stored to safe­guard their pro­tec­tion sta­tus. The Plan­ning Com­mis­sion has granted per­mis­sion for works to be car­ried out on these struc­tures, which, ow­ing to the spread of mo­bile phones, have fallen into ob­so­les­cence.

The kiosks which will be re­stored are a mix of Mk1 and Mk2 Type 6B and are mostly found in Repub­lic and Mer­chants Street.

These struc­tures, which are as icon­i­cally Bri­tish as Lon­don’s black cabs, were de­signed by Sir Gil­bert Scott to com­mem­o­rate the Sil­ver Ju­bilee of the corona­tion of King Ge­orge V in 1935. The de­sign of these tele­phone kiosks was part of a Spe­cial Con­ces­sion scheme to cel­e­brate the Sil­ver Ju­bilee through which each vil­lage or city in the em­pire that had a post of­fice would re­ceive a sub­sidised tele­phone kiosk. Although the king died in Jan­uary 1936, the scheme went ahead and the ‘Ju­bilee Con­ces­sion’ al­lowed many towns and vil­lages in the UK and its colonies to ap­ply for the tele­phone kiosk.

The Mark 1, which is a preWW2 de­sign, was man­u­fac­tured be­tween 1936 and 1952. These can be iden­ti­fied through the Im­pe­rial Tu­dor State Crown on the roof sec­tion. When Queen El­iz­a­beth II came to the throne, she chose a new ren­di­tion of the crown and, there­fore, the MK2 was in­tro­duced with the new crown ren­di­tion. The Mk 2 was in pro­duc­tion from 1952 up to 1968.

The type 6B kiosks are those that have the door fit­ted op­po­site the back panel and hinged on the right. The kiosk frame is con­structed from a cast with glass panes and solid teak door frame with a cast iron grid in­sert. The use of red for tele­phone booths was in­tended to help users find the fa­cil­ity more eas­ily.

The eleven struc­tures will be trans­ported to a man­u­fac­tur­ing work­shop so that all restora­tion works can be car­ried out in a pro­tected en­vi­ron­ment. The works will be car­ried out in ac­cor­dance to an ap­proved restora­tion method state­ment and mon­i­tored by the Plan­ning Author­ity’s con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cers. The Su­per­in­ten­dence of Cul­tural Her­itage has en­dorsed the restora­tion method state­ment.

Back in 2001, the Plan­ning Author­ity had granted Grade 2 pro­tec­tion sta­tus to these struc­tures.

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