Telephone Kiosk (1880s to Today)

Officially there is no such thing as telephone boxes, then their official GPO name was Kiosk. Before that they were known in the UK as Silence Boxes (due to their use inside railway stations or busy shops), or Public Call Offices when used on the streets outdoors. Other names often used are telephone booth, telephone call box, telephone box or public call box.

Kiosk is an odd sounding name, used also in the last century for Sweets or Newspaper Kiosk, small snack bars, and even ticket offices. In fact it is a Turkish word (Türkçe = köşk) and means a “small open sided pavilion”, which was a pretty poor use of the word for a small garden shed that was being used as a telephone box with its three enclosed sides and a door. Only in the last twenty or so years with the arrival of open sided (doorless) kiosk does the word begin to fit the original Turkish word.

There were of course other Call Boxes, such as AA and RAC member’s telephone boxes, so I include some of these on the pages of this site. The order being when they were chronologically introduced and/or the GPO K number where appropriate.

There is an additional Site I have made that covers the Police Call Boxes and in some cases their use as ARP Boxes in WW2.

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UK - RAC and AA Telephone Boxes


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