Many of you who have cast your eye across the Bowcliffe Estate recently may have noticed a striking red addition to the otherwise luscious green horizon. Get closer, and you’ll see that Bowcliffe is indeed the proud new owner of its own red telephone box.
For those of you with furrowed brows, don’t worry! We’re not about to make your swap mobile office phones for loose-change draining calls, and for those of you from the ‘more spritely’ generation – please feel free to ask for an explanation as to how these age-old tardises work!
But this is Bowcliffe Hall, and as the DNA of the estate binds us to provide nothing short of extraordinary, so this is – of course – not just any old telephone box.
Akin to the unassuming wardrobe that led to Narnia, the new red box is, in fact, a K2.
For none phone-box enthusiasts, let us explain; The K2 kiosk was Britain’s first red Telephone Box. It was the winning design from a 1924 competition to find the design for a national kiosk. Designed by British architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the K2 was introduced in 1926 and over the next nine years some 1,700 examples were installed, mostly in London. The design of the K2 features many influences of classical architecture and with just over 200 examples remaining on British streets, these have been given Grade II listing status by English Heritage.
We asked Bowcliffe Chief Executive, Jonathan Turner, how he got his hands on such a brilliant piece of British history.
“The K2 is very rare and very special, I wanted one as it epitomises that everything we do or have at Bowcliffe that has to be the best of its type. So I thought to myself, ‘how on earth do I get hold of one?’ They really are like hens teeth, so I asked my great friend James Calvert, esteemed Member of the Drivers’ Club and fellow lover of all things quirky. As usual he knows a man who knows a man who knows where there might be one and just like that, hey presto! It arrived.
But that was only the beginning, I wanted people to see it from the counter in the Drivers Club just between two trees, and from the balcony on the Wing. As is always the case with these additions, it fell to Bowcliffe Magician, Maintenance Mal to set about positioning it with the aid of a large empty cardboard box! Mal must have been at the end of his tether by the time I was happy, ‘a little to the left, a little to the right… put it on your head’ but now it’s in the perfect place – I’m really chuffed with it!”
Design means an awful lot to us at Bowcliffe (take a look at the Blackburn Wing if you don’t believe us!) and the K2 is amongst the most iconic designs out there.