K4 Kiosk

The No. 4 kiosk was introduced.  It was first proposed in 1923 and a prototype was erected in Bath in 1926.  In addition to the telephone it contained facilities for buying stamps and posting letters.  The standard No. 4 kiosk was designed by the British Post Office Engineering Department on the basis of the successful No. 2 and received final approval in 1927.  It was constructed in cast iron and was considerably larger than any of the other types.

Painted vermilion outside and a flame colour inside, it gained the nickname of 'The Vermilion Giant'.  Only 50 of these kiosks were ever made, at an original cost of 50 6s 9d each.  They were intended to be a miniature Post Office, located where no such facilities existed or where expense prevented a sub-post office from being built.

Unfortunately these kiosks were unsuccessful.  Many people complained about the noise of the stamp machine while they were using the telephone and the rolls of stamps in the machine tended to become gummed in damp weather.  For these reasons, and because of the high unit cost, the Post Office decided in 1935 that no further kiosks of this type would be installed.

Cast iron structure incorporating a posting box and stamp selling machine (Engineering Department) (1928).

Coloured inside and outside in Red 539 with underside of roof painted in white enamel.

A Kiosk No. 4 was provided at Southend and was one of 50 used as an experiment of the combination of call office, posting box and stamp vending facilities.  Southend Corporation applied for a combined telephone and stamp vending machine on Pier Hill.  They subsequently complained that the Kiosk was unsatisfactory.  After the experiment had finished no more kiosks of this type were ordered.

Taken from BT archives

Front                                                                                                    Rear

Restored example

Experimental Kiosk No. 4 with external plant (cable terminations) accessible via a rear door.




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Last revised: February 28, 2020