The KX series of telephone kiosks in the United Kingdom was introduced by BT (British Telecom) in 1985. The company had decided to create a newly designed and improved take on the British telephone box, which at this point consisted of only red telephone boxes. These red boxes were considered flawed in parts by BT for several reasons, including cost, lack of ventilation, accessibility and maintenance. The sides were deliberately raised from the ground to allow for ventilation and also for the wind to blow away any rubbish dropped on the floor.
BT announced the £160 million series of new boxes, the designed by GKN, as well as announcing the eventual replacement of all existing telephone boxes. The main telephone box in the KX range is the KX100. The boxes were produced at a rate of 5,000 a year, with the total count of all BT-owned kiosks reaching 137,000 by 1999, a number which has since decreased by more than seventy per cent.
Due to criticism of the new design, the KX100 was replaced in 1996 by the KX+. Rumour had it that BT stopped purchasing Kiosks in 2001, but the Kiosk booth "Street Talk 6" was introduced in 2007 which effectively killed off the KX range.
The first and most common KX, designed to be the direct successor to the K6, the KX100 is a four-sided rectangular box with a flat roof. Aside from the back panel, which is formed of stainless steel panels, the three other sides of the box are made of glass, with two large window panels set above and beneath a slim, black plastic modesty panel, also with a black plastic trim around the windows. The same three sides of the booth stop short of the ground to provide ventilation, another improvement on the non-ventilated K6, and for litter accumulation. Initial deliveries had cylindrical legs, for levelling on site, a flat-sheet roof with upturned edges and a multi-panel back. A slightly updated model known as the Mk2 soon followed, without the adjustable legs and with a single sheet back panel and the more familiar 'biscuit tin lid' roof.
At launch, KX100s had smoked glass windows with lettering and logos printed on the inside face. To improve visibility of the kiosks - in particular during daylight hours - the printing was first moved onto the outside surface of the glass and then the smoked glass was dropped altogether. Later kiosks were all fitted with clear glass.
The door of the kiosk has a light action and features a bright-coloured moulded plastic panel and handle for easier opening than previous boxes. For the first KX100s, this part was bright yellow, whilst the Phonecard variants used a bright green. The payphone inside the coin-operated version was originally yellow with a blue phone, but this was later phased out. The upper glass window panels carried the company logo, which upon launch, was the yellow dotted British Telecom 'T' logo. Changes to the panel and handle colour and BT logo were made in 1991, changes which adorn almost all remaining KX100s.
The KX100 was designed to be supplied with or without a door, depending on requirements, with the door version designed to be located on sites where complete weather and acoustic protection is needed. The overall unit was designed to be wide enough to allow wheelchair access. The open booth is designed for use on quieter sites yet still provides good weather protection and ease of access for the disabled. They can be used on single sites or suited back to back or side by side.
Back to back KX100 Kiosks with the pan Piper logo.
Dimensions as above.
The original version featured red trim panels and a red-domed roof. This colour was chosen for its high visibility, and also to recall the red colour of the iconic Post Office kiosks. In late 2003, BT introduced internet connectivity to select kiosks. These booths feature distinctive blue colour to distinguish them from kiosks with standard telephone equipment (see photo) and also carry the BT Openzone logo. These kiosks have been described as perhaps "the last throw of the dice to save the telephone box", with Red Phone Box noting "the idea is good but the practicality isn't, you are unable to print out your internet findings in these boxes as a printer and paper would create mess." The payphone within the KX+ inside takes cash, phonecards, credit cards and chargecards, with these payment options clearly written on the outside of the box rather than using red or green colour coding which was the practice of the KX series as well as elder red telephone boxes that had been updated accordingly.
The first KX+ kiosks appeared in Autumn 1996, with the first being placed in London and within its first year, over 5,000 KX+ kiosks had been installed. Its launch also saw the end of production for the KX100. Some KX100s went on to be retrofitted with KX+ style domes - in effect a cost-reduced model, known during its development as the K Excel but supplied as KX Minus. Both the KX+ and the KX Minus were designed by DCA and manufactured by GKN.
Introduced in 1996.
Height, 2495, Width 900, Depth 900
Picture to the right
It consists of a back panel, a flat roof which also supports two glass panels which stretch down the booth but stop far short of the ground. These panels sport the BT logo.
Both housings offer ease of access for the disabled and they can be used in single sites
or suited side by side or back to back.
Again both housings offer slightly raised sides to prevent litter accumulation.
Several KX300s were fitted with doors that resemble the KX100 doors, although
many were not.
Taken from many sources
Last revised: February 15, 2021