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Historic telephone boxes in Hertfordshire and Harrow join list of protected heritage gems

An iconic Metropolitan Line telephone box in Hertfordshire now has listed status.

The K8 kiosks at Chorleywood in Hertfordshire, Chalfont and Latimer in Buckinghamshire and Northwick Park in Harrow are three of around just 50 left in their original positions.

In their heyday between 1968 and 1983, 11,000 K8s were installed around the country, but Historic England has said they are now “rare” and the Government has given many of them a special Grade II heritage protection.

“This distinctive telephone box design, once a ubiquitous part of daily life in the UK, is now rare to see in our public spaces,” heritage minister Lord Parkinson said.

K8 is the last generation of the classic telephone box before British Telecom rolled out the glass-sided, silver-backed KX100.

Former Hertfordshire County Council architect Bruce Martin designed the K8 model.

He worked for the authority after the Second World War, during the “Hertfordshire experiment” school building programme “to meet a population explosion in the county”.

He was the job architect on Morgans Junior School, Hertford, which is Grade II* listed as a “well preserved example of the Hertfordshire system of prefabricated schools”.

He devised a modular building plan for primary schools in an effort to speed up construction, trialling his theories at Clarendon Secondary Modern in Oxhey and Summerswood Primary in Borehamwood.

The Chorleywood Station platform two kiosk is listed “for Bruce Martin’s meticulously simplified and updated design, a classic work of 20th Century industrial design which is immediately recognisable”.

Historic telephone boxes in Hertfordshire and Harrow join list of protected heritage gems Harrow Online
The K8 phone box at Chorleywood station. Credit: Historic England Archive

The original design brief was for a box which “should be easy to reassemble on site, and easy to maintain and repair in the future”.

It is painted powder blue from the London Underground’s 1990s corporate colour scheme.

Tom Foxall, regional director of Historic England, said: “There are very few designs that can be genuinely termed as ‘iconic’ but the K8 is certainly one of them.

“Like its predecessors, this kiosk was a defining feature of 20th century Britain’s physical, technological and cultural landscape.”

In addition to the Met Line listed boxes, the kiosk at High Street Kensington London Underground Station was also added to the list.

The total number of listed K8 boxes is 24.

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