The latest addition to Greenbearshire is a shiny new red telephone box!
This box might look very familiar and with good reason. The Sylvanian box is very similar to the iconic K(kiosk)6 telephone box which can be seen all about the UK, past and present British colonies, and beyond. K6 refers to the fact that this box is the 6th version of the telephone kiosk produced. There were a total of 8 versions introduced between 1926 and the mid 1980s. The K6 is the version most people are accustomed to seeing and the first version to be used extensively outside of London.
Designed in 1935 by architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, approximately 60,000 K6s were placed throughout Britain. They were designed to commemorate King George V’s Silver Jubilee and were referred to as the “Jubilee Kiosk”. This celebratory kiosk was intended to fix flaws that had become apparent in previous kiosks. For example, the K2 was overly large and costly, while the K3 was very brittle. Observe this photo of a K2 and a K6 side-by-side in St.John’s Wood, London:
The goal of the K6 design was to be simpler, more streamlined, less expensive, and require less space. In 1939, the MKII of the K6 was produced in order to thwart vandalism.
The K6 telephone box consists of cast iron wall sections, held together by bolts. The base is concrete and the roof is a dome. It features 8 rows of 3 panes of glass on 3 sides of the box. The middle column is wider, to increase visibility. The Sylvanian box differs from the original in both number of glass panes and the width of the middle column.
The familiar red color is intended to be bright and easily noticeable. The name of the color is “currant red”, or BS381C-Red539. However, before 1968, a slightly different, less bright red was used, BS381C-Red538. When the newer, brighter color became the red of choice along with the release of the K8, BS381C-Red539 was used to repaint older box models, including our friend the K6. I will need to compare the Sylvanian Box to the British Standard options to see which is a closer match! When the bright red boxes were installed in areas outside of London, there were objections because the kiosks were stood out too boldly from the landscape, leading to the Royal Fine Arts Commission allowing rural kiosks to be painted in colors such as green and grey starting in 1949.
The crown motif is one of the signature touches on the British telephone box. All kiosks, starting in 1926, feature the crown. Originally, the crown motif was pierced to provide ventilation, but this changed in the K6 version. The crown motif was changed to a bas relief, and separate ventilation was added to the box to replace the piercing in the crown design. The crown image originally used was the Tudor crown, however in 1953 Queen Elizabeth II updated the image to the St. Edward’s crown, which is the crown used in coronation ceremonies. In the 1990’s, the crowns began to be embellished with gold paint, making the crown motif more visible. Our Sylvanian version features a special SF design where the crown motif would typically be.
If you look closely inside the box, you will see a list of telephone numbers for prominent Sylvanians and some familiar locations. Plus there is a slot to hold the local telephone book! It’s a little challenging to get a good photo of inside the booth, but hopefully you are able to see a bit of the telephone itself, the sticker with the list of numbers, and the telephone book slot. If you look closely at the telephone, you will see some basic instructions for proper telephone communications.
In addition to the book sticker, there are the “telephone” labels.
This set is very easy to assemble, the only tasks to complete are applying the “Telephone” stickers and putting the book together. The door opens with a slight amount of pressure. At first I was a little worried to pull too hard, because I really didn’t want to break any bits off, but it works fine. The look of the K6 fits in well with other Sylvanian buildings and decor. A very nice and classic addition to any Sylvanian village!
These Freyas are very excited about the new telephone box! Wonder what could that be about…?