Monday, 22 February 2016

Iconic K6 telephone box turned into micro-retail unit - Hampstead, Camden, north London

© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2016
“We sell coffees, tea, hot chocolate, cakes, croissants, muffins, pies and pasties,” says Umar Khalid.
He stands beside an iconic ‘K6’ telephone box on Hampstead High Street in north London.
Converted to a ‘micro-retail unit’, the K6 is formerly the kind of compact phone box in which Londoners used to shelter from the rain, to secretly canoodle, and to even make the odd phone call.

Umar and Alona Guerra lease the box from the Red Kiosk Company that equipped it with power, a lock and – crucially – with retail planning consent from Camden Council.
“Passers-by are really surprised,” says Umar. “We’re getting busier everyday.”
Red Kiosk leases such boxes around the UK from £6 per day. The company donates some of its profits to the Thinking Outside the Box charitable trust that helps local unemployed and homeless people.

BT sold disused K6s in 2012 after mobile phones killed off demand for phone boxes. Designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, some 8,000 K6s punctuate city streets and village greens and country lanes around the UK.
In London, homeless people still take shelter inside some of them.

© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, February 2016

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