GPO K6 Telephone Box.

New Page 24th June 2009. (Update 25 may 2010)

Buying, and Collecting...

I found this on e-bay recently, and as I've been looking for a real red 'phone box
for some years. I thought I'd better put a bid on it. To my supprise I won the
auction, and that's when the fun started. My trailer can carry over a ton but isn't
wide enough between the wheels, so at short notice I borrowed a slightly wider trailer
from a good friend (John). He Got the trailer ready, changing one of the wheels which
had some damage to the walls. My day started at 07:00 when I headed off to Paddock
wood to unload the back of my car into the workshop-van. Then over to John's. After
loading up a winch and portable crane I coupled-up and started driving to Birmingham.

I made good time on the motorways, and reached Birmingham Airport at about 13:00
Arriving at Will's place shortly after. The K6 was on the driveway, and with the help
of some local builders and a mini-digger We got it, and the 1970's interior loaded up
and ready to go. Will has a wonderful telephone collection, and a police-post in his
back garden!

The K6 was around 20 inches longer than the trailer though, and at around 3/4 of a ton,
was a tad heavier than the trailer would usually be able to carry. I started the drive
back towards home, but I stopped as soon as possible to put some more air in the tyres.
I took them from 30 to 36psi, but the trailer still began to weave wildly when I approached
30MPH. I called John to let him know I'd be taking longer to return his trailer, Then
planned a new route back using only the "A" roads as I could not make the minimum 40MPH
required on the motorways.

On way back at 17:30. Route was Warwick, (past the castle), then Daventry and onto the A5.
Then the slow journey all the way down into North London. Then join the North Circular road
eastbound as far as the M11, then south to the A13. I stuck to 25-28MPH and pulled over at
regular intervals to let the queues of traffic that grew behind me go past. In Milton Keynes
the A5 was closed and I had to follow the poorly marked diversion signs. I went around twice,
and did some reversing around housing-estates before getting back onto the A5.

As i joined the A13 I had a puncture on the trailer, Well more a blow-out really. Limping
into a side-road I had a look at the mess. the tyre had got too warm and burst as I took the
corner. I managed to get my car jack under the trailer, then tried to find a socket to fit the
wheel-nuts. After nearly an hour, I had the old damaged spare wheel back on. Then continued
east towards the Dartford crossing. Over the Thames at Dartford and To a mate's yard in Hoo.
Dropping off the trailer at 02:45, I then headed back to Orpington, arriving at about 03:30.
Two hours to get there, Nine to get back.

The sense of despair on that journey back is hard to describe. The trailer was really not
up to the job, and I could not expect any help from anyone had I run into any problems.
I was navigating by guesswork and an occasional glance at a large-scale UK map where no minor
roads were shown. When I reached North London it was club/pub kicking-out-time and the roads
were unbelievably busy.

The tyre that burst on the trailer was a light-duty type, I had my local tyre people fit a
heavy duty trailer tyre. (Last time I borrowed the trailer I did this to the other tyre!).

The next day, I was back over to Hoo at 09:00 to work on the Panzer 3 (see link on my webpage).
Un-loading was much easier with the forklift, and I started taking the K6 apart ready for
refurbishment. There are a few small cracks in the cast iron, I will get these welded before
I start any other work on it. I am now in the process of bringing the box, in kit-form back to
Orpington to be sanded and welded.

Locks and Keys....

When I bought the telephone box it had an early 1970's interior with a 700 series Pay On Answer
telephone. As is quite usual with these telephones, no keys were supplied. The lock of the telephone
had been partly drilled making picking this lock impossible. I Got in though using other methods.
The cashbox was locked shut. As the telephone lock was un-useable I visited my local locksmiths
and found a replacement for it, and had a new key made for the cashbox lock.

Interface to the real world..

I have been looking at the signalling spec' for the pay on answer telephones, and I will be making
an adaptor to translate the 10PPS dialing into DTMF, and to produce the required tones and signals
to run the payphone and to give credit when coins are inserted. I also have some old 5 and 10 pence
coins, (same size as the old 1 and 2 shilling coins). This will make the telephone box usable with
either the BT Renown or Revelation telephone exchanges I have here.