The Beacons of Hull

2023 // photo book // 48 pages // 210x148mm // softcover
purchase here

photography and words by
Esther Johnson

design by

published by
the modernist

thanks to
Art, Design and Media Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University
Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings
BT Digital Archives
Richard Hollis
Barbara and Graham Johnson
Ian Midgley at KCOM Group
the modernist society
Christopher Wilson

The story of the K8 telephone kiosk and its unique-to-Hull Honeysuckle Cream variant, as told and photographed by Esther Johnson.

“I come from the land of Ships in the Sky, Chip Spice, and cream-coloured telephone boxes*. This land is of course Hull in East Yorkshire, and we don’t just have the ubiquitous Giles Gilbert Scott red K6 (kiosk number 6) telephone kiosks commissioned by the General Post Office (GPO); in fact the city and surrounding area boasts the largest cluster of the more modern K8s that survive across the UK.

There are thirty-seven in Hull, plus eight in the surrounding area, in comparison to approximately thirty in total elsewhere across the country.” Esther Johnson

* The former Hull Corporation Phone Department (launched 1904) decided that the kiosks in Hull would be painted cream, and as the corporation was not national or Crown property, they were installed without a crown on the top.

A selection of these photographs were featured in The Observer on 25 February 2024. The second run of this publication sold out in the same month.

The Observer Beacons of Hull Feature