The Twentieth Century Society

Obituary: Bruce Martin

Bruce Martin, who has died aged 97, was the designer of the K8, the last in a line of red telephone boxes, which was the subject of a C20 listing campaign some years ago. Ten K8s are now listed at Grade II. He qualified in architecture at the AA, and after WWII joined the Architects Department of Hertfordshire County Council, though he also became a lecturer at Cambridge – a post he was to hold for many years. While in Herts he worked under the county architect C H Aslin as part of the group responsible for the ‘Hertfordshire experiment’ – a progressive primary school building plan using pioneering construction techniques, pre-fabrication and the idea of child-centred design. He was job architect on one of the more significant schools of the period, Morgan’s Junior School Hertford, listed Grade II* in 1998. He published widely on his involvement with the Herts programme, and also wrote School Buildings 1947-52 (1953), Standards and Building (1971) and Joints in Buildings (1977).

In the same way that Giles Gilbert Scott rationalised and modernised the K2 for his 1936 K6 ‘Jubilee’ kiosk, so Martin reworked the K6 for a new era, toning down its intricacies in a design that was elegant, functional and unashamedly modern.