Iconic red telephone box turned into compact coffee shop and ice cream unit outside Lambeth Palace

A landmark red telephone box outside Lambeth Palace is to be turned into one of the UK’s smallest coffee shops.

The grade II listed phone box on Lambeth Palace Road, Albert Embankment, measures just 0.8 square metres and will incorporate a coffee machine and ice cream unit.

The project is run by the Red Kiosk Company, part of a wider charitable trust, Think Outside the Box, set up to support homelessness charities across the UK.

Speaking of the project, Miles Broe, design director of Red Kiosk Company, said: “It is developing a business model approach for charitable organisations and bringing people into the job market.”

He added the charity aims to break down cycles of homelessness, unemployment and dependency by offering people the choice of what they want to do with each phone box.

Money from the phone boxes goes towards different charities in cities from Edinburgh to Plymouth, with local authorities deciding on the most relevant issue that need tackling.

Its aim is to regenerate communities by creating employment and mentoring people back into society.

The iconic telephone boxes, a common sight up and down the country, were chosen for their engineering and architectural significance.

The aim is to redefine their usage to suit modern needs, without compromising their exterior appearance, rather than leave them sitting redundant.

The company buys the unused phone boxes from BT and after refurbishment leases them out to individuals for multi-purpose operations including coffee shops, information points and shoe shining pods.

Mr Broe said people appreciate the opportunity the phone boxes give them to turn their lives around and take pride in what they’re doing.

“It’s almost as if it’s their business with their own names on it,” he said.

While the current phone box will be the 12th of its kind, there are currently 160 planning applications underway with another 500 projects in the pipeline.

For information on leasing a Red Box, contact

Feature image courtesy of, with thanks

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