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Iconic 'Out of Order' tumbling telephone box sculpture refurbished in Kingston for 30th anniversary

The iconic ‘Out of Order’ sculpture, best known as the twelve tumbling telephone boxes has been revealed following its refurbishment, alongside original artist, David Mach.

The popular piece of art has been renovated by Kingston First to celebrate the sculpture’s 30th anniversary.

Just as the red phone box is an icon of Britain, the sculpture is symbolic of Kingston. Located on Old London Road; home to many of the town’s quirky independent shops, bars and cafes, the sculpture has delighted visitors since its arrival in 1989. Appearing on numerous postcards and posters across the UK, the tourist landmark provides the perfect photo opportunity in the picturesque riverside town.

David Mach RA is one of the UK’s most successful and respected artists, known for his dynamic and imaginative large scale collages, sculptures and installations worldwide. Previously a lecturer in the Sculpture School at Kingston University, the artist was delighted to be back in the South West London town to celebrate the refurbishment of his celebrated work.

David said:

“I’m very happy to see Out of Order being refurbished. It’s one of my best outdoor sculptures. I love these boxes and isn’t it funny that even in these times and although they were removed from the British landscape, I feel they still bind us as a nation.”

The restoration of the telephone boxes was implemented by Kingston First; the Business Improvement District for the town centre, with support from the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and Danehurst; property developers of the student accommodation adjacent to the sculpture on Old London Road. 

Kirsten Henly, Chief Executive of Kingston First, said:

"We’re proud to have contributed to the refurbishment of this iconic artwork. It’s a renowned piece both in Kingston and across the capital. We’re thrilled to be celebrating the sculpture’s 30th anniversary with David and we’re looking forward to seeing visitors continuing to enjoy the piece for many more years to come.”   

Councillor Liz Green, Leader of the Council, added:  

"We're delighted to work with Kingston First and other partners to see this landmark in Kingston refreshed and reinvigorated for residents, businesses and visitors to enjoy. We're looking forward to continuing to work on initiatives which both continue to showcase Kingston's cultural and historical offer and enhance the town's offer in this way."

Mark Yonwin, from property developers Danehurst, commented:

“The ‘Out of Order’ phone boxes on Old London Road are iconic of Kingston and we are absolutely delighted to have contributed to their refurbishment. Being right outside our new student accommodation building, Viridian Studios, it is only logical that we support the efforts to maintain it.”  

On Saturday 6 April, the riverside town will be celebrating the sculpture's return to order and its 30th birthday. Street entertainers will be roaming through Old London Road whilst Snappy Snaps Kingston will be on hand to take visitors photos with the sculpture for free.

For further information on the history of Kingston and things to do in the local area, please visit the In Kingston website.