The Stained Glass Phone Box Of Embankment

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 45 months ago

Last Updated 28 September 2020

The Stained Glass Phone Box Of Embankment
A mysterious knight watches over a K2 phone box. Image: Londonist

It looks like it belongs in nearby Temple Church, but this stained glass figure of a knight watches over the inside of an old BT phone box.

The incongruous window, fitted inside a K2 phone box on Embankment opposite Middle Temple Lane, was first clocked in autumn 2019 — and it's been delighting and befuddling passers-by ever since.

The knight's white mantle with red cross suggests he's a Templar. Image: Londonist

The appearance of a knight here — a stone's thrown from Temple station and the Middle Temple area — isn't strange in itself. We can presume he's a nod to the Templars, an ancient order of knights, some of whom once resided in the area and eventually gave it its name.

Like our stained glass warrior, Templar knights also wore white mantles with red crosses.

The presence of the stained glass window remains a mystery. Image: Londonist

The real mystery is how he got here and why: historians such as David Hay, trustee at Sainsbury Archives, have scratched their heads over this one, while IanVisits' investigative efforts led to ruling out BT having anything to do with the work, despite this being a BT phone box, and not far from their Openreach bunker.

So far as we know, the skilled artist is yet to fess up.

A sculpture of a phone box in Croydon with bites taken out of it
Sebastian Burdon's Bitten Phone Box.  Tasty. Image: Londonist

Phone boxes, and sculptures of them, have led to some playful London artworks. David Mach's Out of Order still delights visitors to Kingston upon Thames with its riff on toppling dominoes, while Sebastian Burdon's Bitten Phone Box still prompts double takes in Croydon town centre. Update: Bitten Phone Box is no longer on its spot in Croydon centre — must have been eaten altogether.