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Inner sleeve

Inner Sleeve


The black & white inner-sleeve photos of Bowie and the Spiders were taken by Brian Ward upstairs in his Heddon Street studio following the outdoor photo session and were designed to resemble Clockwork Orange look-a-likes.

More photos from the inner-sleeve photo session

Rear cover details

The rear cover was also photographed by Brian Ward. The rear cover shows Bowie posing as Ziggy Stardust in a red K2-series telephone box (also on Heddon Street, London).

K2 K6

The phonebox on the back cover of the Ziggy Stardust album is a K2 (Kiosk 2) model which was introduced in the UK in 1927.   Its predecessor had been the K1 (Kiosk 1) - a refurbished concrete version of earlier wooden box kiosks.  In 1921 leading architects in the UK had been asked to submit designs for an improved phonebox. The K2 design by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was chosen and mainly introduced to London and several large provincial towns. It was the first kiosk of the Post Office Red variety. 

A K3 design in concrete was also built but was not durable enough. The K4 in cast iron was very large and was introduced in 1930 and included a post box and stamp vending machines but that too developed problems and only 50 were ever made - four or five have survived in museums. The K5 was experimental and not put into regular use.  It was a 'flat packed' wooden kiosk for temporary erection at exhibitions and none are known to have survived. However official drawings have been found in the telephone company archives and a reproduction built which is on display with the 'kiosk collection' at the Avoncroft Museum in Bromsgrove, England.

The K6 (more famously known as the Jubilee box) was also designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and was introduced in 1936.  This became the standard model phonebox and appeared throughout the entire country.  It was not considered outdated until the 1960s.  Both the K2 and K6's were replaced in the 1980s by modern blue phone boxes, but these themselves have now been re-replaced by the K6's as part of the historical renovation of London.

The current K-series phonebox on Heddon Street is a K6.   It is rumoured that the original telephone-box was sold to an American fan in the late Seventies.  The K6 has different spaced glass panels to the one Bowie was photographed in. The K7 was an early aluminium and glass open version and the K8 was traditional cast iron with a door, the same size as a K6, with one large pane of glass each side but without the royal crown.

For many British teenagers the phonebox pose immediately struck a chord in being strikingly similar to the Dr Who TV series where The Doctor - a Timelord - traveled in a time-machine disguised as a British Police-box. Alternately it could also be seen as decadent - i.e. reminiscent of a male prostitute plying his trade. Today, these London phoneboxes in London are usually full of advertising cards from call-girls and massage parlours.

The phonebox image and the song "Starman" would neatly predict the plot to the future films "Close Encounters of The Third Kind" and "ET".  While the original telephone-box was replaced in the 1980's by a smaller modern blue phone booth, and then again by the red K6 model, the walls around it are still repeatedly covered in messages from Bowie fans who visit the street.

---This page last modified: 10 Dec 2018---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)