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Notices: Site recoding continues throughout 2013
In the Sixties, telephone exchange 'open days' were an opportunity
for the G.P.O. to promote its services and for the public to see the
latest developments in the switching of calls. Visits to an
AutoManual Centre were particularly interesting as you could see
both the operators at work and the equipment used to connect the
calls. Children could visit the place where their parents worked and
perhaps long to be an operator or engineer when they grew up.
Opposite is a typical 'open day' leaflet produced in 1968.
"This leaflet is provided to assist you during and after your visit.
Your guide will be pleased to answer any questions."
GPO Telephones Timeline
The GPO Timeline - a brief history of key
organisational and name changes throughout the years...
Photo: GPO through the ages at
Heart of the Operator Services; connecting calls, dealing with
emergencies, providing a public service.
Today, there are very few calls that cannot be directly dialled by
the customer, but this was not always the case...
Photo: A typical enquiry suite.
In the 21st century, virtually all (UK) telephone and data traffic
is processed by digital switches. In this section we look back to a
time when Strowger, Crossbar and Electronic switching carried the
bulk of the calls...
We also find out about the development of Subscriber Trunk Dialling
(STD) which greatly simplified the call set-up process.
Photo: Typical exchange racking and
The first International Subscriber Dialling (ISD) call was made by
the Lord Mayor of London (Sir Ralph Perring) at 11am on 8th March
1963. Calling from Fleet Building, he dialled 13 digits and was
connected to Monsieur Jacques Marette, the French Minister of Posts,
Telegraphs and Telephones, in Paris.
Photo: Earlier times - inauguration of
the new international switchboard circa 1933.
The GPO Tower
The Postmaster General, Anthony Wedgwood Benn, said that the Post
Office Tower symbolised 20th-century Britain. Lean, practical and
futuristic, it epitomised the technical and architectural skills of
the second industrial revolution.
Photo: The Tower Auditorium & Maple
Straw is compiled using resources in the public domain:
Books, press releases, newspapers,
memories and historical contributions from telecommunications staff and
organisations past and present...
||The Light Straw Archives lead to a wealth of
information about telecoms in days gone by...
...as well as current organisations who are shaping tomorrow's history.
Straw is compiled independently and is not endorsed by BT.
|Design, images and text compiled by ©
Light-Straw. Page last updated 14th
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