From My Archive I Choose…

T is for Telephone Exchange…

The first Automated Telephone Exchange in the UK, located in Epsom, opened for service on 18th May 1912. This post celebrates 100 years since that event. The first generation of automatic telephone exchanges utilised Strowger electro-mechanical switching equipment; of which later examples can be seen below in a photograph taken at Lords Telephone Exchange in the late 1980’s.

Strowger Equipment

Lords Telephone Exchange is a fairly standard example of a London telephone exchange building…

Lords Telephone Exchange

…I worked in the building between 1974 and 1992 when I moved onto other work in my never-ending tour of duty for BT. Located nowhere near the cricket ground of the same name, the building was originally known as Cunningham Telephone Exchange. The exchange was built in 1937 and at one time housed two local telephone exchange strowger units, a tandem exchange (used for routing of calls only), a manual exchange and a directory enquiries bureau. A new building was added at the back in the early 1970’s to house new TXE4 local units, the first of the new semi-electronic type to enter service in London. The curved building behind the main building is the staircase / fire escape for both and was often referred to as the conning tower because of its shape. The original building suffered a fire in the mid-1990’s. All the old equipment was removed from the main part of the building. Modern equipment to provide local telephone services is now housed in a fraction of the space required for the older equipment types and much of the building has been sold off to become offices and apartments.

Both of these photos can be found on the Geograph website along with many others taken by myself and other Geographers, all accurately located geographically and often with detailed descriptions. Please pop in there and take a look 🙂