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Telephone Service in Birmingham

cookie273uk

master brummie
Yes Morturn, pressing the button 'earthed' the line which let the exchange know which party was calling for billing purposes. Party lines were to solve the problem of shortage of lines in the cable and was only a temporary measure until more pairs were available I was an engineer for 34 years and still remember the problems caused when the party line got 'reversed' during maintenance. Eric
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
Yes Morturn, pressing the button 'earthed' the line which let the exchange know which party was calling for billing purposes. Party lines were to solve the problem of shortage of lines in the cable and was only a temporary measure until more pairs were available I was an engineer for 34 years and still remember the problems caused when the party line got 'reversed' during maintenance. Eric
When I moved into my first flat in 1965, I had a party line shared with my neighbour across the landing. On two occasions, I remember having to report a fault when the lines got crossed over. My neighbour was not so pubic spirited and just told his friends to ring my number to get through to him! I always wondered what the button to get a line actually did so thanks Cookie for telling me that it earthed the line. Somehow pressing the button caused Radio 4 to play on my phone.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmy
Now this is not a picture of a chap up a pole in Birmingham, but there has been discussion on some threads of telegraph poles, and also Health and Safety.

For those ex GPO, Post Office Telephones and BT this the way it is today

132444
 

cookie273uk

master brummie
The top 2 steps are called 'working steps' to place your feet whilst carrying out maintenance, those below are called 'climbing steps' for obvious reasons and start 15 feet from ground level. I seemed to live up poles in my first few years from 25 foot 'lights' to 50 foot 'stouts', (now nearly all gone to be replaced by underground cables). I would not fancy climbing steel poles in a storm, a perfect lightning conductor! They have just put new poles in Cooks Lane near to me and they are still wood, have not seen a steel pole, cannot really see the point off them. Eric
 

Dave89

master brummie
Hi.

Does anyone remember the explosion in the basement of Telephone House in the
early 1960s. I worked in the bank on the opposite corner of Lionel Street at the time,
and we were 'evacuated' for a short while to the Colmore Row branch

Incidentally, I've got a wooden pole in my front garden. It must be getting on a bit, but
when I asked a BT engineer how old it is he didn't know. Apparently there aren't any markings
on it giving its age.

It leans a bit, there is an absolute mass of cables on it including mains electricity
distribution, and there are no steps.
BT access it using a cherrypicker.

Kind regards
Dave
 
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cookie273uk

master brummie
Dave89, 10 feet from the 'butt' of the pole,( that would be little above eye level from a pole in the ground) are engraved the height of the pole, once in feet now in metres, the letter L,M or S (light, medium or stout) and the date it was made/creosoted, usually about the date it was erected. When they are erected on some ones property PO Telephones/BT normally paid an annual small rent. Because they are creosoted under pressure they have a very long life, 60 years and longer. Eric
 
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Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Remember telephone tables/seats ? These seem to have a nice padded seat with handy phone book storage compartments. We never had the luxury of one. In our house it meant sitting on the stairs in a cold, unheated and draughty hallway. Probably a ploy to keep down phone bills ! Viv.

132470
 

Radiorails

master brummie
Have your own personal pole:
 

mw0njm.

brummie dude
the bt would not climb a pole in my field last time i had probs.they said it was rotten,and had to get the heavy gang in to replace it. h&s
 

Spargone

master brummie
Dialing the 'wrong' number to get the 'right' person on a party line reminds me of the small model telephone system in the Museum of Science and Industry in Newhall Street. There was a glass-fronted cabinet that let you watch the works and on either side was a telephone. A small notice by each telephone told you what number to dial, say 639. Inevitably someone would pick up that phone and call out to their companion standing by the other telephone, "My number is 639, what's yours?", i.e. exactly the same way as a 'real' system works, but not the display model!
Incidently Kidderminster Railway Museum has a nice little working exchange but here you DO have to ask "What's your number?"!
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Dialing the 'wrong' number to get the 'right' person on a party line reminds me of the small model telephone system in the Museum of Science and Industry in Newhall Street. There was a glass-fronted cabinet that let you watch the works and on either side was a telephone. A small notice by each telephone told you what number to dial, say 639. Inevitably someone would pick up that phone and call out to their companion standing by the other telephone, "My number is 639, what's yours?", i.e. exactly the same way as a 'real' system works, but not the display model!
Incidently Kidderminster Railway Museum has a nice little working exchange but here you DO have to ask "What's your number?"!
I too remember that display. It was right next to the fox and rabbit game, made from ex post office telephone parts.



I have seen and had a play with he Kidderminster set up and there is also a good one at Avoncroft museum.
 

Spargone

master brummie
I too remember that display. It was right next to the fox and rabbit game, made from ex post office telephone parts.
We called it 'Fox and Geese', one fox that could go forward and back and four geese that could only advance. There was a control knob that slid in a 'St Andrews cross' cut-out. Wasn't there a futuristic counter display across the gangway that used Dekatron tubes, a neon-like glow that stepped around a ring of electrodes?
 
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