The tag with the photo (from shoothill) reads 'laying telephone wires in Colmore Row' and some youngsters of the early 1900s seem interested in the work. The girl in the centre appears to have a basket suspended in front of her, the man standing in the hole has pliers held in his belt and the cable looks substantial. That office building at No 88 does not appear to be there today ... maybe it isn't Colmore Row.
Whenever I see a cable being laid I am reminded of a tale told me by a senior engineer at MTRHQ dating from when he had just joined the Post Office. It had been decided that the mouth of a harbour in Cardiff was to be spanned by an underwater cable which was duly ordered up. An 'old timer' boss looked at the drum and said "We will need to get a number [x] bar (the largest diameter in the rate book [PO stores catalogue])". The youngsters, fresh out of college with their diplomas, challenged this and said it was 'all a matter of bending moments' and the like so set out to calculate the required bar diameter. Referring their result to the rate book they were surprised to find that the boss had been correct and wanted to know how he had anticipated the answer. He said, "Because it is the biggest bl***y bar that will fit the hole!"Some early telephone work in Birmingham...
A curious definition of 'equal opportunities' I would have thought! As a rule women didn't operate switchboards on the night-shifts, (old-fashioned chivalry, meaning that 'girls' didn't have to be out on the streets outside daylight hours?).This I have always thought points to the GPO Telephones being somewhat of a progressive equal ops employer in the 1960’s.
Looking back to post 226 by Susie R, this would be about the time referred to, and she may be able to give you much information.Hi Susie, my dad was the senior chief suoervisor ( night staff) at Telephone House Birmingham until the ’s when he returned As I recall his responsibilities included Hill Street and Selly Oak exchanges and the secret Anchor exchange built as part of Cold War defence action .Although I never knew about that from him Only fo7nd out about it by doing recent historical research . He obviously valued the Official Secrets Act. From what I remember the only other GPO Telephones senior chief supervisor post in the country was in London and held by a woman who was over daytime staff , This I have always thought points to the GPO Telephones being somewhat of a progressive equal ops employer in the 1960’s.
Yes Eric I can vouch that you are quite correct in what you say. When BT was privatised in 1984 I had already 20 years service. I may well have been a "youth in training” under your guidance!Pedrocut, but that was BT, who had a completely different attitude to PO Telephones, which was why I reluctantly took early retirement. Eric