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Midland Red
Cherwell
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1 of 46  Thu 23rd Jun 2011 9:17am  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4927

Dutchman asked "Have long been curious, whereabouts was the telephone exchange before it moved to its present location?" I've got in mind Trinity Street, somewhere higher up from Mills & Mills and Maypole There were other local exchanges too : Greyfriars, Keresley, Tile Hill, Walsgrave-on-Sowe, Toll Bar The Toll Bar building is, I think, still on London Road Don't know where the others were/are
Telephone Exchanges
dutchman
Spon End
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2 of 46  Thu 23rd Jun 2011 1:49pm  
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Cheers MR We know that Trinity Buildings lost a storey or two during the Blitz. Also that all calls to the Fire Station went dead one hour after the raid began. We can assume that was when the central exchange was knocked out.
Telephone Exchanges
Greg
Coventry
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3 of 46  Thu 23rd Jun 2011 4:37pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2011  Total posts:256

The previous exchange was in the GPO building in Hertford Street and the access to it was in Greyfriars Lane. It continued to function in tandem with the new exchange until at least the 60`s.
Telephone Exchanges
dutchman
Spon End
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4 of 46  Thu 23rd Jun 2011 5:44pm  
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Thanks Greg That might explain why the Army went to extreme lengths to protect the Post Office building? They allegedly blew up the nearby Queen's Hotel to prevent fire spreading up that side of the street. The Post Office building still lost its top floor though as can be seen from photographs of the period. On a side note we didn't even have a phone (in England) till we moved to Gosford Street in 1960 and that was only because a phone was already installed there. Friends we left behind in Bond Street had to make do with a single line shared between neighbouring properties.
Telephone Exchanges
TonyS
Coventry
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5 of 46  Thu 23rd Jun 2011 6:31pm  
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Whilst on the subject of "Exchanges" - where was Greyfriars based, and what specific area did it cover? Our number used to be Greyfriars 127 - which later became served from the Earlsdon exchange and was given a prefix of "72"
Telephone Exchanges
dutchman
Spon End
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6 of 46  Thu 23rd Jun 2011 8:00pm  
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Crikey! How far back was that? Oh my I suspect the Greyfriars exchange was the one housed in the Greyfriars Lane sorting office? It was still in use in 1974 when James McDade blew himself up while trying to plant a bomb there. Thought I knew Earlsdon pretty well but can't imagine where their exchange would be? Came across this entry in Hansard which may be of interest:
Telephone Service, Coventry HC Deb 16 June 1948 vol 452 c48W 48W Mr. Edelman* asked the Postmaster-General (1) whether he is aware that the number of telephone lines available on the Coventry telephone exchange is inadequate for the requirements of the city, and will not provide the services necessary for the population and industries anticipated under the city's development plan; and what steps he is taking to overcome this shortage; (2) when he proposes to build a new telephone exchange for Coventry. Mr. Wilfred Paling: "The resources of the Post Office in manpower and plant are severely restricted to meet the needs of the national export drive and I regret that Coventry, in common with other towns, cannot be provided for some considerable time with all the telephones it needs. A new telephone exchange is planned for Coventry but the site bought for this purpose is now required for the city's replanning and a new one will have to be obtained. Erection of the necessary building, and manufacture, installation and testing of the equipment, will take a number of years. In the meantime, the needs of industry and other essential users in Coventry will be met by two small new exchanges to be opened this year, and by an extension of the main exchange to its maximum capacity which I hope will be completed during 1950."
*Mr Maurice Edelman was MP for Coventry at the time.
Telephone Exchanges
Greg
Coventry
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7 of 46  Thu 23rd Jun 2011 9:58pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2011  Total posts:256

The exhange in the GPO was Greyfriars exchange. James McDade blew himself up trying to plant a bomb in the passageway at the town end of Central exchange in Little Park Street and his colleague (whose name escapes me) was chased and caught by regulars from the Penny Black. I remember hearing the dull thud from our garden 5 miles away at about 10pm. At least two of the cities` local exchanges superceded by new buildings in the 60`s/70`s were Foleshill exchange in Fisher Road which has has since been used as a Temple and Highway exchange on the A45, just north of the Green Lane junction which is now a private house. I was interested in the article quoted by Dutchman as it explains why, during the 50`s/60`s it was not unusual to have to wait at least a year for a telephone and, even then, it was probably a party line. This was no doubt due to wartime damage to the telephone network.
Telephone Exchanges
PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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8 of 46  Mon 4th Jul 2011 9:59am  
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My mum & dad's phone (Sewall Highway) was Greyfriars 159 (later 759). It was a party line with a neighbour, Mr. Ball. The phone did not have a dial. You picked up the handset and waited for "Number please". My sister-in-law worked at the Greyfriars exchange. She is ten years older than me, but don't tell anyone that I said that, as she is the best sister-in-law that I could ever have wished for.
Telephone Exchanges
TonyS
Coventry
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9 of 46  Mon 4th Jul 2011 4:52pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2011  Total posts:1553

You softy! (I was going to say "old softy" but thought better of it!) Wink The Greyfriars 127 line that we had (not far from the Canon Park Tesco's) was not a party line, my parents had it all to themselves. However, after I was married, and we lived on the Stonehouse Estate, our first phone there was also a party line. I remember we shared our line with a chap living a few doors away - who used his for business! You lifted the receiver and listened. If you didn't hear anyone speaking you pressed the button on top of the phone which produced a dialing tone and you were free to make your call. It was so frustrating as most times that we needed to use the phone - he was already talking. What was really annoying was when you were in the middle of a conversation and you would hear the other handset being lifted (a feint click in the background). If you heard another "click" you would know they had put their receiver down, if not, they were being b****y nosey and listening-in to your conversation! When we got really fed up with the line being in use we would just keep picking up the phone and dropping it down again. You could almost hear the steam coming out of the other chaps ears Lol
Telephone Exchanges
DBC
Nottinghamshire
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10 of 46  Mon 4th Jul 2011 7:54pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:169

Those party lines used a "third wire" to ensure that the correct phone rang when called. This wire was actually a small metal rod usually buried in the front garden. The first phone used one "leg" of the telephone pair plus this earth wire, and the second phone used the other leg plus the earth wire. Sometimes this failed to work, and the usual cause was the ground drying out and the rod not making proper contact with the soil. To get round this you were urged to water the soil round the earth wire.
Telephone Exchanges
Midland Red
Cherwell
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Thread starter
11 of 46  Mon 4th Jul 2011 8:47pm  
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Blimey! I'd forgotten party lines! Re Greyfriars, we had friends in Coundon on a Greyfriars number
Telephone Exchanges
PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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12 of 46  Mon 4th Jul 2011 8:49pm  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:4008

TonyS said:
PhilipInCoventry said: ....as she is the best sister-in-law that I could ever have wished for.
You softy! (I was going to say "old softy" but thought better of it!) Wink
Make no mistake, I am old & a softy. The first receiver that we had with a dial had the sprung knob at the top, but within weeks of having it, our number was changed to a Coventry no. & the party line came to an end.
Telephone Exchanges
dutchman
Spon End
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13 of 46  Sun 10th Jul 2011 11:55pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3000

Just to put the cat among the pigeons, there is an entry in a 1905 directory for Theatre Yard, 17-18 Smithford Street for the "National Telephone Company Exchange"! The 1905 map also includes the location of several of what it call "private telephone boxes". My understanding up till now has been that the G.P.O. enjoyed a total monopoly of the telephone service in the UK (except for the City of Hull).
Telephone Exchanges
TonyS
Coventry
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14 of 46  Mon 11th Jul 2011 4:54pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2011  Total posts:1553

Go on then, I'll ask...... What was special about Hull? (didn't they have any telephones? Smile )
Telephone Exchanges
dutchman
Spon End
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15 of 46  Mon 11th Jul 2011 6:15pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3000

Hull was never a part of the G.P.O. phone system. An ancient royal charter gave the city council unique powers to run all communications within the city. It has since been privatised and today it is known as "Kingston Communications". I only mentioned it in case someone picked me up on the fact! Lol
Telephone Exchanges

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