From our archives: The evolution of the telephone in our local area

2. Telex machines began to be introduced in the 1960s, combining, according to a GPO brochure, “the

2. Telex machines began to be introduced in the 1960s, combining, according to a GPO brochure, “the speed of the telephone with the authority of the printed word”. In 1962 The Post Office demonstrated their new machine in a bus at the rear of the telephone manager’s office in St Giles, Norwich - Credit: Archant

A bracing wind of change was sweeping through the communications system in the early 1950s – modernisation was the watchword and telephone exchanges were being progressively updated.

1.Hethersett Telephone Exchange received the last call on its manual system in June 1952. Our photo shows Mrs E M Hambling, caretaker operator, taking the call watched by Miss E R Beck, travelling telephone supervisor.

2. Telex machines began to be introduced in the 1960s, combining, according to a GPO brochure, 'the speed of the telephone with the authority of the printed word'. In 1962 The Post Office demonstrated their new machine in a bus at the rear of the telephone manager's office in St Giles, Norwich.

3. Cromer where prospective MP Ralph Howell visited the town's exchange in 1967.

4. Quidenham's old exchange was automated in August 1952: our photo is of one of the last calls being put through on the manual system.


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5. In September the scene shifts to Cromer telephone exchange, where up-to-date equipment had just been installed.

6. The main Norwich exchange at St. Andrew's was kept busy over Christmas 1966 with 136 day-shift operators coping with the festive rush.

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7. By the 1960s telephone exchanges were looking efficient and modern, as this picture taken at Eaton Exchange in 1960 demonstrates.

8. Fakenham telephone exchange where an open day was being held. The exchange had opened in 1944 and finally closed in 1983.

9. Norwich was the first exchange to be 'exchanged' and our first photo shows the new technology in place in March 1952.

10. By 1963, the switchboard at Eastern Counties Newspapers' offices in Redwell Street (now Archant, publisher of the EDP) was looking 'hi-tech' and business-like.

Click the link at the top right of the story to view the gallery

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