Enfield Exchange project

Enfield Exchange in Dugdale Centre, Enfield

How many phone numbers do you remember? Probably not many. Personally, since I started to use a mobile phone in my teens I rarely remember numbers. I just have to remember names or the name I’ve allocated a particular number (did I save my local hairdressers number under ‘hairdressers’ or its business name?). Our phones are becoming so intelligent that soon I don’t think I’ll even have to remember these small details, I’ll just take it out of my pocket and say I want a haircut and it’ll probably phone and make an appointment for me.

I digress, my main point is that in a short amount of time technology has developed to an astounding degree and though it is easy to forget, numbers are still a central part of this. Nothing can make this point more obvious than a large section of a manual telephone exchange. Manual telephone exchanges provided the friendly voice that introduced many to a telephone. They provided an immediate voice when a subscriber picked up the phone and helpfully asked ‘Number Please?’ ready and willing to connect your call to the number you required.

Recently a piece of Enfield’s telecommunications history, a section of the manual exchange, has returned in the hope of sparking memories and connecting those memories with one of the county’s largest depositories of the history of science, the Science Museum. This exchange was the last manual exchange in Greater London and was taken out in the 1960s. So there are people still alive who manually connected calls and could be using phone you don’t even have to touch to make a call.

It’s return is part of a Science Museum led project that is being hosted by the Enfield Museum service and hopes to find stories related to the old Enfield manual exchange. Through events, a website and a facebook page they want to those local stories to come alive – have a look and pass on the details to anyone you think would be interested, or just pop down to the Dugdale Centre and see the exchange for yourself.

Enfield Exchange project webiste: http://enfieldexchange.org.uk/

Enfield Exchange Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Enfield-Exchange/307731015977708?ref=tn_tnmn

Enfield Museum Service: http://www.enfield.gov.uk/museum


One Response to Enfield Exchange project

  1. Pingback: Enfield Exchange has been blogged about… | Enfield Exchange

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