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peterwarr

First Automatic Telephone Exchange

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Hello Stuart, I remember you now. I don't rememember seeing all that often though. I suppose that's because you were on the 24 hour rota. I remember Pete jones quite well. I particularly remember that very soft voice of his which nevertheless was clearly audible from the other end of the office. I imagine everybody who worked in that office has now retired.

I should imagine they have all retired by now, I always considered mysely at the younger end, and now I am the wrong side of 55 :)

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I joined the PO Telephones in 1979 as a TT(A) in Local Auto (with Frank Nortcliffe), then T2A in Junction Tandem (with Les Atkin), followed by a couple of years at Broomhill ATE (with wee pipe Campos). I left to go to Sheffield University in 1985 when I thought that manning levels might decrease with widespread computerised telehone equipment.

Dave Milner's flickr account has lots of photos of telephone equipment/buildings/people here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sheffdave/sets/?&page=4

The link should be http://www.flickr.com/photos/sheffdave/collections/72157607505969472/ for just the BT pictures.

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It is amazing the things that happened after I left the GPO as it was then. I find myself feeling very old reading about your exploits. I worked in all the old Seimens 16 Exchanges that have been mentioned here as I was a Pool TO with a little Morris 1000 van and you would see me in Stocksbridge and Outibridge one week and the Hope Valley the next. Broomhil, Beauchief and Woodseats were my favorites as there were real characters working there and you were guaranteed a game of cards at lunch time.

I was a Jack of all Trades and covered everything from UAX, PBX and Exchange maintenance and that was why I was so popular with powers that be as I was willing and able to go out to all the remote places even in the coldest of winters. Great times.

The TO in charge at Intake was a cantankerous old bugger but I always seemed to get on with him, sorry but I have forgotten his name. What spoiled it for me was the wildcat strike that was held in 1967/8. There was no reason for it except the egos of the Union who wanted to flex their muscles. Stupid, it caused a lot of ill feeling and dissent. .

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It is amazing the things that happened after I left the GPO as it was then. I find myself feeling very old reading about your exploits. I worked in all the old Seimens 16 Exchanges that have been mentioned here as I was a Pool TO with a little Morris 1000 van and you would see me in Stocksbridge and Outibridge one week and the Hope Valley the next. Broomhil, Beauchief and Woodseats were my favorites as there were real characters working there and you were guaranteed a game of cards at lunch time.

I was a Jack of all Trades and covered everything from UAX, PBX and Exchange maintenance and that was why I was so popular with powers that be as I was willing and able to go out to all the remote places even in the coldest of winters. Great times.

The TO in charge at Intake was a cantankerous old bugger but I always seemed to get on with him, sorry but I have forgotten his name. What spoiled it for me was the wildcat strike that was held in 1967/8. There was no reason for it except the egos of the Union who wanted to flex their muscles. Stupid, it caused a lot of ill feeling and dissent. .

Ian

I will PM you a name of who I think the cantankerous TO at Intake maybe :)

Yes we were out on strike for 4 weeks in 1987, don't think we achieved anything usefull

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I will PM you a name of who I think the cantankerous TO at Intake maybe :)

I hope it isn't my name!!!!

I've been called some things in my time.

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I hope it isn't my name!!!!

I've been called some things in my time.

I'll ask MrsH to name a cantankerous bloke from Intake, see what she comes up with lol

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I'll ask MrsH to name a cantankerous bloke from Intake, see what she comes up with lol

Well she would say me wouldn't she!

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Ian

I will PM you a name of who I think the cantankerous TO at Intake maybe :)

Yes we were out on strike for 4 weeks in 1987, don't think we achieved anything usefull

Hi Stuart,

There was also a one days strike in either 67 or 68 which also achieved less than sweet fanny adams but alienated a vast majority of the population..

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There was a 1-day strike in the summer of 1969. I remember going to a union meeting at the Grand Hotel just before the strike. I can't remember what the strike was about but it occurred just before we ceased to be part of the Civil Service & became a public corporation.

Incidentally,I know the name of the cantankerous bloke at Intake. His catchphrase was "this is MY exchange".

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Incidentally,I know the name of the cantankerous bloke at Intake. His catchphrase was "this is MY exchange".

Thats the one, I had the dubious pleasure of working with the guy

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Thats the one, I had the dubious pleasure of working with the guy

It's not me then Stuart, - only exchange I have ever owned was a copy of Exchange & Mart ;-)

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There was a 1-day strike in the summer of 1969. I remember going to a union meeting at the Grand Hotel just before the strike. I can't remember what the strike was about but it occurred just before we ceased to be part of the Civil Service & became a public corporation.

Incidentally,I know the name of the cantankerous bloke at Intake. His catchphrase was "this is MY exchange".

You are so right as far as the "my exchange". It could have been pride, I will give him that, because the place was always immaculate. Mind you you, even though the cleaner, Fred? was a bit of a rascal himself, it was also his exchange and he made sure it was immaculate!.

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Does anyone remember Cyril Taylor? He was I/C of Training when I joined in 1963. A gentleman and his parents lived up the road from me in Firth Park.

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I only met him once in the early 1970s at Sharrow exchange (what a load of **** that place was). I'm not sure why he was there, maybe he was acting for Joe Bunts. He seemed a decent bloke if a little intense. He was still in some sort of training role in the early 1980s when he interviewed one of my colleagues who wanted to go to university.

When I joined in 1965, Wally Linskill was I/C training, but it was Mrs Dyson who really ran the show.

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I must admit I lost interest in him after I had "come out of my time". It was just a name that I remembered from my dim and distant past. The really sad thing was the number of disgruntled ex-GPO people I met in my first few years over here, The seemingly endless litany was that it just was not the same over there and that was the reason that they left. In Sheffield alone I know of at least seven Engineers that emigrated in 1969 to all points of the Globe, please don't ask me to name them but I must admit, a lot went back to Sheffield except the ones that came here. Australia was a popular place but they soon went back; too many Australians lived there!! When I think of it, I don't think there was any Exchange in Sheffield and its environs that I didn't work. One of the jobs I was given was chasing faults after they put in CFDE in the Exchanges, That was interesting, because you came into telephone conact with so many different people. After a while, when a particular Exchange was identified as a bad point of call fails, then I had to go and investigate which normally meant doing maintenance that the normal staff had "forgotten to do?? Sometimes boring but great satisfaction when the call fails through that Exchange dropped to nearly zero.

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Did you spend much time at Sharrow ATE? I was there from 1971 to 1974. There was an ongoing problem with CCBs being held up to LEV 1 junctions. When we came in the morning there were often a dozen or more CCBs held up to the same LEV 1 junction. We could never replicate the fault; in fact the fault made no sense as far as we could see. I did meet a TO some years later who claimed to have sorted the problem, but funnily enough he could not tell me how he had done it.

I too worked in all the Sheffield satellites apart from Beauchief & Woodseats.

By the way I found a newspaper article which backs up my recollection about the 1-day strike. The strike took place in early July 1969. GPO telephones became a public corporation in October 1969, not immediately after the strike as I stated.

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Funnily enough, I didn't get there very often. But from what I remember it was a miserable place. Owlerton was my favourite as we played cricket with a tennis ball soaked in wax as it used to get torn up on the tarmac. It was always light and airy, not like some of the "dungeons" that you had to work in, Funny story about the place was that it was "raided" by the police on one occasion as a man was "playing with Himself" on the roof! It turned out that a maintenance painter was painting the temporary Building on the roof and a woman in flats nearby saw him and called the police, Red faces all round!

I will give you June "69 as I left in November '69 and it really Peed me off that we went on strike for no logical reason except to prove that the Union were strong. Turns my stomach still after all these years

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Hi. 

I’ve spent quite a bit of the last eight years in the local exchanges working as a maintenance contractor and I’m fascinated by them. 

I love Eldon and enjoy working there. There’s one guy there who I’ve been told knows everything about the place and I’d love to have a natter with him but he’s always busy and I don’t really like to ask...things like the old abandoned entrance on Milton St or the room which was removed from the roof of Charter Row (I heard it referred to as the Penthouse.??) 

Once went in to one room and noticed a football, some old clothes and a saxophone in the corner....a couple of month later I’m back there wandering from Milton st round on to Trafalgar to look at a fault and there’s some in the end room practicing the sax...could have stood for ages listening but I had a faulty fire alarm to fettle. 

I currently look after Ranmoor, Broomhill, Eldon, and the Centre next door, Parkway TEC, Attercliffe, Tinsley, Intake, Halfway, Rotherham Westgate/Chantry (Always wonder why it has two names), Rotherham North, Doncaster North, Doncaster Priory, Scunthorpe Churchlands, Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

Used to look after Telephone House, Chesterfield, Worksop and Retford and have been to call outs in a million other sites from Mother ships like Derby Colliyear St to sheds in fields. 

Theres a sadness in some of them with all the abandoned kit that must have been so busy at one time, but it now sits idle. Some of the rooms still have people’s odds and ends in.... it looks like they’ve just got up and walked out. 

Although I don’t work for BT I’ve met some great people there.  

 

 

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