This web site is to remember Post Office and BT services and people who provided these services from the 1950's to the 1980's


Some personal memories and a historical moment - The First Telemessage -

These memories are with thanks to Gary Reynolds :-


  I have had a look at your website and it brings back some memories of when I worked in Electra House as a 16 year old straight from school as an OTO2 and then an OTO1 from 1974 - 1982.

I have fond memories of the building and especially the people and was sad to leave that part of BT as the telegram service was downsizing partly due to the emergence of the Telemessage. Incidentally you may like to know I was the first person to send a Telemessage circa 1982. A team of engineers set up a small area just outside the details office on the 4th floor at EH. Myself and Dick Lyon were rostered in at 8 o'clock that day and sat down with our headphones on and the VDU in front of us. We waited about 10 minutes then Dick got the first call but it was a wrong number. The next call came in about 5 minutes later and I picked it up a bit nervously. The customer gave his details and the content of the message that he wanted sent. I went through the spiel of do you want LT GLT or Urgent rate I think and duly entered all of the information on to this strange black screen with green text. pressed the button and that was it. No ceremony just an electronic beep and the message had gone!

We think nothing of sending messages instantaneously these days but back then before the Telemessage it was a bit more involved. A call was received in the phone room and typed on an old imperial typewriter onto a pre-printed form with a carbon back. One copy for forwarding and one for billing. It went down a conveyor onto another conveyer then it was scrutinised by someone who then passed it to someone else who would put it in a rack. The message was then taken down and typed up again onto 5 unit tape and then sent to a mainframe computer before this was sent electronically to be deciphered in some far flung country, converted back to paper, stuck in an envelope and delivered by a man on a bike. Could be up to 8 people involved to get a message from one person to another. The message in EH was then filed in bundles of 100 then tied and 'bodgered?' together and put in a sack and taken to another building to be stored for a number of years. Nowadays you can get millions of messages on just one hard disk!! How times have changed.

Well done in putting the website together it is excellent.



[Home] [A Tribute to Jeff] [Memory Lane] [EHRCA History] [John Reeve] [Clive Clifton] [Gary Reynolds] [Rodger Bean] [Electra House Old & New] [Control Room] [MRC] [St Botolphs] [Brent ITLMS] [Fleet Building] [International Data Centre] [TRC] [COI] [News and Views] [EH Retired Colleagues Assoc.] [Links & Contacts] [Impressum]