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Old 12th May 2020, 9:22 pm   #1
Sparks
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Default GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

With the likes of the table telephones 706 and 746, the line cord was terminated in an appropriately coloured junction box which in turn was connected to the drop wire. But, to the likes of clueless me, the wallphone had no obvious connection to the outside world. How was it done and how did the GPO technicians proceed when they were doing a new installation ?

Many thanks.
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Old 12th May 2020, 9:54 pm   #2
Pellseinydd
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

The cable was terminated in the telephone. There was no 'line cord'. See N811 or N841 where it refers to 'cable 4 wire' - not a 'cord'.
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Old 12th May 2020, 10:10 pm   #3
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

Thankyou Pell. Obviously having no visible cables would have made for a tidier installation but also bringing a lack of flexibility if a table phone was required at a later date, dealing with defective cables buried behind walls and under floorboards etc.
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Old 12th May 2020, 10:48 pm   #4
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

It's probably fair to say that the vast majority of installations by GPO engineers had cabling clipped to the surface of walls and woodwork.

The reason the socket in the picture below is so high on the wall, is because it was originally the site of a 711 wall mounted phone. I remember chipping a groove in the plaster to hide the cable.
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Old 13th May 2020, 8:00 am   #5
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

I expect it was easier to deal with the wallphone question in new-build properties. Just route a length of cable from a suitable point at an outside wall to a kitchen wall (where many domestic wallphones were installed) and cover it with plaster and woodchip! Then let the GPO join the dots, as it were.
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Old 13th May 2020, 10:26 am   #6
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

Here in Norway the telephone man came and fixed the cable on the wall in your house where and how he found it OK. If that was not OK for you, you did not get a phone line .

The oldest was a twisted wire on porcelain insulators, later plastic cable on the wall.

From 1970-ish it was pretty often laid in the wall to one single outlet in the apartment, and that is where you got it.

After deregulation in the 1980-ies you were allowed to put up your own wires inside the house.

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Old 13th May 2020, 12:54 pm   #7
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

Anecdotally, the GPO engineer would install the phone in the easiest place for him, which was often a drafty hallway rather than a cosy living room. When I was a child the hall was the normal place to see a phone, perhaps we just expected it to be there, and it was almost decadent to expect it in a more convenient place.

Hyacinth Bucket's "Slim line telephone with last number redial" was in the hall.
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Old 13th May 2020, 1:18 pm   #8
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

Good old engineers, doing it there way. I shall shortly have three upside-down GPO phones next to each other on my living room wall. It's not possible to bury the line cords in the wall so I'm going to plait them together! Red, ivory and green should look better than three separate cords hanging down (hope so anyways).
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Old 13th May 2020, 5:51 pm   #9
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

Chasing in cables and redecorating would play havoc with Engineers time sheets.
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Old 13th May 2020, 6:57 pm   #10
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

Undoubtedly. Somebody must have found the time though. Maybe this is why wallphones only came in three dull colours (apart from the specials) - not enough demand because of the extra work involved.
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Old 13th May 2020, 7:06 pm   #11
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

Here's one in our house I installed in about 1990. I chased-out the wall when I re-wired. It's quite high up, so when this young lady arrived in 2012, she had to stand on a kitchen stool to use it initially.
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Old 13th May 2020, 7:07 pm   #12
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

And this picture shows the oval hole where the cable enters, about a quarter of the way up on the very left side.
https://www.britishtelephones.com/gp...es/t711_01.jpg
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Old 13th May 2020, 8:14 pm   #13
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo1152 View Post
Anecdotally, the GPO engineer would install the phone in the easiest place for him, which was often a drafty hallway rather than a cosy living room. When I was a child the hall was the normal place to see a phone, perhaps we just expected it to be there, and it was almost decadent to expect it in a more convenient place.
If you only had one phone (extensions cost extra) then the hall was the most convenient place where the bell could be heard all over the house (as could whatever was being said).

You weren't expected to spend a long time nattering and running up the bill, but if you were sufficiently affluent you could purchase a telephone table with a velour padded seat and a drawer for the directory.

https://www.thehoarde.com/dealers/j-...rniture-jkb010

For the smaller hall not only has a pull-out seat but also a pull-out memory board for useful numbers.

A slightly more upmarket house I lived in had a Bell Set in the hall, and a Telephone (probably originally a candlestick or 232, since replaced) in the Dining Room next to the Hatch, probably so that the householder could use the phone in the Dining Room or the maidservant could open the hatch and answer the telephone from the kitchen. Still had twin bare drop wires to insulators too
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Old 13th May 2020, 9:16 pm   #14
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

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Originally Posted by Nickthedentist View Post
And this picture shows the oval hole where the cable enters, about a quarter of the way up on the very left side.
https://www.britishtelephones.com/gp...es/t711_01.jpg
The 'hole part way up on the plastic based telephones was originally used for the multiway lead from the newly introduced Planset 625.
I remember seeing the first Tele 706 in the Chester Telephone Area being unwrapped in the Fitters Room in Chester at the end of 1959. Not long afterwards in 1960, the Planset N625 arrived. The Post Office Telecommunications Journal - Summer Edition of 1960 - has an article on the modernisation of telephone instruments and mentions that the GPO will shortly being 'field trialling' a wall version of the Tele 706 but the final version would be two or three years off. This 'field trial' version known as the 1/706 appeared in 1961. The cable entered through a 'grommet' (as per the line cord but with hole through middle) fitted where the line cord would have been fitted. The Tele 1/706 was basically an upside down Tele 706 that hung on a two part wall bracket (not like the 'Tee' shaped used with the later Teles 711/741) - the dial and outer lettered dial ring were turned through 180 degrees and the two case retaining clips were replaced by a chromium plated metal handset bracket. The 1/706 didn't last long as the Tele 711 replaced it in 1962.
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Old 13th May 2020, 9:31 pm   #15
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

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Originally Posted by Sparks View Post
.... dealing with defective cables buried behind walls and under floorboards etc....
As far as I am aware, all cables from the incoming point in the property to the subscriber equipment had to be visible on GPO installations, in order to assist fault finding.
I think the only exception would be Plan 4 (the old plug and socket system) where the subscriber had provided their own back box and internal ducting for installation of a flush mounted socket.

Regards

Andrew
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Old 13th May 2020, 10:27 pm   #16
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

Not quite correct. Looking in the 'Telephone Service Instructions' for the 1960's, the 'customer' (officially they had been 'customers' rather than 'subscribers' since Ernie Bevans -the PMG - made the announcement in the House of Commons in March 1959) could ask for the cables to be concealed but had to bear the extra cost of concealing them. Also building contractors during construction of properties were encouraged to install ducting - at their cost!
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Old 14th May 2020, 6:40 am   #17
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

Quote:
Anecdotally, the GPO engineer would install the phone in the easiest place for him, which was often a drafty hallway rather than a cosy living room. When I was a child the hall was the normal place to see a phone, perhaps we just expected it to be there, and it was almost decadent to expect it in a more convenient place.
in the film 'Here come the Huggets' there is a great sequence of where to put the phone with the engineers always finding fault with each location (too damp, too much cable) ending with 'we'll put it here in the hall where its handy.
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Old 14th May 2020, 8:27 am   #18
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

As well as being easiest for GPO man I think the hallway could have been the most convenient place to make or take calls, if your family or friends were all sat in the lounge talking or watching TV and the phone rang could you ask everyone to go and wait in another room while you were taking the call.
Regards installation when we had our first phone installed nearly 50 years ago we wanted it in the kitchen at the rear of the house, we didn't want wire all along the skirting boards so I asked the GPO man if I drilled a hole in the floor board by the front door and I went under the floor, would he feed the wire through so I could take it along to re-appear in the kitchen, he was quite happy with that, probably easier for him.

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Old 14th May 2020, 10:41 am   #19
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

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Originally Posted by AC/HL View Post
Chasing in cables and redecorating would play havoc with Engineers time sheets.
The customers would have had a choice of repair wallpaper in post office red or post office red.... replaced by yellow in later years.

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Old 14th May 2020, 10:51 am   #20
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Default Re: GPO Wall telephones - how was the line cord installed before plug and socket ?

Quote:
The Tele 1/706 was basically an upside down Tele 706 that hung on a two part wall bracket
When I first saw these as a child, in our local Marks & Spencer, I thought someone was having a joke, before reasoning the metal cradle was obviously purpose made for the job. I've liked wall phones ever since.
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