Yorkshire Pudding's fascinating foray into the world of telecommunications. A three part series.
In the year before I was born, my parents had a new telephone installed in the village school house where we lived. It was a black bakelite phone and it sat on the window sill of our bay window looking almost identical to the telephone pictured above.
If the phone ever rang, we would pick up the receiver and say "Leven 272" for that was our number though why we had to begin any telephone conversation with this information remains a mystery to me.
In days before telephone codes we could directly phone anybody in our village who was also lucky enough to have a telephone but if we wished to phone say London or Hull we had to go through the operator. You reached her by dialling the "0" button and she would say, "Operator. Which number do you require?"
We moved from the school house when I was seventeen. My parents had only rented it and we went to live in a bungalow on one of the new housing estates that had sprung up in the village during the sixties. The same old black telephone was left sitting on the window sill and as far as I know it is still sitting there to this very day.
Just as an aside here, I recall that when my football team were playing away matches or mid-week matches I couldn't get to, I would phone up the Hull City Score Service during the course of the match to receive score updates. And when I think of it I would also phone up a "Star Disc" service to listen to newly released pop singles. Well, I think it was called "Star Disc" or did I just make that name up? It was via "Star Disc" that I first heard "Albatross" and "Hurdy Gurdy Man" in 1968.
By 1971 the use of area dialling codes had made telephone exchanges and operator services largely redundant. In the new house we had a cream plastic telephone installed and preceding our old number (272) an area code had now been added.
My father died of heart failure in 1979 and my mother moved out of the estate house in 1982 to a smaller estate house in the same village. She left the cream telephone behind but had got eleven years use out of it. It was identical to this one:-