Monthly Archives: July 2022

Lost Rivers Of London

There are a few special dial faces that I want to show this time. Those are specifically from the UK. Prior to 1980 the British General Post Office was state owned and the sole supplier of public fixed lines in the UK.

In the pictures above you can see 2 examples of typical Post Office Ericofon dial faces that I have in my collection. Both phones are marked as Post Office Property. In these years you could see this in a lot of countries. A monopolist providing rental equipment. It is not yours, and this is how they make that clear to you. Every time you use the phone…

After 1980 British Telecom was introduced as a organization, replacing the ‘good old’ GPO. In 1982 the monopoly of providing telecoms services was broken and multiple suppliers were allowed. Mercury Communications was the first one to compete with BT.

So as of 1982 the situation changed and a more customer focused approach was needed to be able to compete. The dial face above is not as fancy as in the old days but it for sure has a different tone. ‘Supplied by’ instead of ‘owned by’. Actually the dial face is a standard one, no dedicated printing on the base anymore. I guess the days of infinite money supplies were over.

From my experience in the telecoms sector in The Netherlands, a similar process was taking place. A state owned company became private, competition came in and suddenly there was a more friendly approach to customers. Guess it happened in more countries in that period.