Telephone Service History

There was at the time of course, a much stronger relationship between the postal and telephone services. The first public telephone service available in Burton was 1895 when the National Telephone Company rented a shop in New Street. In 1898, the General Post Office opened an exchange for trunk calls, enabling calls to other towns, when it was still in High Street. The first local telephonist, Miss Clifton, transfered to the Post Office at this time but there was not enough work to have her full-time employed for telephones alone so she also worked as telegraph operator – there were after all, only around 150 telephones in Burton! The annual subscription for a telephone service was £3 3s and calls cost 1d each making them too expensive for the vast majority.

The first telephone system installed in Burton aside from the telephone exchange was incidentally, the Fire Station whilst still in Union Street. Although it is not enormously useful to have the only telephone at least their telephone number was easy to remember; it was ‘1’.

The service was moved to the New Street with the GPO. A few years later, the National Telephone Company was absorbed by the GPO and a combined exchange was opened in New Street across the road from the main post office building.

In time, the telephone exchange outgrew the New Street premises and a new large exchange was established in Fleet Street.


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