Telegraph poles strung with telephone wires along a railway in the 1940s and 1950s before
the lines went underground. Detail from an old painting.
When I was a child, the wires connecting telephones to the exchange were
not buried underground. It was quite normal to see roads and railways lined
with them, which may have been why they were known as telephone 'lines'. They were carried up high, strung between poles known as telegraph poles.
Engineer climbing a telegraph pole with special grips on his legs. Detail from a picture in Milton Keynes Telephone Museum.
Detail of telephone lines.
It was almost hypnotic to look out of the windows of
trains and fix one's eyes on the
telephone wires. The train windows
were very much narrower than those of later trains, so it was rather like viewing
through a slit - albeit a wide one. So the telephone wires seemed to go up and down as the train moved from the high points of the poles
to the sagging points mid-way between.
Station platform showing telegraph wires along railway lines. Photographed along the Swanage Heritage Railway.
Telephone wires running along the side of a road. Screenshot from an old film.
If you can add anything to this page, I would be pleased to hear from you.
This website Join me in the 1900s is
a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain
from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and
illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times.