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The resilient network

Fall-out protection blocks, pictured in the basement of a telephone exchange somewhere in England...

Cold Warriors (1956) : protecting against a nuclear attack

The communications network was important in fighting the Cold War, with key sections of infrastructure subtly influenced by the chance that Britain might one day be at war against the Soviet Union.

The Post Office provided communications to the bunkers and nuclear defence command and control shelters across the country, with considerable thought being given to keeping the public networks that they relied on open during a war.

Emergency switchboards were established in the basement of all main telephone exchanges, surrounded by concrete blocks for extra protection against radiation.

Every exchange had an early warning system installed, so that the supervisor could make any necessary preparations before bombs or missiles landed.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...