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Selling the network
For more than 20 years, between the 1940s and 1960s, the Post Office was substantially restrained from promoting the telephone network. During this time it never tried very hard to sell the telephone service to new users.

There was a good reason for that. The truth was there weren't enough lines to go around and more people wanted a telephone than the GPO could supply. It was only once the supply problems had finally been addressed in the sixties and seventies that the telephone network could be sold aggressively again.
1930s - finding new users
During the years after the First World War, the telephone ceased to be a status symbol of the very rich. It reached out to include a new breed of users - Britain's middle classes - and was increasingly found in ordinary homes - becoming part of everyday life in towns, suburbs and rural villages all over the country.
The work of the GPO film unit
Before creativity was entrusted to advertising agencies, ideas were originated and derived in-house by gifted people working for the Post Office.

A particular hotbed of creative energy was the GPO Film Unit, one of the most remarkable creative institutions that Britain ever produced. The unit incorporated the contributions of acknowledged film-making and literary giants.
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...