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Two children have recorded phone calls 'from history' giving first-hand accounts of life in Britain in days gone by; a child in the 1960s whose parents emigrated to Britain from Jamaica, and another calling from the 1950s to talk about the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. These can be played online or downloaded for playback at a later time.

1950s - Penny's story


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Download Penny's audio (701kb) (right click and 'save target as')


Hello, my name is Penny and I'm calling you from my Nan's phone in the year 1953. We don't have a telephone of our own but Nan said I can use her's so long as I don't talk for too long. I'm on holiday from school at the moment. We live in a place called Southend-on-Sea in Essex, and this year has been the most exciting year of my life since I was born ten years ago. I was born during the war but I don't really remember very much about that. The thing I was most excited about though was last month when the new Queen was crowned. Best of all, my family watched it on my Nan's new television set. She is the only person in her street to have a set. It's a 9 inch Marconi, with quite a small picture which looked a bit brown, but it was magical to see the Queen crowned. She's 25, younger than my mum! Lots of people were at my Nan's to watch it and we had sandwiches and lemonade. A week later we all went to the Odeon cinema in the High Street and watched it again, only this time it was in colour! When I grow up I'm going to marry a nice man and have two children - a boy and a girl I hope. My favourite toy is my dolls house, which my Uncle Ted made for me. All the rooms are wall-papered and he made little furniture to go in it too. Although I don't remember the war I'm really glad it's over. I'm really looking forward to the future, just like the new Queen must be. I've enjoyed talking to you but I'd better go. My Nan's pointing at the clock. Bye!

1950s - Patrick's story


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Download Patrick's audio (697kb) (right click and 'save target as')


Hello. My name is Patrick and I'm calling you from the year 1968. I was born in Notting Hill in London in 1958 which makes me ten years old. My mum and dad weren't born in this country though - they came here from Jamaica in the West Indies a few years before they had me. My dad is a bus driver for London Transport. My mum doesn't really work. She says that when they were my age in Jamaica, they were taught at school that Britain was their mother country - and the Queen was their Queen. They learned about British history, so they were excited to come here to live. Sometimes, though, they aren't so happy. Sometimes I think the English people don't really like us because were black. Some people say we're lazy and don't work but that's not true. My dad works really hard on the buses, and my mum works just as hard looking after me and my sisters, and keeping our house looking nice. My best friend John at school, though, he's different. I like him. He says that underneath we're all the same. It really doesn't matter what colour your skin is. When I grow up I want to be an astronaut. Next year the Americans hope to land men on the moon and that's where I want to go when I'm older. My favourite toy is the Spacehopper. It's orange with ears that you hold on to, and you sit on it and bounce around. It's great fun! Well, it's been nice talking to you. Bye for now!

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.

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