Skip to main content
   

At least four generations in telecommunications

When I was a child my mother used to talk about her grandfather, who had worked on some sort of telecommunications on Rathlin Island. She actually used the word 'telephonics'. Until I started to work on my family tree 50 years later it hadn't dawned on me that each succeeding generation of my family was associated with telecommunications. My great grandfather, Frederick Stelges was indeed a 'telegraph mechanic' in Belfast. He came there in the late 1860's from London. His father, first listed as a watchmaker later became a maker of telegraph instruments as did one of his uncles. At least one of his sons followed him into the trade. That son's death certificate listed his profession as 'post office wireman'. His grandmother, my mother married Dan Fitzpatrick who after service in the Royal Navy during WW2, became a telephone operator in Telephone House Belfast. My sister Gerry also worked there in the late sixties/early seventies and I myself worked in the Telephone Manager's Office, at Churchill House, Belfast. My eldest son Hugh went through Aston University as a BT sponsored student of electronic systems engineering and worked for several years as such. I wonder if any of my grandchildren will continue the tradition.

Engineer at work, Reading Switching Centre, 1964

Picture location: No picture supplied with story. Picture added by Connected Earth
Date: Pre 1870-1990's
Sent by: Mrs Bridie Murphy
Category: Advertising, demonstration, promotion and items with personal associations

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...