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Old 21st Sep 2019, 2:36 pm   #12
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Flintshire, UK.
Posts: 619
Default Re: GPO Bakelite Phones - the end?

Originally Posted by Richard_FM View Post
Originally Posted by Pellseinydd View Post
Originally Posted by Test Desk View Post
I was apprenticed to the GPO in 1967 and after training, became a T2A on subs app and line maintenance.
All the bakelite phones I encountered were black and it was only when we got a colour television in the late seventies that I discovered the 200 type phones came in a range of colours!
So I'm wondering if (at some point in the phasing out process) only the black 200s were sent to wipe-up and people with posh coloured bakelite phones were offered 700 types as replacements if beyond repair due to damage?
This might explain my experience.
By the mid 1960's, only the black Bakelite phones were still available for issue and then some versions such as a Tele232 mounted 'atop' a Bellset 26 weren't to be issued. However stocks of 'pillar' phones (better known as 'candlestick' phones) were still available to replace faulty ones (according to the Telephone Service Instructions of 1965 !). Both the 200 and 300 series came in Ivory, Red and Green and in the early days a mottles brown Bakelite colour known as 'Walnut' was also available but didn't last for long. Also available in painted Gold and Silver for a period Subscribers (as they were until PMG Ernest Marples changed them to be referred to as 'Customers' circa 1958/59) could also have a 200 type painted (at their expense) to any colour so long as they undertook to cover the cost of reverting it to its original colour when they cased to have the phone. A 'Modern' phone (colour didn't come into it) would be used to replace a Bakelite but sometimes it was chargeable as a 'Modern' phone but not under other circumstances. Quite complex working out exactly what the circumstances were! However as I looked after the system on MOD premises (another Government department), I just ordered what I wanted. Senior officers usually had coloured Bakelite ones from before the days of the 700 series but if a new senior officer wanted a different colour, I usually ordered a 700 type of the appropriate colour. Still got several unused coloured Bakelite 300 types in their boxes in my Moggie van!
That's almost worthy of a flow chart!

I've heard of phones being painted to another colour but didn't realise they were charged for removing the paint!

In the Second World War scrambler phones were black with green handsets, were any still around on MOD premises when you worked for them?
Yes. We had a number of them - tended to be the version where several shared a single Privacy Set except for the higher ranking officers (Brigadiers, Major Generals and the GOC-in-C (a Lieutenant General). None of our handsets were painted green as some say(claim?)- they were green tele 164s with a green handset cord. Even had a portable Privacy Set with a couple of telephones for use when Royalty was in our part of the world. Now to be found on display at the 'Secret Bunker' near Nantwich Also looked after the cypher equipment which was not GPO kit but as we were 'on site' and available for callout we covered it. Although I was a GPO Technical Officer, I could sometime be found at work in the uniform of an Army officer wearing the badges of the Royal Signals - I had 'two hats'!

Re the painted coloured phones - the 'paint removal' fee only applied where the colour was painted to the subscriber's wishes. The gold and silver ones didn't attract the fee!

Must away, trying to find a Ring & Tones relay set for a PABX I want to get rid of. Buried somewhere at the back of the 'Stores'
Pellseinydd is online now