Information sheets and timelines
We've created a series of downloadable PDF historical information sheets and timelines for you to learn more about some of the familiar - and not so familiar - aspects of BT’s amazing history.
Our phone books collection is possibly the most comprehensive in the world. But how were they made and how did telephone expansion affect their development since the first one was produced in 1880?
This iconic feature of the London skyline has been open since 1965. It's history is fascinating as is its importance to the telecommunications network.
Britain’s Directory Enquiry service began as an informal service in the 1880s to assist a few hundred telephone subscribers. Discover how the service grew and how computerisation played its part.
By November 1918, Great Britain had the world's most advanced air defence scheme. Relying heavily on the communications network this was just one of many important Post Office contributions.
As the telegraph service grew so did the number of national and international companies. However, nationalisation changed all that.
The rapid development of the early telephone lead to fierce competition among the emerging and rival companies, and to strongly contested legal battles on both sides of the Atlantic.
Nationalisation of the telephone service brought it under the control of the Post Office in 1912. As a Government department at the time it's from here that BT’s road to privatisation began.
Enterprising shopkeepers provided the first public call boxes to try and attract more customers. As a piece of street furniture they've become iconic and have come in varied designs and colours.
Giles Gilbert Scott’s K6 kiosk had been in service since 1936. The way the public used kiosks was changing and manufacturing techniques had advanced. A new kiosk was needed.
A price increase for telegraph messages lead to people writing shorter, more direct messages. These became known as "telegrams” and came in many decorative designs.
Here are some timelines covering other aspects of our long and rich history: