Telecom Technology Showcase
Telecom Technology Showcase
The Telecom Technology Showcase was British Telecom's London-based museum which was open between 1982 and 1997.

Photo: Ex-BT Museum © LSA July 2010.
| EXIT | Showcase | Baynard House | Photos | Strowger RackBooks | Leaflets | Phonecards | Links |

Nineteen eighty two was Information Technology Year, giving more opportunities for highlighting developments in communications. British Telecom's Neil Johannessen brought together exhibits from all over the UK to form a new, interactive and exciting, National Telecommunications Museum. Thus, the Telecom Technology Showcase, later to become The Story of Telecommunications, was officially opened in April 1982 by Lord Miles of Blackfriars.

Post Office Electrical Engineers' Journal July 1982: 'The purpose of Showcase is to demonstrate to the public the important role played by telecommunications in today's world.'

The Telecom Technology Showcase was not just an exhibition of telecom equipment, it was a place of learning for both the old and the young. Advertising was targeted at schools, colleges and families with the slogan "Where do phones come from Mum?" School party visits to the resource centre were encouraged and the shop sold all sorts of educational materials, books, posters and videos to aid the learning experience.

Baynard House  
Baynard House
The BT Museum was located in a self contained annexe of Baynard House.

Photo: Exterior, BT Museum © LSA 1993

On the few occasions when I was lucky enough to visit the BT Museum, it was always an adventure. Why? Because the display cases were not arranged in straight lines, but in twisting passageways spread over 2 levels and relying heavily on artificial lighting. This lead to the anticipation of exactly what the next display might contain, but also gave the impression that you might have missed an exhibit and lead to much walking up and down the stairs! The equipment on display was only a representative part of the total collection held and in retrospect the whole venue was too small to really do it justice. Nevertheless an incredible variety of telephones, equipment and interactive displays were crammed into every corner, ranging from early days to modern times.

BT Museum Photos  
BT Museum
The BT Museum - A prominent position next door to the Mermaid Theatre.

Photo: Exterior, BT Museum © LSA 1993
1945-1960 display
1945-1960 You've Never Had it so Good.

The wallboard depicted 1945-60 and the then Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan; Hoover, (it beats as it sweeps as it cleans); 50's fashion and cars; 'Butlins for Holidays' and the Queen making the first Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) call in December 1958. The K6 telephone kiosk was incorporated into one of the displays of telephones, but another K6 on the ground floor was displayed as a fully working exhibit.

Photo: Diplay exhibit © LSA 1993
Display exhibit
Another angle of the featured display.

Photo: Display exhibit © LSA 1993
A 60s/70s/80s display of telephones.

Photo: Display exhibit © LSA 1993
Speaking Clock
Speaking Clock -  Dial for TIMe.

Photo: Display exhibit © LSA 1993
CB 1 Switchboard
CB1 switchboard.

Photo: CB1 manual switchboard © LSA 1993
Telecom Technology Showcase
Anthony Booth, Director, British Telecom, London...

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to present Showcase. The unique centre has been designed to give you an introduction to the rapidly expanding panorama of telecommunications in this country.

The exhibition ranges over 200 years of progress in communications from the earliest naval telegraph systems to the most modern facilities of today's Electronic Office and looks forward to future developments.

It is no coincidence that the centre was opened in 1982, designated by the government as Information technology year."

Scan: Telecom Technology Showcase booklet.
Strowger Rack  
Strowger Demo
Located on one of the lower levels (actually at street level) was a working Strowger (2000-type exchange) rack with lines connected to most of the display phones. Starting at the bottom of the picture, you can see the 25 Subscribers' Uniselectors, the LR and K relays being housed in the long narrow relay set. Next is the two-tone grey 700 type wallphone complete with inductive coupler for hearing-aid users. There are 2 shelves of Group Selectors (10 per shelf) and 1 shelf of Final Selectors. The front case of some of the selectors has been replaced with a sheet of clear perspex to show off the works, while protecting the mechanisms. A small ringing machine (out of the picture) at the base of the rack provided all the tones.

Photo: Strowger demo rack, BT Museum © LSA 1993

BT Museum Phonecard
'A Telephone in your Home costs 2/6 a week."

Scan: BT Phonecard.
BT Museum Phonecard
'Visit the BT Museum.'

Scan: BT Phonecard.

BT Museum Telecom Technology Showcase The Story of Telecommunications Museum Guide
A selection of BT Museum leaflets...

Leaflet scans.
BT Museum: The Museum and Education (1992).
Telecom Technology Showcase.
The Story of Telecommunications (Buzz, bleep, ring and whirr) PHME 7665.
Museum Guide


From his many visits to the BT Museum, Sam Hallas' photographic record of the collection of telephones and telegraphs:

BT Museum Memorial Pages by Sam Hallas.

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