Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Warehouse Wednesday: Tamworth telephone exchange

Tamworth telephone exchange 1

I know it's not a warehouse but this IS a large, very modelable, brick building and it is undoubtedly historic.

Years ago, every town had a telephone exchange containing banks of metal racks filled with relays. Proper, mechanical relays that clicked and whirred away. Now the whole process is handled by computers and the buildings are empty, or at least becoming empty. The new equipment simply doesn't take up the same space!

Tamworth telephone exchange 2

All that weight explains the balconies on the side. A feature of all exchanges that were taller than a single story, on the roof there is a hoist, here a simple girder with a pulley on it, to haul heft equipment from the ground - very like a traditional warehouse.

Telephone exchanges are one of those building that modellers will consider "modern" but in fact many date from the 1950s and 60s, easily seen by the architecture that was a la mode at the time. While not glamorous, I could see them fitting into many a model railway layout.

If you want to know more, check out this website for photos of other exchanges. I knew it wasn't just me interested!


Duncan Young said...

Well observed. Nerd that I am, I recall a 4mm model set in E Lincs based on the lost lines round Firsby and Woodhall Junction having a single storey village telephone exchange, so it has been done.

Andy York said...

I have photographed a layout illicitly erected in a virtually empty telephone exchange. A couple of computer racks in the corner and that was it. Think of all the unused space in towns and villages around the country that could be used by needy clubs if the equipment were to be panelled into a separate secure area.

Or just go and squat in them; it would be ages before they realised. ;)

Phil Parker said...

I know of a layout they was built in an old exchange back in the 1990s. Plenty of space there!