Nifty trick with the house payphones

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Re: Nifty trick with the house payphones

Post by englishangel » Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:17 pm

funnily enough daughter has just texted that she needs a top-up.

The Christmas Day boyfriend is now husband BTW.
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

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Re: Nifty trick with the house payphones

Post by J.R. » Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:12 pm

MKM wrote:
J.R. wrote:Getting back to my question, obviously no-one here is old enough to remember how one could get 'free' calls from the old Button 'A' - Button 'B' phone-boxes.
Did it involve a penny attached to a piece of string?
No. You lifted the receiver to get the dialling tone, then tapped out the didgets, one by one, of the number you wanted on the cradle, leaving a space between each number.

Phone rings and you were away for a chat for as long as you liked ! No time limit, and free-of-charge.
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Re: Nifty trick with the house payphones

Post by jhopgood » Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:07 pm

J.R. wrote:
MKM wrote:
J.R. wrote:Getting back to my question, obviously no-one here is old enough to remember how one could get 'free' calls from the old Button 'A' - Button 'B' phone-boxes.
Did it involve a penny attached to a piece of string?
No. You lifted the receiver to get the dialling tone, then tapped out the digits, one by one, of the number you wanted on the cradle, leaving a space between each number.

Phone rings and you were away for a chat for as long as you liked ! No time limit, and free-of-charge.
Far less complicated than the system on the pay phone in hall at University in the late 60's.
Basically you dialed the code of the exchange next to the university, then, that next in line to where you were trying to call.
So to dial London there were about 15- 18 exchanges to dial through until you got to the one you wanted.
That way it was just a local call.
It was all written up next to the phone.
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Re: Nifty trick with the house payphones

Post by Katharine » Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:20 pm

jhopgood wrote:Far less complicated than the system on the pay phone in hall at University in the late 60's.
Basically you dialed the code of the exchange next to the university, then, that next in line to where you were trying to call.
So to dial London there were about 15- 18 exchanges to dial through until you got to the one you wanted.
That way it was just a local call.
It was all written up next to the phone.
That's what I remember too!
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Re: Nifty trick with the house payphones

Post by ReallyMissingHer » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:04 pm

My brother went to Lampeter University in the late 80's and as my Dad worked for BT he could phone worldwide from his office as part of the perk. Apart from Lampeter there was so much fraudulant use of BT payphones in Lampeter (50% of the population students I think) they didn't accept incoming calls! When my brother did a year in Canada it was easier to get in touch with him there.

I didn't even know that the houses had a payphone.....must investigate got to be cheaper than phoning her on her mobile!

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Re: Nifty trick with the house payphones

Post by wurzel » Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:18 pm

When I started in 81 there were just the couple of call boxes on back avenue and we would ring shout hello and get called back, remember queues of people standing in the rain tapping their watches if you were over about 3 minutes

When they introdu=ced the block system and did the "minor" renovation works to the houses they installed pay phones in the cupboards under the fire escape stairs.

It was then that the fiddle that a few people had always used started to cost the school enough to notice - the payphones were owned by the school and they collected the money, BT billed the school for it's overall use of lines. You could get your caller to make a reverse charge call to the payphone, you accepted it and the school got the bill (it showed to BT operators as a private line not a call box) I remember them going mad at us over the huge bill they got.

As an aside in my grecians I had the old boot room/games store as a study in LHA and used to get really bored of answering the phone (especially during prep) so used to answer by pretending I was making the call - I would pick up the receiver and immediately say "hello is John there" or "is that treble A cabs" the person ringing would usually ap[ologise for a wrong number and hang up.

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Re: Nifty trick with the house payphones

Post by CHAZ » Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:07 am

(Wurzel..you were obviously jsut a couple of years behind me if you joined in 1981 but I can't place you...Iam Hill?
Ian Fisher?)

Anyway I remember the phone right outside Peele B...most useful for us to get to it out of the changers. There was one at the tuck shop too but I can't place the phones on Back Avenue from Lamb A to LHB?
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Re: Nifty trick with the house payphones

Post by wurzel » Mon Oct 27, 2008 1:34 pm

Ian Sutherland

There was another phone box between Grimshaws garden and the prep block opposite LHA changing room door.

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Re: Nifty trick with the house payphones

Post by CHAZ » Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:01 pm

Gosh so only 3 phone boxes for the whole school in the 80s...there were indeed queues for the phone boxes at any opportune moment..Thank God for mobiles!
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Re: Nifty trick with the house payphones

Post by wurzel » Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:05 pm

There was also thge abortive attempt at a private phone system inside the school. You could have a phone with a 3 digit number in your study for I think £5 a term, it only rang internally to other such phones, I believe O'Meara had something to do with it. Alas standard very late Saturday night trick after a couple of stiff lemonades was to find a phone and just randonmly ring numbers laughing when the owner was woken.

When it was abandoned they left in place the wiring and a friend of mine actuially bugged another study by placing a mini microphone in that studies phone socket and then a micrphone jack on a couple of the wires in his socket a few doors down. By puttng that jack in his stereo and pressing record we could hear what was said

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Re: Nifty trick with the house payphones

Post by AndrewH » Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:13 pm

wurzel wrote:There was also thge abortive attempt at a private phone system inside the school. You could have a phone with a 3 digit number in your study for I think £5 a term, it only rang internally to other such phones, I believe O'Meara had something to do with it. Alas standard very late Saturday night trick after a couple of stiff lemonades was to find a phone and just randonmly ring numbers laughing when the owner was woken.

When it was abandoned they left in place the wiring and a friend of mine actuially bugged another study by placing a mini microphone in that studies phone socket and then a micrphone jack on a couple of the wires in his socket a few doors down. By puttng that jack in his stereo and pressing record we could hear what was said

That was the revival of an older system, started in the early 70's I think. Originally there was a home built exchange in one of the rooms off the tube. This was rebuilt at least once then replaced with an ex Post Office exchange around 1975.
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Re: Nifty trick with the house payphones

Post by Mid A 15 » Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:55 pm

AndrewH wrote:
wurzel wrote:There was also thge abortive attempt at a private phone system inside the school. You could have a phone with a 3 digit number in your study for I think £5 a term, it only rang internally to other such phones, I believe O'Meara had something to do with it. Alas standard very late Saturday night trick after a couple of stiff lemonades was to find a phone and just randonmly ring numbers laughing when the owner was woken.

When it was abandoned they left in place the wiring and a friend of mine actuially bugged another study by placing a mini microphone in that studies phone socket and then a micrphone jack on a couple of the wires in his socket a few doors down. By puttng that jack in his stereo and pressing record we could hear what was said

That was the revival of an older system, started in the early 70's I think. Originally there was a home built exchange in one of the rooms off the tube. This was rebuilt at least once then replaced with an ex Post Office exchange around 1975.
A guy called Chris Moller who was in Peele A and left around 1970 set up the original private telephone system.

As a complete technophobe I thought it a wonderful achievement and have periodically wondered since whether Chris was successful in later life with his marvellous engineering skills.
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Re: Nifty trick with the house payphones

Post by huggermugger » Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:48 am

I came across this guy's name on the CHA website when looking for someone else - he's a telecoms consultant & project manager....

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