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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

The photo shows a manhole cover outside the Haringey Civic Centre belonging to the National Telephone Company. It actually pre-dates the 1912 takeover when it was amalgamated and nationalised into the GPO along with other companies around the country (apart from Hull). The box below would have carried trunk cables out into the rural exchanges from central London which would have all been manually operated.

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Fascinating - thanks Martin.

Thanks. If I'd looked at that in the street, I would have guessed 1950s. But I've checked as best I can and, you won't be surprised to hear,  you're quite right.

I suppose, assuming there was excess stock after 1912, that at the latest it would have been laid by, what, 1920.

Wood Green District Council in fact wrote to the National Telephone Company in 1896 about the recent contract they'd signed requiring that all telephone wires in the borough were run underground. Three years later the council had a phone system installed in the (then) town hall at Woodside House.

My Ladder road has telephone wires at the Green Lanes end running above ground (where the Tottenham borough extended to). I know little of the history, but does that mean Tottenham and other boroughs such as Islington had a cheaper contract, whereas Hornsey and Wood Green would have cost more to run the cables underground? That’s assuming I understand correctly that the council paid to have the telephone service installed. 

I think that the telephone companies were responsible for running and financing  the wires, whether underground or suspended. 

There is a difference between trunk cables (exchange to exchange) and local distribution (exchange to customer), the latter will be the poles in Nick G-T's case. Poles are a common feature and will be around for a long time yet, but won't be carrying trunks anymore. As the telephone networks expanded nationally it required more and more trunk cables making the overhead infrastructure unsustainable, so they put them underground especially in cities like London, old photos will show the necessity for this. As far as I know, the telephone companies met the costs for such work, and Hugh's point about the contract is interesting, I suspect though, that the contract only applied to trunks and not local distribution. Interestingly, the manhole in question is (according to a source) no longer on record, but I suspect that the cables were ducted and the box filled in. Ironically, the box's obsolescence was almost certainly its survival as had it been still in use, the cover would have been replaced long ago.

The committee directed that the company be informed that any wire provided in this dsitrict must be placed under ground

(My empahsis)

There had been something of a national uproar about the unsightliness of telephone wires and the bully-boy tactics of the phone companies. Wood Green were clearly taking no chances!

And now unsightly 5G masts Hugh, the tactics remain the same.

Has anyone noted that there are a number of items of metal fixtures in the pavements of Hornsey where it says that it's the Borough of Hornsea?

My theory was that the foundry must have been a Yorkshire one and instinctively used the name of the coastal community not far away!

We've got our own back, though. I keep an eye on ebay for Hornsey images and there is often "Hornsey" pottery advertised ;-) 

That was my assumption too. I've not noticed Hornsey pottery so far but I'm sure I'll start seeing it with alarming frequency from now on!

Absolutely amazing what topics come up on this site.   AND it's all free (well at the moment anyway).  So much interest.

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