Nostalgia: Hanging up on years of telephone connections

Members of the Edinburgh Telephone Choir at work in 1955
Members of the Edinburgh Telephone Choir at work in 1955
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IT will be the end of an era. The city council this week granted approval for developer Telereal Trillium to convert the old Woodcroft Telephone Exchange in Pitsligo Road into 60 luxury apartments and 24 townhouses.

The old exchange is just one of many which have played home to the Capital’s ever growing communication needs over the years. In the 1950s, most of the city’s calls were routed through the an exchange at Rose Street, manned by the ever elegant Edinburgh Telephone Choir.

In 1959, the Dean Telephone Exchange was opened by the then Lord Provost Sir Ian Anderson Johnson-Gilbert, while the Capital was also served by the Fountainbridge telephone exchange,

In 1961, a large audience saw Sir Ronald German phone French Postmaster General M Jacques Marette to open the new telephone trunk call centre at Woodcroft in Morningside.

As a growing city, however, there was never time to stand still when it came to communications, and 1964 saw construction begin on another new exchange at East London Street.

In 1967, the Canning House office block at the corner of Canning Street and Torphichen Street was created to house the Post Office Telephone Exchange, with “acoustic tiled ceilings”, “warm coloured lino floors” and the height of opulence at the time – pleasant furnishings.

A far cry from the basic chairs manned by the Telephone Choir.