For one evening only, there will be an exhibition about telephone exchanges taking place inside BT’s headquarters building.

Woolwich telephone exchange

Woolwich telephone exchange

It’s organised by Lisa Kinch as part of a PhD research project at Lancaster University funded by the NWCDTP, looking into the history and design of the UK’s telephone exchanges.

Telephone exchanges are buildings that once dominated urban landscapes, often built in — at the time — very modern styles and standing out against their Victorian surroundings. They were also often very large buildings, needed to provide the massive electromechanical machines that were needed to connect phone calls between people.

Today, most of that could fit into a single computer chip – but at the time, grand architectural buildings were needed. And many survive, as they’re still in use for modern telecoms and as facilities for BT and Openreach staff.

There will be an exhibition to show off these architectural gems at BT’s head office on the evening of Thursday 21st September 2023. It’s open from 5pm to 7pm and is free to visit – but you need to register for a place to be let into the building.

The exhibition takes place at Braham Street, London, E1 8EE, which is in Whitechapel, a couple of minutes walk from Aldgate and Aldgate East tube stations.

If you haven’t entered, don’t forget about the chance to visit the BT Tower next month as well.


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  1. Londonstuff says:

    A lot of these were mid-1930s and therefore finished during the short reign of Edward VIII in 1936. This one, like the one in Winchmore Hill and the one in Reigate (and many others), has an EVIII cipher on it, just to the right of the door. Rare!

  2. Chris Rogers says:


    For those who share an interest in telecoms tech, however, do have a look at my own site’s piece on Burne House, the Deco-looking (but isn’t) buidling that sits alongside the Marylebone flyover

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