It has been a while since the last Telephone Exchange update, however, work has continued at an impressive rate.
The UAX13 Exchange is now working better that ever, so our band of ex-BT engineers have been venturing out into the museum to install more lines into our period exhibits.
Luckily one of our volunteers still holds their IPAF, Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWP) Operators Certificate. this means the Telecom Group have been able to utilise some ‘out of hours’ time to install new cabling, with the Cherry Picker whilst the museum is closed.
Current work has been concentrated on the Colliery area where the Winder House and Lamp Cabin have now been connected. As most of the lines currently running out onto site have now been utilised we are now planning to install new ‘multi pair’ cables on to site. This work will enable more of our exhibits to be connected to the network and provide a useful communications system that is in keeping with its surroundings.
The installation of wires in the Colliery and Village is adding and interesting addition to the ‘street-scape’. Although we are not using traditional open copper wire the scene created still gives a good impression of the way in which the early telegraph and telephone systems were spreading across the country during the early part of the 20th Century.
An interesting shot (below) from Urpeth Villas, near Beamish, shows the effect we are trying to create with the rows of poles once common across the country.
Below, a shot of one of the newly installed phones. This one is located in the Colliery Lamp Cabin and has become a useful tool for staff to keep in touch with each other. As the museum site is so vast good communication is essential. Most of the members of staff communicate via two-way radio, however, this is not ideal when trying to maintain a period atmosphere. It is hope that having these phones, across site, will cut down much of the two-way radio traffic.