Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: November 22, 2018
Webpage updated: November 22, 2018




The National Telephone Company Limited was formed in Glasgow on March 10th 1881.  On May 1st 1889 it absorbed the United Telephone Company but it was not until it purchased the 4,027 subscriber lines belonging to the Western Counties and South Wales Telephone Company Limited on January 1st 1892 that the Company had any control over the telephone system in Plymouth.

In April 1894 the Company were asked by Plymouth Corporation to fix a telephone line in the Corn Exchange.  The rental was 8 10s per annum.

During 1896 the Post Office took over the trunk lines operated by the National Telephone Company Limited and they were left to run just the local exchange system and call offices.  Their central exchange was at 27 to 29 Whimple Street, on the corner with Kinterbury Street.  The Company also had an exchange at Widey Terrace, Crownhill.

Following the signing on February 2nd 1905 of an agreement between the National Telephone Company Limited and the Postmaster-General, Lord Edward George Villiers Stanley, the Telephone Transfer Act received the Royal Assent on August 18th 1911.  This authorised the Postmaster-General to take over the plant, property, assets and the staff of the National Telephone Company Limited and to make further improvements in the matter of 'Telephonic Communication'.  Members of staff could be retained until after December 31st 1911 to help deal with the dissolving of the Company.

Thus from January 1st 1912 the entire telephone network in the country, except that in Hull and Portsmouth, came under the control of the Postmaster-General as the General Post Office Telephones Department, or Post Office Telephones, as it stated on the sides of their vans and lorries..