Innovation Box: Stories 01

The following memories where posted to our Innovation Box Facebook page @apennyforyourthought

Bobbie Carnegie to A Penny For Your Thoughts October 13 at 20:00pm Kingston ·

The old telephone books were massive great ginormous thick tomes of listed telephone names A-Z. Most telephone boxes had several of these books listing telephone names and no.s of the district. Strong men frequently showed off their strength at the circus or other shows by ripping a weighty telephone book in half. In fact – there’s a knack and trickery involved in organising, bending and ‘feathering’ the pages so that you are actually tearing single page upon page – meaning the tearing can be done with no particular strength. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pGvEGFkvNs

‎Jean Carus‎ to A Penny For Your Thoughts October 13 at 19:05pm Kingston ·

Being great fans of ‘Some Mothers do ‘ave em’, when we got bored during the summer holidays, mid 1970’s, we would look up the phone numbers of unsuspecting Spencer families & call them, put on a Frank Spencer voice & ask if Betty was in.
Honestly, it was always hilarious !!

Dawn Cole‎ to A Penny For Your Thoughts, October 12 at 11:05pm ·
As a child in the 1970’s my favourite TV programme was ‘Record Breakers’ because it was hosted by Roy Castle. At this time I was very much a tap dancer; going to lessons, performing in shows, helping teach, taking dance exams and Roy Castle was a bit of

a hero on the tap dance front and I was desperate to write to Record Breakers to ask him a question. I watched the show every week in the hope that they would give out an address to write to but they never did.

Then I had an idea that maybe Directory Enquiries would be able to help me. It occurred to me that as telephone books listed addresses as well as phone numbers that it would be the same for Directory Enquiries- if they knew the phone number they would know the address.

We didn’t have a telephone at home until I was 14 so to make my call I had to walk the half mile to the local phone box outside Snowden’s Sweet Shop in Garlinge. Calling Directory Enquiries (DE) was free so I dialled 192 and waited in anticipation for the connection. An exciting moment for me as I was sure I would have the address any moment.

I can’t remember exactly what the standard response was when the Directory Enquiries operator answered but was somerhing like this

DE ‘What name do you require’
Me ‘Roy Castle’
DE ‘What Town’
Me ‘Not really a town but the Record Breaker Television programme’
A pause

DE ‘I can’t help you’

And I never did find the address and I never did write to Roy Castle

Bobbie Carnegie October 12 at 7:05pm ·

I’m an oldie in my 70s. ‘When I were a nipper’ not everyone had a telephone in their home. Trudging to the nearest telephone box at the end of the street in all weathers and at all times day or night, perhaps with no street lights if a rural locality, was the norm if needing to phone. I well recall the wonderful telephone numbers delineated by a named ‘title’ or ‘district name’ followed by a tel. no of no great number of digits – just three. E.g. ‘Willesborough 254′. That was the always remembered Kent telephone no. of the childrens’ home I was in as a child from 1952 to 1960. Later I went up to London in 1962 and worked in Paddington where that telephone district was delineated by the title ‘Ambassador’ (presumably because of the many embassies on Paddington’s Bayswater Road) followed by 3-digit number I don’t recall. The old phoning technique required dialling via access to an operator physically organising your call from a local telephone exchange who, once you had loaded your penny or pennies, then connected you to the person you were calling. However, one trick we young reprobates learned in order to gain a free call was to lift receiver and rapidly tap the number we were calling onto the receiver buttons that the phone rested on when not used. You had to be nifty with the ‘tapping’ with a pause between each numbered tap. And, it worked – though not always if deft tapping and insufficient pause misread the destination number that was endeavoured to be tapped and accessed. You could find you’d inadvertently tapped a phone call to the Old Bill who had a track on the telephone box you were calling from. And, if it was the Old Bill, they’d engage you in your telephone box with chummy chat in order to keep you on the phone. Until a pang of fright gripped your stomach as you chatted cheekily to the Copper at the end of the phone because you suddenly realised they wanted you on the phone for as long as possible while a Black Maria had been sent on its way to locate and arrest you for fraudulent misuse of HM’s telephone service. Before that point you’d scarpered out that phone box as fast as you could. Lol
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Kellie Hogben‎ to A Penny For Your Thoughts
October 12 at 2:05pm ·
During my first term of university I couldn’t get mobile reception in my halls of residence, and didn’t have a laptop, never mind a smart phone! The halls were out in the sticks, in the middle of some woodland. There was a payphone in halls but it was always out of order (literally because it was filled up with coins). I’d save up all my pound coins and get the courtesy minibus to the nearest train station once a week, to make any calls I *needed* to make (i.e. to my parents or boyfriend). This sounds like it was eons ago but it was only 2007! Eventually I changed networks and could use my mobile like a civilised human being.

Sylvie Bolioli‎ to A Penny For Your Thoughts
October 12 at 1:19pm ·
I used to love the Phone booth in Trafalgar Square, South Side, some time in the 80s, when calls were still quite expensive. Those were the days of phone cards. And that particular phone box only started debiting your card after about an hour or so. I remember spending hours talking to my family abroad. When the card started debiting, I would remove it and insert it again for another hour of free calls!

Sue Fisher Holland October 11 at 8:34pm

I was out at lunch yesterday sitting near this young woman who didn’t let up for a second regaining her friends with some incomprehensible stuff about and ‘then he said, then she said’, all interspersed with constant showing of pictures. Bren the phone started ringing. Then it started ringing again. She remained oblivious to the daggers being thrown her way from our table. I am officially now a grumpy old woman bemoaning the utter thoughtlessness of youth.

Christina France‎ to A Penny For Your Thoughts
October 11 at 10:50pm ·
Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal. A telephone box converted into a book swap; take a book, leave a book.

‎Sharon Hall Shipp‎ to A Penny For Your Thoughts
October 11 at 4:22pm ·
On the train from Victoria to Brighton, a bloke talking on his mobile phone. As soon as the train left Victoria, he started to phone friends to get them to buy tickets for a Stones gig. The story was that tickets were limited to two per person and he needed twenty. They would buy, he would pay, etc. He explained all of this loudly, and in great detail, over and over again to different friends. Just after Haywards Heath (about 40 minutes), he exclaims to no-one in particular, “oh, my battery’s run out”. The whole carriage burst into applause.

‎Caroline Raffan‎ to A Penny For Your Thoughts
October 11 at 6:34pm ·
August 16th, 1977. I was on holiday at Westward Ho in North Devon. I was staying in a quite ordinary B&B with my sister, my little daughter and my sister’s Thai boyfriend who had been studying catering and was producing some great meals for us, mackeral and Thai style spare ribs. These were the days before mobiles were invented of course, so I trotted down the road to use the local village phone box to call a friend. How can it matter so much that we have fixed in memory where we were when we receive the news that someone so famous has passed on? Elvis Presley