08
November
2016
|
12:06
Europe/Amsterdam

BT time capsule buried 58 years ago found in London

Summary
A BT time capsule buried 58 years ago has been unearthed during redevelopment at the site of a former BT building. The contents offer a fascinating insight into the telecoms technology of the era, and how far it has evolved.

A BT time capsule buried 58 years ago has been unearthed during redevelopment at the site of a former BT building.

The contents offer a fascinating insight into the telecoms technology of the era, and how far it has evolved.

Items inside the capsule include a 700-type telephone handset, a polythene-covered subscribers’ cable that reduced corrosion, a Telex-answerback unit that lessened the risk of messages being misrouted and a 3000-type standard relay used in telephone exchanges of the era.

The brass capsule was buried on 20 October 1958 by Lord Mayor of London Sir Denis Truscott beneath the foundation stone of BT’s Fleet Building in Islington, London.

Developers handed the capsule to Openreach, BT’s local network business, and it is now held in the BT Archives.

Joanna Smith, an Openreach network regulation manager, BT’s local network business, said: “The BT Fleet Building has been demolished to make way for a new occupier. We’ve been working closely with the developers and were glad to hear that they found the time capsule.”

David Hay, BT’s head of heritage and archives, said: “We were delighted to receive the time capsule. We knew about the capsule and wondered whether it would turn up during the redevelopment. It’s great to have the capsule in the BT archives. The contents look as pristine as when they were put in it, probably because it was filled with nitrogen gas before being sealed. And they really bring home how far our technology has advanced in the past 58 years.”

1958

  • The year Harold Macmillan was prime minister
  • The London Planetarium opens, the first in Britain
  • The Eurovision Song Contest was in its third year
  • The film South Pacific was released
  • Brazil beat Sweden 5-2 to win the football World Cup
  • Elvis Presley topped the charts with Jailhouse Rock