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Historic telephone switchboard is coming back to Enfield

Date: 03/04/2012

A telephone switchboard that served Enfield residents for 35 years has been returned to its home town for a temporary exhibition after being kept at the Science Museum, London. It was the last of its kind to be used in the London area.

The Enfield Museum will be hosting the exhibition “Number please Working with the Enfield exchange”. The display opened in early June and will remain until September/October. It is on view from 9.30am-5pm, Monday- Friday, at the Dugdale Centre, Thomas Hardy House, 39 London Road, Enfield, EN2 6DS. A series of events organised by the Science Museum accompany the exhibition, with curator tours taking place on 27 June and 18 July.

The manual three-operator switchboard was installed at the Enfield Telephone Exchange in 1925 and was in use until 1960 when it was ?retired? to the Science Museum. The switchboard has not been exhibited since. After its stay in Enfield it will go on display in the Science Museum?s new Communications gallery opening Autumn 2014.

Local people who worked on the switchboard and in the exchange are invited to come forward with their memories of the era. These stories will enrich the Science Museum's new Communications gallery. To share their stories, they should contact the project team via PublicHistory@sciencemuseum.org.uk or pick up a leaflet in the exhibition.

Cllr Bambos Charalambous, Enfield Council Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Youth and Localism, said, ?An important piece of Enfield?s history has come back home for a short stay. I hope people will stop by the Dugdale to see the Exchange before it makes the journey to its permanent place at the Science Museum in London.

The fact that there are people who once worked on the Exchange still living locally makes this exhibition even more special. I look forward to hearing their stories and memories.

The events have been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through its Research for Community Heritage initiative which is providing funding for Research Organisations to hold open days with a view to encouraging partnerships between academic researchers and community heritage groups.

A full overview of the events programme can be found on www.EnfieldExchange.org.uk.

For further information on Research for Community Heritage and the Connected Communities programme of which it is a part.

For further information, please contact: Philip Pothen (AHRC) / Tel: 01793 416022 / p.pothen@ahrc.ac.uk

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