Wartime Phone Directory

As happens from time to time a really interesting document has recently been re-discovered. It is a typed phone directory produced when all phone numbers in the village were changed from two digit numbers to three digits.

Although there is no date on the document we can easily narrow the date it was produced down to within a year or two.

Firstly, with his new number of 297 is Rev C. E. Hutchinson at The Vicarage. We know that Rev Hutchinson was Vicar in Takeley between 1938 and 1945. Now, if we look at the Wartime Civil Defence Plan typed in Jan 1943 in we see that the phone numbers listed were all three digit numbers. So this directory dates from between 1938 and 1942. I am sure that knowledge of other names on the list will narrow this down further.

The names and addresses on the list give us a valuable insight into the villagers of the time. In the 1940s (and for several decades after) people only had a phone if they were fairly well-to-do or needed it to run a business. Working class families often didn't have their own phone until late 1970's as it was seen as an unnecesary cost and it often required a change in family circumstances (such as a child growing up and moving away) before a phone was installed. There are several telephone kiosk numbers listed and these were well used by "ordinary people", far more than they are today now that everyone has a mobile phone.

Download the Wartime Phone Directory


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