The Telephone comes to Oakridge


The Telephone comes to Oakridge


Photographs L - R :-
  1. Gloucester Journal 28/11/1936, exchange in Parliament regarding phones at Oakridge
  2. 1924, Express Messenger Services via the Telephone
  3. Oakridge Phone Box, outside of Hungerfords, 2010


From the First Phone
The first telephone in the village was that of the Le Bailleys. In the 1924 telephone directory it is listed as Bisley 14 and is the only one in Oakridge.

The first excitement was when we got the telephone. Until then the nearest was at Bisley and my mother talked the G.P.O. into shouldering most of the cost of putting poles to Oakridge on condition we put out a Notice saying "You may telephone from here" and so Bisley 14 was born.

The telephone was a great boon to my mother who could talk to her many relations and also to the village because a Doctor could now quite quickly be summoned in an Emergency. Best of all Mrs Clarke, who kept the shops at Sisley presided over the Exchange and messages could always be left with her so she always knew where everyone was.

The Bisley exchange was Bisley O. People remember Mrs Clark being the operator. It operated from 9.00am till 7.00pm except on Wednesdays when it only operated till 1.00pm. Express Delivery Services by special messenger could be put through this office.

Brimscombe telelphone exchange started in 1911 but it has not been established when the Frampton Mansell exchange was set up.

In 1906 there were two telegram boys in Chalford. Traditionally telegram boys went on to become postmen.

Public telephone box placed opposite Woodbine Cottage in the 1930s. See extract from Gloucester Journal November 1936 which confirms there was a public telephone call office in the Post Office at Oakridge Lynch, but public ones in the village and at Waterlane and Bournes Green were requested.

In 1937 999 emergency calls were introduced.

The Oakridge phone kiosk was threatened with removal in the early 2000's but BT gave in to objections and it is still operational by card. Many older villagers remember making arrangements to make and receive calls at the phone box before individual home phones were widely available.

One of the first to have a phone in Waterlane was Harry Gardiner (builder) and Alison's parents would go to use his phone if necessary.

Bob Gardiner recalls that Penn House had a telephone in 1940 when there was very bad snow and ice. Overhead wires were quite thin and became broken by weight of ice and the owner worked out that 1 pound of ice was frozen to each 9 inches of wire.

During WW2 Bob Gardiner remembers sleeping at the Hornbys as part of a rota of four boys so that any message coming by phone could be relayed on foot to other air raid wardens.

It is thought that Wears, Barkers, The Vicarage, Hamp (architect) had phones by 1950s.

ADSL Max was enabled at Frampton Mansell exchange from 31 March 2006.

Fibre Broadband may come one day ...

Oakridge Remembers ...

The M56 Dial phone

Alison Gardiner remembers there being few telephones. Mrs Clark at Sisley Post Office knew to whom all the numbers belonged and the story goes that she could tell callers that a certain person would not be at home that day!

Ann Fry remembers when she came there was a telephone box in Oakridge Lynch. Few houses had their own phones and those were often a shared line. In Far Oakridge there was a phone at the Nelson Inn, Peter Barker's farm and Lord and Lady Robertson's in lies Green.

"We probably only made a phone call to my mother twice a year- Christmas and birthday- and we made an appointment time for this by letter, calling from the Oakridge Lynch phone box. This was the way we Jet her know about the birth of our first child in 1960."

"I remember that the telephone was sacrosanct and not to be used by children without permission. There was something very satisfying about dialling the number - instead of pressing little buttons. They were made of bakelite and very heavy - there was never any problem finding the phone! We still had the London exchanges when I started in Articles but it changed in about 1967 to all numbers. As I like letters better than numbers I was rather sad about the change."

"As a child I was always taught to pick up the phone with my left hand so that I could take notes with my right hand if there was a message to pass on. I recall the old phone boxes with Button A and Button B - there was a method of pulling the dial quickly back to the rest position when dialling the number which (sometimes) made the call free - no button pushing required!"

"We had a shared line in 1964 and this wasn't always convenient. The phone was black with a dial"

"We had a dial phone with a 3 digit number on the Frampton Mansell exchange when we came here (1982). Most people only had a /and-line with a single receiver. The telephone box was still used occasionally and was a landmark for directing people who arrived in the village but couldn't find the right house. Now we have an 11 digit Cirencester number"

M57 Mobile phone

"I refused to get a mobile phone but when my Landline failed and BT didn't repair it for over a week, then I bought this mobile phone, though I hardly ever used it."

"Mobile phones have transformed many aspects of life. If your car breaks down on one of the rural lanes in the area, there is no need to walk to find a phone box or a house where you can borrow a phone to call for help - provided of course that you have reception where you break down! Delivery men don't have to know how to find places, they just phone saying 'I'm in France Lynch, where is Oakridge?' Now of course they put a postcode in a SatNav and expect to be brought to your door- but not in Oakridge, they can still end up on unsuitable roads or on a no-through-road nowhere near your door!"



Ancestry holds copies of early telephone directories 

See copy of article by Arthur Dodd in Gloucester History 1989 "How the telephone came to Gloucester". Includes information that Gloucester exchange was a working entity in early June 1887 with a total of 16 subscribers.



Oakridge Phone Box, outside of Hungerfords, 2010
Gloucester Journal 28/11/1936, exchange in Parliament regarding phones at Oakridge
1924, Express Messenger Services via the Telephone


“The Telephone comes to Oakridge,” Oakridge Archives, accessed June 25, 2024,

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