Sunday, 28 June 2009

Shoreditch Telephone Exchange, Shoreditch High Street E1

There was a time when public buildings were respected, even utilitarian structures like the telephone exchange in Shoreditch.
The building, erected by the General Post Office in 1956, is plain but carefully proportioned and adorned with this nice figure of a nude telephone engineer winding cables round the Earth - those are electromechanical relays above his head.
The exchange has a certain notoriety among Cold War conspiracy theorists as one end of a secret nuke-proof tunnel carrying government phone lines. It links up exchanges all the way to Shepherd's Bush.
Now the building is shabby and ill-used. The entrance is covered with grilles and metal doors, the windows are covered with stick-on plastic sheeting and it looks as if BT keeps the place on mainly as a place to park its vans.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The exchange used to be a lovely place to work in friendly people its a sham that the building has been left to decay .The subscribers knew they would always speak to a polite person i used to love going to work there it a shame

Anonymous said...

Hi - interested to see your post as my father, Charles W. Lewis, designed and sculpted the panel. He always had a maquette of it displayed in his living room. Am wondering if there is some way of preserving the panel. Will be in London on and off this summer as am working on his catalog raisonne. He passed away last month at the grand age of 94. Any thoughts?

ChrisP said...

Hi Anon - could you drop me an email at chrismpartridge [at] btinternet.com? I would love to know more about your father.
Chris