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As part of the Greater Manchester Archaeology Festival 2019, which is held in conjunction with the Greater Manchester Archaeology Federation, CW Heritage SIG is delighted to support a free one day Telecommunications Heritage Conference
Held in association with the University of Salford’s Centre for Applied Archaeology, Connected Earth and supported by the Institute of Telecommunications Professionals, this conference will explore the history of telecommunications and its impact on society and the development of industrial cities such as Manchester.
Telecommunications has had a transformational impact on society and our environment whether that has been through the development of national and international communication networks, the evolution of the telephone into the mobile and onwards to the smartphone, or the Internet and its associated world wide web. Each technological advance has improved our ability to communicate over ever greater distances and speed thus leading to the creation of new services and businesses.
This one-day conference aims to celebrate telecommunication’s rich heritage by exploring technological development, societal impact, and its influence on urban development with a particular, although not exclusive, focus on Manchester.
The programme comprises of the following speakers and topics:
- Stewart Ash will be talking about Sir John Pender, a Glaswegian who made his fortune as a cotton merchant in Manchester and who then masterminded a global network of under-sea electrical telegraph cables that wired the world and earned him the title, ‘Cable King’.
- Geoff Varrall, RTT Online and CW Heritage SIG Champion, will revisit the early years of the satellite industry and the technical, commercial and regulatory evolution of satellites as broadcast and communication systems placed in the contemporary context of a ‘new space era’.
- Dan Glover will discussing the development of the 1952 microwave relay network which was used to extend the BBC television service to Scotland.
- Steve Scanlon will examine an important piece of Cold War technology by explaining how the GPO/BT engineered solutions to enable the Home Office to discharge its responsibility firstly to warn, then recover from a possible nuclear attack on this country, with at least a skeleton network for essential users.
- Andrew Hurley from The National Collection of Telephone Kiosks will be describing one of their most significant finds of recent times, namely the discovery of an original Norwich design kiosk, making it the oldest known surviving example of a British phonebox.
- David Hay from BT Archives will be discussing the BT partnership with Bletchley Park Museum in the restoration of the Teleprinter Hall at the museum which will house a new immersive cinematic experience, D-Day: Interception, Intelligence, Invasion exploring Bletchley Park’s secret D-Day role and the work of GPO engineers on the site.
- Alison Taubman is Principal Curator, Technology & Communications at National Museums Scotland. In its communications gallery, staff were keen to include a fundamental of human communication – speech. Alison will outline the thoughts behind a display of speech mediated by machines, from the first speaking clock to the now omnipresent synthetic voices of devices such as satnavs and smoke alarms.
Professor Nigel Linge, University of Salford, who is organising the event, will be providing a small exhibition and poster display that explores Manchester’s telephone story, from the first telephone installed within the country under licence from the Post Office in 1878, through the expansion of the national network, to the imminent launch of the latest generation of mobile phone, 5G.
All events in the Greater Manchester Archaeology Festival are available free-of-charge however, they do require participants at this conference to register in advance.
Registration entitles you to attend all presentations, receive copies of any information handouts and partake of the refreshments which includes a light lunch in the Salford Museum and Art Gallery cafe.
Whether you are a technical specialist, an enthusiast, a former or current employee of the telecommunications industry, a museum or heritage professional, an academic or someone who has a general interest in history and industrial archaeology then this is a wonderful opportunity to explore the rich telecommunications history.
Click here for further information on the conference.