National Archives
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BT Archives to be digitised

The National Archives, in partnership with Coventry University and BT Plc, has been awarded a grant to digitise BT's physical archive, making almost half a million photographs, documents and correspondence preserved by BT over 165 years available online as part of the New Connections project.

Remarkable collection

The BT Archives reveal Britain's leading role in the development of telecommunications, detail industrial and gender relations in the workplace and social change from 1846 to the present day, and take in the whole of the UK including Southern Ireland until 1921 and the Channel Islands until 1973, along with the UK's communications with countries across the globe.

Highlights include:

  • arrangements for the telegraphic transmission of Disraeli's 'one nation' speech from Manchester in 1872
  • the Queen making the first automatic long distance telephone call from Bristol to Edinburgh in 1958
  • documentation of experiments with optical fibres from the 1960s, which led to yesterday's fibre optics networks
  • early videoconferencing and view phones from the 1960s

'Accessible to more people now and in the future'

Chris Mumby, Head of Commercial Delivery at The National Archives said: 'This is a great opportunity to apply the experience we've built up over many years to one of the most respected corporate archives in Britain. Our renowned expertise in creating and preserving digitised records will ensure that this important collection is accessible to more people now and in the future.'

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