The Telephone Exchange

Bridgwater Telephone Exchange is located in George Street, Bridgwater, TA6 3NA and serves Bridgwater and the surrounding area.

The section of the exchange nearest Dampiet Street, probably came into service in 1981.

The most recent addition to the Telephone Exchange. This was built on the site of numerous small cottages and even a shirt collar factory. Image from Google Maps, 2022.

It adjoins the original auto exchange which began operation in about 1936. The 1936 building was opened on the reign of Edward VIII, between his succeeding George V, but before his abdication the same year, and his rarely seen monograph appears on the front.

The 1936 part of the exchange. Edward VIII’s monogram can be seen over the central window. Image from Google Maps, 2022. This building adjoins the old George Inn, from which the street takes its name.

This replaced a manual exchange opened by the National Telephone Company in 1899 at 30 St Mary Street. This was at the junction of St Mary Street and Dampiet Street. They leased the building from William Dyment and Lewis Thompson of Bridgwater, cheese factors (Somerset Heritage Centre A/AFU/3).

BT Archives: TCE 361/ARC 103
National Telephone Company Exchange, Bridgwater, Taunton Area, Somerset, 1910. The building survives, although the windows have been reduced in size, and the shop-front altered. Note the sign ‘Public Telephone Call Office’. The building had acquired its distinctive stone (or stucco?) frontage by the 1860s, when it was photographed by Robert Gillo (Squibbs, no.105).

The National Telephone Company (NTC) was a British telephone company from 1881 until 1911 which brought together smaller local companies in the early years of the telephone. Under the Telephone Transfer Act 1911 it was taken over by the General Post Office (GPO) in 1912.

TW 2 September 2022