Street Telephone Nuisance


For illustration only. 1930’s operator.

On Blantyre’s old maps of 1936, there are several points marked “T.C.B”. This stood for Telephone Call Box, a public phone box if you like. By this time 5 versions from K1 to K5 had been used throughout the UK, the K6 version coming out in 1936.

1936 saw some mischief being created by Blantyre youths, especially with regard to these new boxes. A newspaper report told of “a childish mischief in asking for fictitious numbers from these call boxes.” In January 1936, a particular case was brought to the juvenile Court. The craze was mainly confined to young men, still youths who would use filthy language to the telephone Exchange operators when picking up the phones. However, this case involved two Blantyre fourteen year old girls!

The girls were spotted in the telephone call box in Farm Road, by a police officer. When they left the box, the officer ascertained from the Exchange operator that the girls had been pranking the exchange asking to be put through to fictitious numbers, wasting the time of the operators. He caught up with them, and took them back to their parents, where the mischief was reported. In court, both sets of parents told the judges, that the girls had already been heavily reprimanded for their misbehaviour and that it would not happen again. Wishing to set an example and as a deterrent the judge set a fine to 10 shillings each or 5 days imprisonment of the girls. The parents paid the fines.

On social media:

Moyra Lindsay I remember the exchange in Herbertson Street, it looked like the front room of a house and you could look in. One woman sitting there. She could have written a book about Blantyre I imagine!

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