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Section of Cable

A sample of the cable from Tunbridge Wells telephone exchange, the first municipal telephone system in England.


This exemplifies Kent as a centre for innovation and communication and a vibrant hub.

Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery

Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery,
Civic Way,
Monson Road,
Royal Tunbridge Wells,


In 1901 Tunbridge Wells Borough Council proudly inaugurated the first municipal telephone system in England. Special guest Frank Green, Lord Mayor of London, made a long distance call to the Lord Provost of Glasgow and was presented with this sample of the cable decorated with a silver plaque. The system soon fell victim to a campaign by local residents opposed to what they called ‘municipal socialism’, and it was sold off to the private National Telephone Company in 1902.

Curriculum Links:

  • KS1: Local History, Significant Events, Everyday Materials
  • KS2: Local History, Electricity, Materials and their Properties
  • KS3: Local History, Britain 1745-1901, Energy and Waves, Electricity, Properties of Materials, Materials and Components


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