Congratulations to Her Majesty The Queen on 60 glorious years
After 60 years on the throne, the Queen’s throwing the party to end all parties. Which reminds us of that day in June when she first took the crown and sceptre.
How we helped the coronation go without a hitch
According to David Hay, Head of BT Heritage: “For most people, it was the first time they had watched an event on television.”
The pressure for everything to run smoothly was immense. And the tool that would make sure that happened? The telephone.
A royal decree
The Post Office set up two huge switchboards inside the abbey for the BBC commentators, army officers, photographers and a Ministry of Works controller.
But the Queen’s staff ruled that none of the phones should ring inside the abbey. So our engineers got to work taking the bells out and swapping them for lamps.
The moment the Archbishop of Canterbury placed the crown on the Queen’s head, a phone call was made from inside the abbey to the belfry so the bells could begin chiming.
And two army officers rang soldiers in Hyde Park, the Tower of London and Windsor with the order to fire the ceremonial cannons.
After the coronation, the Post Office reported: “Careful preparation, attention to detail and enthusiastic teamwork by the staff ensured that the telecommunications services operated smoothly and without a hitch throughout the whole of the day.”
A royal patron
The Queen, of course, went on to take a great interest in telecommunications.
In 1958, she made the first ever self-dialled long distance call, from Bristol exchange to the Provost of Edinburgh.
And in 1961, she made a call to the Prime Minister of Canada to open the transatlantic phone cable.
As we mark another milestone, everyone at BT would like to congratulate Her Majesty on 60 glorious years. If you’re in London over the weekend, look out for the messages of thanks we’ll be beaming from the BT Tower.
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