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1896: Getting up-to-date in the nineteenth century

Circumstances are not wanting to shew that the Cuckfield Rural District Council are, however, in some respects, moving with the times. The purchase of waggons to be drawn by the new road-roller traction engine is a step forward, and will utilise an otherwise partially idle capital outlay, although, like almost every change, it is possibly unwelcomed by some people.

The erecting of telephonic communication at the workhouse is another sign of 'up-to-dateness'.

Negotiations are being conducted to effect extensive road improvement at Balcombe … and if carried out the approach to the village from the railway station will be changed for the better.

Mid Sussex Times, 24 March 1896

Photo: Women at Sunset Telephone switchboard, ca 1905, Wikimedia public domain image. In 1883, Sunset Telephone Company became Seattle's first telephone company. By 1893, the company offered local service long-distance calling to Portland. All local and long-distance calls were placed through operators, who connected callers manually through a switchboard. From the beginning, all operators at Sunset were women. In this photo, two women connect callers at a telephone switchboard. Another woman, possibly their supervisor, looks on. The photo was taken sometime between 1903 and 1906 at the Sunset Telephone office on Third Avenue.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.



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