The Telecom Technology Showcase was open between 1982 and 1997 and run by British Telecom. It occupied premises in Baynard House, Blackfriars, which is still owned by BT. The museum’s opening was specially timed: 1982 was Information Technology Year in the UK. BT had been created just two years earlier and separated from the Post Office in 1981 before being privatised in 1984.
Amongst the educational and interactive displays were the design classic K6 telephone kiosk, old telephones, a switchboard, and a working exchange rack. This was just a small portion of BT’s large archive, which included vintage GPO vans, bakelite handsets, numerous telephones and switchboards.
Museums advertise themselves in various ways, and the Technology Showcase used a medium that was distinctly relevant to it: BT Phonecards. These cards were a way of prepaying for calls from phone boxes, and featured a wide variety of products and services, including the BT Museum.
The museum had 23,000 visitors in 1995 but closed two years later. It was reported to be losing around £500,000 a year.
Images via Light Straw.