Hidden Histories Of The Information Age

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
01Enfield Exchange20141020

"Hello Girls"

In 1960 the women telephonists of the Enfield exchange said goodbye to the last manual telephone exchange in Greater London. For decades they had put through calls using this plugboard machine, providing a polite and friendly voice to any caller. With the expertise of the Science Museum's Keeper of Technology, Dr Tilly Blyth, and Curator of Communication, John Liffen, Aleks Krotoski uncovers the hidden histories of the life of the exchange and how it provided a new kind of employment for young women.

Part of the Enfield Exchange is on display in the new Information Age gallery at the Science Museum. The gallery tells the story of the evolution in how we communicate with each other. The objects in the exhibition represent cultural moments from the last 200 years - not just technological innovations.

We also hear from the women who worked as telephonists about the relationship between the supervisors and operators, some of whom were only 15 years old, the aches and pains the plugboard caused and the prestige brought by a job with the GPO.

01Enfield Exchange2014102020160104 (R4)

"Hello Girls"

In 1960 the women telephonists of the Enfield exchange said goodbye to the last manual telephone exchange in Greater London. For decades they had put through calls using this plugboard machine, providing a polite and friendly voice to any caller. With the expertise of the Science Museum's Keeper of Technology, Dr Tilly Blyth, and Curator of Communication, John Liffen, Aleks Krotoski uncovers the hidden histories of the life of the exchange and how it provided a new kind of employment for young women.

Part of the Enfield Exchange is on display in the new Information Age gallery at the Science Museum. The gallery tells the story of the evolution in how we communicate with each other. The objects in the exhibition represent cultural moments from the last 200 years - not just technological innovations.

We also hear from the women who worked as telephonists about the relationship between the supervisors and operators, some of whom were only 15 years old, the aches and pains the plugboard caused and the prestige brought by a job with the GPO.

01Enfield Exchange20141020

02Tat-120141021

02Tat-120141021

In 1957 the singer, actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson in 1957 performed a concert to an audience sitting in St Pancras Town Hall in London. Astonishingly, Paul Robeson was in New York at the time, and he was performing live over a transatlantic phone line.

Robeson was an outspoken critic of lynching laws and anti-fascism. Because of his support of these causes, he was a victim of early attempts by the US FBI to quash civil rights activism, and was blacklisted by the State Department. His passport was cancelled so he could not leave the US.

But Robeson was also an innovator, who used the latest tools to go around the restrictions that were imposed upon him. When the authorities increasingly tried to silence him, he used technology to make his voice heard.

Aleks Krotoski tells the story of how Paul Robeson came to perform for his British fans using the new transatlantic telephone cable, called TAT-1, It was laid between 1955 and 1956, and it linked Newfoundland, Canada and Oban on the West Coast of Scotland.

TAT-1 is one of the objects on display in the Information Age Gallery at the Science Museum in London. This new gallery features the evolution in how we communicate with one another. The objects in the gallery represent cultural moments from the last 200 years, not just technological innovations.

02Tat-12014102120160105 (R4)

In 1957 the singer, actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson in 1957 performed a concert to an audience sitting in St Pancras Town Hall in London. Astonishingly, Paul Robeson was in New York at the time, and he was performing live over a transatlantic phone line.

Robeson was an outspoken critic of lynching laws and anti-fascism. Because of his support of these causes, he was a victim of early attempts by the US FBI to quash civil rights activism, and was blacklisted by the State Department. His passport was cancelled so he could not leave the US.

But Robeson was also an innovator, who used the latest tools to go around the restrictions that were imposed upon him. When the authorities increasingly tried to silence him, he used technology to make his voice heard.

Aleks Krotoski tells the story of how Paul Robeson came to perform for his British fans using the new transatlantic telephone cable, called TAT-1, It was laid between 1955 and 1956, and it linked Newfoundland, Canada and Oban on the West Coast of Scotland.

TAT-1 is one of the objects on display in the Information Age Gallery at the Science Museum in London. This new gallery features the evolution in how we communicate with one another. The objects in the gallery represent cultural moments from the last 200 years, not just technological innovations.

03Our World20141022

03Our World20141022

03Our World20141022

On June 25th 1967, 400 million people across the globe watched a ground-breaking TV show. It was called, in English, OUR WORLD and it was a feat beyond technological imagination: it was the first programme that linked up countries live by satellite. So everyone was watching what was happening on the other side of the world - or possibly next door - at the exact moment in time when it was actually happening.

In our modern, 24-hour news world, it's hard to understand just how monumental this was, both technologically and politically. It was the golden age of television. Youth culture had a voice that was about to get much louder. International diplomacy was stretched to breaking point. And our world was rapidly shrinking.

Aleks Krotoski tells the story of how the programme came about. She talks to curators from the Science Museum.

The yellowing pages of Our World's original script is one of the exhibits in the new Information Age gallery at the Science Museum. It tells the story of the evolution in how we communicate with one another. The objects in the exhibition represent cultural moments from the last 200 years - not just technological innovations.

03Our World2014102220160106 (R4)

On June 25th 1967, 400 million people across the globe watched a ground-breaking TV show. It was called, in English, OUR WORLD and it was a feat beyond technological imagination: it was the first programme that linked up countries live by satellite. So everyone was watching what was happening on the other side of the world - or possibly next door - at the exact moment in time when it was actually happening.

In our modern, 24-hour news world, it's hard to understand just how monumental this was, both technologically and politically. It was the golden age of television. Youth culture had a voice that was about to get much louder. International diplomacy was stretched to breaking point. And our world was rapidly shrinking.

Aleks Krotoski tells the story of how the programme came about. She talks to curators from the Science Museum.

The yellowing pages of Our World's original script is one of the exhibits in the new Information Age gallery at the Science Museum. It tells the story of the evolution in how we communicate with one another. The objects in the exhibition represent cultural moments from the last 200 years - not just technological innovations.

03Our World2014102220160106 (R4)

On June 25th 1967, 400 million people across the globe watched a ground-breaking TV show. It was called, in English, OUR WORLD and it was a feat beyond technological imagination: it was the first programme that linked up countries live by satellite. So everyone was watching what was happening on the other side of the world - or possibly next door - at the exact moment in time when it was actually happening.

In our modern, 24-hour news world, it's hard to understand just how monumental this was, both technologically and politically. It was the golden age of television. Youth culture had a voice that was about to get much louder. International diplomacy was stretched to breaking point. And our world was rapidly shrinking.

Aleks Krotoski tells the story of how the programme came about. She talks to curators from the Science Museum.

The yellowing pages of Our World's original script is one of the exhibits in the new Information Age gallery at the Science Museum. It tells the story of the evolution in how we communicate with one another. The objects in the exhibition represent cultural moments from the last 200 years - not just technological innovations.

03Our World2014102220160106 (R4)

On June 25th 1967, 400 million people across the globe watched a ground-breaking TV show. It was called, in English, OUR WORLD and it was a feat beyond technological imagination: it was the first programme that linked up countries live by satellite. So everyone was watching what was happening on the other side of the world - or possibly next door - at the exact moment in time when it was actually happening.

In our modern, 24-hour news world, it's hard to understand just how monumental this was, both technologically and politically. It was the golden age of television. Youth culture had a voice that was about to get much louder. International diplomacy was stretched to breaking point. And our world was rapidly shrinking.

Aleks Krotoski tells the story of how the programme came about. She talks to curators from the Science Museum.

The yellowing pages of Our World's original script is one of the exhibits in the new Information Age gallery at the Science Museum. It tells the story of the evolution in how we communicate with one another. The objects in the exhibition represent cultural moments from the last 200 years - not just technological innovations.

04Leo Computer20141023

04Leo Computer20141023

The company that brought computers into business was Lyons, known for its cakes and teashops. Aleks Krotoski tells the story of how this technology transformed office work.

04Leo Computer2014102320160107 (R4)

The company that brought computers into business was Lyons, known for its cakes and teashops. Aleks Krotoski tells the story of how this technology transformed office work.

One element of the first Lyons Electronic Office, or LEO, computer is on display in the 'Information Age' gallery at the Science Museum in London. This new gallery tells the story of the evolution in how we communicate with with each other. The objects in the exhibition represent cultural moments from the last 200 years - not just technological innovations.

Aleks Krotoski talks to Dr Tilly Blyth and Jessica Bradford of the Science Museum about how Lyons brought computers to its business and hears from one of the first programmers. A tea shop manager recalls how LEO changed her working life.

05GPS20141024

05Gps2014102420160112 (R4)

Soldiers traditionally learned to find their way around with a compass and a map. Aleks Krotoski explores how GPS transformed navigation during the first Gulf War in 1991.

An early brick sized GPS device is on display in the 'Information Age' gallery at the Science Museum in London. This gallery tells the story of the evolution in how we communicate with with each other. The objects in the exhibition represent cultural moments from the last 200 years - not just technological innovations.

Aleks Krotoski tells the story of the development of GPS, from its first use by the US military to now being a part of every modern mobile phone, with Dr Tilly Blyth and Dan Green of the Science Museum, historian Professor Jeremy Black of Exeter University and a British soldier whose life was saved by it in the first Gulf War.

05 LASTGPS20141024

Soldiers traditionally learned to find their way around with a compass and a map. Aleks Krotoski explores how GPS transformed navigation during the first Gulf War in 1991.