Stuff I like about my parents’ house #5: original GPO 746

I’ve blogged before about my replica GPO 746 landline phone.  It’s a good replica, but nothing beats the feel of dialling on the real deal.  This black version, which sits on Mum and Dad’s hall table and has done since before I was born, is the real deal.

Original GPO 746
An original GPO 746.

It came with the house when Mum and Dad bought it in 1982, so we assume it dates from the ’70s.  It still works fine.  In fact, there have been times when the house has had a power cut, and because of the way that phone is connected up, it still works despite the power cut.  My brother and I discovered this once when housesitting/catsitting for Mum and Dad and trying to find a way to order pizza while the electric company were digging something up on the other side of the street.

There have been a couple of hall tables in that spot while our family has lived there, but only ever one phone.  Good old black 746.

GPO phones

Following on from my classic phone box post, it will probably come as no surprise that I also love classic GPO 746 telephones.

Replica red GPO 746
My replica GPO 746. Modern-day replicas have an additional hash and star on the rotary dial so as to be compatible with telephone banking.

Growing up, we had two original 746s in the house, a black one that came with the place when my parents bought it in 1982 and an ivory one that I think one of them might have brought from a previous flat.  The ivory one died a death sometime in the ’00s, but the black one still sits on the hall table, waiting patiently for me to adopt it eventually.  I think even in the ’90s, we were a bit behind the times  – whenever I had friends from school round and they needed to use the phone, none of them knew how to use the rotary dial.  I’m guessing most people in the UK had switched to push button models by the late ’80s.

I bought a replica 746 (shown above) from GPO Retro a year or two ago.  I love the way it looks, though the feel isn’t 100% right – there’s not quite as much spring tension on the rotary dial as there is on an original model, presumably to aid quicker dialling when dealing with automated answer systems such as telephone banking, and of course it beeps in your ear during dialling as well, unlike the originals.  Still, I’m very happy with it, and when we get round to extending the phone line upstairs in the new house, I’ll probably get one in another colour.