The Lincolnshire Heritage Exchange

So Where Did it Start?

At the age of sixteen the first thing I collected was two 2+4 doll’s eye switchboards which had been installed as a teaching aid in my school.  After a serious fire they were condemned to the skip, I rescued them along with the two 200 series telephones attached, these were heavy, but luckily I had a friend who lived very close by.  So in some part the family Fell are partly responsible for the obsession my interest has become.  One of these switchboards I still have and the other I exchanged for a 10+50 manual switchboard with a friend (now they really are heavy).

As with most young people you never really realise what you have when you have it, various phones came and went and none where ever appreciated.  Though there is a long gap between those days and my collection now, but I always had the thing about telephones, many a relative had their phone dismantled all the plastic parts cleaned and then amazingly reassembled in working condition.  But it was not until I was in my mid forties that the hobby became the beginnings of an obsession.

SBC-ATE-001The good thing about starting again is you actually appreciate what it is you have, My passion had been for smaller switchboards and telephones of the 60’s and 70’s and later in life I was able to start collecting things that I liked.  I always like having phones wired up, and I can say there has been an array of systems, switchboards and telephones within our household.

In 2004 I had become interested in the mechanical switch STROWGER, I was no stranger to these as I had in the late 70’s worked for the Post Office on underground maintenance for a while.  It proved not to be me, my heart was really into the equipment not the hole in the ground.  Back to the Strowger switches, I had the good fortune of acquiring a UAX13 ‘A’ rack from a gentleman Boston way, it had been sat in his garage for fourteen years.

Now I believe in things meant to be and as a child we used to drive between Lincoln and Wainfleet, and in all those years I had grown fond of a big house in Winceby, so Winceby was already a name in my heart.  As it happened I would often call into Winceby telephone exchange whilst working for the post office, so imagine my delight when I found out this first ‘A’ rack had come from Winceby exchange.  I would have actually walk past that rack every time I went into that exchange and so the rack and me have a bond that goes way beyond it being just a lump of iron.

The rack came home and in my garage I spent many a long and cold hour learning about the way it worked and in time I had bits of wire hung from this and hung from that………. Magic.    Around the same time I meet a guy called Andy who had many exchange racks, UAX6, UAX7 and UAX12 I don’t recall if he had any UAX13.  I was captivated and also extremely surprised to see so many racks some working, some not, and it was through Andy that two things happened to me. 

Firstly Andy got me interested in CNET the collector’s network, where people just like me had their exchange racks connected to people with other exchange racks, both here in the UK and in the USA and now the world (WOW).  The second thing I have to thank Andy for is his UAX6 rack, which he said I could have (a small fee was offered and accepted as a token) this rack now stand proud in my exchange and is working once again.

Ok lets get back to the yards of wires hung from the garage roof, it was clear that I needed to wire these up better so I shifted them and made a line down the middle of the garage and started that task.  I soon had them wired, not as the perfectionist would have them but this was a hobby and I was still very green.

Once you start on something like this it just seems to take over and there have been more and more additions, so now I have the UAX6 rack my original Winceby UAX13 rack, a UAX12 rack, two further UAX13 ‘A’ racks with the ‘C’ rack and a wall full of junction relay sets and other relay sets.  As this website develops I will try and discuss these further along with the other equipment that I have, I hope along the way you find something of interest.

Thanks for reading


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