Records created and used by the Telephone Company Limited (Bell's Patents)

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of phone books (1880) and secretariat records (1879-80).

Administrative / Biographical History

The Telephone Company Ltd (Bell's Patents) was registered on 14 June 1878 to market Alexander Graham Bell's patent telephones in Great Britain. Initially, it concentrated its efforts on the sale of telephone instruments and the fitting of private lines. Its offices were at 36 Coleman Street, London where in August 1879 it opened what is believed to be Britain's first public telephone exchange. During 1879 it opened a further two exchanges in London and exchanges in Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Bristol. On 15 January 1880 it issued the first known telephone directory, listing 250 subscribers connected to the three London exchanges.

On 13 May 1880 the Telephone Company Ltd and the Edison Telephone Company were amalgamated to form the United Telephone Company

Access Information

Available for research at BT Group Archives, see

Acquisition Information

These records were transferred from the Post Office Archives between 1 June 1991 and 30 April 1992.

Other Finding Aids

Full catalogues for BT Group Archives can be searched at