Records created and used by the United Telephone Company

Scope and Content

This collection consists of phone books (1880-89) and secretariat records including legal papers and annual reports (1880-89 with additional correspondence concerning the provenance of a booklet, 1963).

Administrative / Biographical History

The United Telephone Company (UTC) was formed through the merger of The Telephone Company Limited (Bell's Patents) and the Edison Telephone Company of London on 13 May 1880. In 1880 a legal case was brought by Post Office regarding the definition of 'telegraph' under the Telegraph Acts. On 1 January 1881 it was issued a licence from the Post Office for 31 years. The UTC formed the Provincial Telephone Company Limited in February 1881 to promote new telephone companies across the UK leaving the UTC to concentrate on London. A series of subsiduary companies were formed to operate in a specific region.

By 1889 the UTC was aware that the expiry of its master patents was approaching which added to the desirability of amalgamating the subsiduary companies with the parent organisation. This amalgamation took place on 1 May 1889 under the name of the National Telephone Company.

Access Information

Available for research at BT Group Archives, see

Acquisition Information

These records were transferred by 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