• This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1814 PH
  • Dates of Creation
      1800 - ongoing
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      22 series

Scope and Content

Photographic collection of BT Archives

Access Information


Acquisition Information

The term photograph excludes microfilm/fiche including aperture cards. The definition used includes photographic material for which the primary purpose is visual (rather than technical or informational) ie: • Negatives • Transparencies/slides • Prints • Albums • Lantern slides • Digital images

Bulk of the photographic collections came from BT Reprographics, 211 Old Street (2009/009). The collections that came to BT Archives include material that is both telecommunications and postal, although for a while under its care BT Reprographics sent material identified as purely postal to their sister body within the Post Office.

There are some large gaps in the collection due to damage which occurred during their time at BT Reprographics.

It was BT Reprographics which started the practice of storing negatives and prints together (not now recognised as archival standard).

The main series and sequences from BT Reprographics are: • E series (TCB 417): engineering images although more and more appear in customer literature throughout time; earliest sequence starting in 1909 with approx 80k photographs • P series (TCB 473): publicity sequence, started in 1934 during Stephen Tallents era (1933-35) • TS [Training School] series (TCB 543): small series; no negatives • Lecture series: seems to have been two lecture series (1) books with no negatives, (2) supplementary list of lectures for which negatives are held • CS series (TCC 388): Cable ship series • T series (TCB 346): construction of BT Tower • Sat series (TCB 441): satellites • Res series: research photographs from Dollis Hill; very few have survived – the originals having been destroyed at Martlesham, although a few have found their way from various sources within BT; no index is known to exist ** • STU series (TCB 581): studio series; believed to be photography undertaken by BT Reprographics • Circuit lab series: these did not come from BT Reprographics** but from the circuit lab itself, their job was to test every piece of equipment; there is no index** but photographs feature in circuit lab reports (box series 2); very technical • Date series (TCB 477): mainly from when 35mm was used • C series (TCB 476); formerly thought to be a copy negative series although investigations at one point expected to indicate that this is actually lecture C it does have its own index** • BTI photos: mostly transparencies eg Goonhilly, Madley – produced by BTI and then transferred to BT Reprographics • Lantern slides core sequence:1890s-1930s; predominately NTC and GPO lectures on training or promotion; some are hand coloured; each lecture will be a separate series and these will be brought together under a sub-sub fonds • Albums: the core group of albums [this is not defined] came from BT Reprographics including two volumes on Birmingham Tower

In their referencing, BT Reprographics often used the suffix 'c' to indicate that a negative was in colour; although this is not necessarily consistent and later images used suffixes 'a-z' to indicate eg different shots of the same subject.

Around the time of separation from the Post Office, BT set up its own corporate picture library called 'Telefocus'.

Telefocus inherited all the material that had been in BT Reprographics and also included external photography mostly from Ray Daniels who retained the negative. In the past RD and BT had disputes about who owned the copyright to the images (as far as BT Archives is aware this was not resolved and there is no evidence that BT does not own copyright to these images).