Special Range telephones
In the 1970s the GPO found some customers were unhappy with the standard choice of GPO phones and imported some 'exotic' phones from abroad. They were usually in antique styles.
At the time it was illegal to connect the foreign phones to the GPO's network.
In 1978 the GPO introduced 'Special Range' telephones for a one-off extra charge and higher rentals.
In 1978 there was a choice of just two new phones in the Special Range: The 'Classic Telephone' by STC (SR1000) and Plessey's Mickey Mouse phone, the SR1001.
The GPO added a reproduction version of the classic Candlestick to the Special Range in 1979. In 1980, the Swedish modern style of the the Ericofon joined the line up. In 1981 the Special Range comprised:
- Classic SR1000 - an antique-style phone, introduced in 1978
- Mickey Mouse phone, SR1001, introduced in 1978
- Comtempra SR1002, a modern phone made by Northern Telecom and sold in the UK by GEC
- Candlestick phone SR1005, made by STC, introduced in 1979
- Deltaphone SR1006 (dial version) and SR1016 (PB version) - a leather clad Trimphone
- Dawn made by Northern Telecom, introduced in 1981
- Ericofon - Swedish modern classic, added to the range in 1980
The push-button Trimphone represented the modern forward looking aspect of the 70s which embraced digital watches, colour TV and pocket calculators. For some though, modern was old hat. The appeal of vintage design and nostalgia, which became a prominent force in the 80s, began in the 1970s.
If your idea of cutting edge style was Victorian or Art Deco, and you could afford it, the GPO provided Special Range Telephones (SRT) available at substantial extra cost. The Candlestick or S1005B is one example.
By Steven Braggs, updated December 2020