Jura phone artefact goes on display
A MANUAL telephone exchange used on Jura from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s is among more than 3,000 objects going on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh as part of the opening of 10 new galleries within the museum.
From 1949 until 1974, Effie Macdougall was the only telephone operator for Jura. Effie ran the Jura exchange from the main room in her house, connecting calls made to or from the island or between subscribers on Jura.
At first, with only 20 subscribers, Effie was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. Her parrot, Patsy, kept her company from its cage on top of the exchange. As well as speaking Gaelic, Patsy regularly used operator phrases such as ‘number please’, ‘ hold on’ and ‘ you are through’.
The manual exchange was replaced by an automatic system in 1974. The last call in the UK connected through a manual exchange was made on the island of Skye in October 1976.
The 10 new galleries are opening following a £14.1 million redevelopment in the National Museum of Scotland’s 150th anniversary year.