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The Scientific Toy & Thomas Holme

By Angela Raby

The story of the telephone and the career of Thomas Holme the first manager of Hull Corporation Telephones 1903 to 1945 

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"Why are telephone boxes cream?” is probably the question most commonly asked by visitors to Hull, and in this book Angela Raby provides a definitive answer and so much more. Using the life of Thomas Holme as the foundation, Angela has compiled an invaluable resource for the study of the history of Hull Corporation Telephones. Drawing on a great range of original sources she tells the story of the establishment of the other short-lived municipal telephone services and how Hull alone managed to retain its independent undertaking. A detailed account of the various exchanges in the city and nearby towns and villages is provided with much on those who worked there. The remarkable Thomas Holme, manager for over forty years of what is the only service of its kind in Britain, fully deserves this tribute published in the year that Hull, as UK City of Culture, celebrates its distinctiveness. 

Dr David Neave, Life Fellow, University of Hull 


Angela Raby skilfully unravels the complex and fascinating story of Hull’s unique telephone service against a backdrop of national developments and pays tribute to the many people who made it possible. Anne Read MBE 

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