Photograph of Mary MacPhee, her baby, and a friend outside the old telephone exchange at Scarinish in 1949.
Courtesy of Mrs Mary MacPhee
Mary T. MacPhee, a friend and Mary’s son, either Christopher or Neil Urquhart in the pram, pictured outside the old telephone exchange in Scarinish in 1949. Mary had previously worked shifts at the Pitt Street exchange in Glasgow which had around two hundred operators.
In Scarinish, Mary worked twenty-four hours a day. The building had three bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and a sitting room which contained the switchboard. The operator had to connect all calls by hand. If a call came in at night an alarm bell rang in the operator’s bedroom.
Mary recalls there being only around five private telephones on the island in 1949. Calls cost one penny, sixpence or a shilling and all were monitored. The operator would interrupt to advise when the time was nearly up.