Jesmond Exchange

History

The Jesmond Exchange building has a great history which has inspired the brand, decor and of course the name of the accommodation.

Formerly a telephone exchange for British Telecommunications, and one of the largest and most important telephone exchanges serving Newcastle upon Tyne, the building housed an extensive range of equipment, as well as employing a wide range of highly-trained staff to operate it.

There are historical images on display around the building to give a sense of its heritage and how it may have looked in years gone by. There are also industrial finishes throughout the building, combining this with sleek modern facilities to give Jesmond Exchange a unique and stylish feel.

Even our logo and signage is inspired by the switch ports of the telephone system to create the dots displayed within the lettering.

The age of the exchange

Telephone exchanges were first created in the late 1800s to facilitate calls between different areas and phone handsets. They usually consisted of a large panel of switches, indicator lights, ports and cords to enable the connection and transfer of phone calls.

When a person dialled the switchboard, their light on the panel would flash to show the operator there was an incoming call. They would then plug in the front cord and converse with the caller. Once it was established who they wished to speak to, the operator would then plug in another cord to the receiver’s port to transfer the call across.

Originally exchange panels were relatively small but as the use of the telephone increased, they expanded rapidly with some being floor to ceiling in height to accommodate the number of ports for each telephone.

This soon became impractical for an operator to handle and eventually they were set up in A and B boards with two separate operators to transfer calls.

In the 1960s, digitisation was introduced and manual switching was gradually replaced with electronic systems. Technology has advanced considerably since, with the introduction of fibre optic cables and of course mobile telephone handsets able to make calls worldwide.