England To India Telephone Service Inauguration, 1933

An old 1933 cigarette card showing the inauguration of England to India telephone service. The text at the back of this card reads “All Empire programmes are radiated from the Empire Broadcasting Station… The wide differences throughout the Empire mean that the service operates both during day and night hours in England.

Our picture shows the inauguration on May 1st, 1933, of England to India telephone service… Sir Kingsley Wood, then Postmaster-General, is shown with Sir B. N. Mitra on his right and Sir Samuel Hoare on his left…” See image for the complete text. Communication between Britain and India had always been challenging.

A journey to India took six months during the period of the East India Company. Likewise, postal articles that were part of the ship’s cargo evidently took the same time to reach India. But once the Suez Canal opened in 1869 the travel time was reduced to a mere 4 to 6 weeks. Although the introduction of the telegraph and later aviation helped speed things up faster.

It allowed civil servants and the military to communicate with their counterparts in Calcutta and Delhi. Once the introduction of the telephone service took place between England and India, the colonial rulers got a better grip on the land. But on the contrary, India would get its independence 14 years later in 1947. Click on the photo for better view.

Did you know – the service was initially restricted to Bombay (Mumbai) and Poona (Pune). A three-minute call from anywhere in Great Britain was £6, and the other way from India to Britain the cost was a stupendous 80 rupees.

From the collection – 1964 M. Suriyamoorthy Charcoal Art Abstract (#17)., Newly Completed Crawford Market Mumbai 1870., South Parade or M G Road Bangalore, 1905 Postcard., Bombay Through A Camera – Picture Book 1910.

The images are of the actual items from my collection. And Not a photocopy, pirated, reproduced, stock photos, or taken from other sources.