The telephone is generally an unavoidable part of daily life, especially in the workplace.
The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, was a “pupil-teacher” at Weston House Academy in Elgin, Moray, during his teenage years in the 1860s.
A Moray author has researched and now published a book which reveals “Elgin’s First 100 Phone Numbers”.
Derek Laing, also well-known as a lawyer and promoter of the arts, notes in the Introduction to his book that the first telephone directory to include Elgin was published in 1895. It was the release of the 1900 edition which brought the total number of subscribers to around 100.
From the numerous illustrations, you can see the variety of headed notepaper and advertising styles of the period.
It is striking to see business telephone numbers expressed as single digits.
Several iconic Elgin businesses and institutions were among the first to take up the new technology, including Gordon & MacPhail, Johnston & Company, Gray’s Hospital and The Moray & Nairn Newspaper Company Limited.
Mr Laing notes that the Sheriff Clerk’s office at Elgin Sheriff Court (542505) and Cockburns, Solicitors (542684) are the only remaining telephone numbers whose final two digits correspond with their entries among the original 100 numbers.
The legal profession in Elgin is well-represented.
Many of the businesses featured are still trading under the same (or similar) names and from the same premises.
If you want to know where these firms come in the “Top 100” you will have to buy the book to find out.
For anyone who has ever worked in Elgin – especially around the centre of Elgin – it is a fascinating insight into a past which is still present in many ways.
“Elgin’s First 100 Phone Numbers” will shortly be available from most local bookshops and can already be purchased from Yeadons Bookseller (also featured in the book).
Note: This article was originally published on the Moray Employment Law website in March 2014.