The Trimphone


Brrrrrpppp, Brrrrpppp…..Brrrppp,Brrrppp……. OK, so it loses a bit in translation, but that’s what the trimphone sounded like. Before the privatisation of the British telephone system, the GPO as it was then known would only allow subscribers to rent telephones from them. The standard bulky ringer phones were fine for Mr & Mrs Average, but if you wanted a cool looking accessory for your batchelor pad, you shelled out and got one of these little beauties ! Well, all the smart dudes like Jason King had them on their coffee tables. Even the live ATV quiz The Golden Shot would show host Bob Monkhouse talking to contestants on a golden trimphone – I wonder if they got the GPO’s permission to paint it ?

Always a bit of a late starter, I didn’t subscribe to the phone service until 1981. So when the GPO Linesman offered me a chance to be a snob and pay the 10 pence extra per quarter, I jumped at the chance to have my own two-tone trimphone. However, visitors to the house were not impressed, associating it with Bob Monkhouse as opposed to Jason King. Yes I do remember The Golden Shot…… Invariably, older relatives could not get used to it’s anarchic design and I would often return to the hallway to find the handset had been replaced cross ways, the loud howling tone wailing away in the speaker, the tone the GPO used to pass down the phone if you were naughty and left it off the hook. Also, there was a gang of birds around at the time who would delight in perching on my window sill at 5 am and doing an uncanny impersonation of a ringing trimphone – bastards !