Whitehall 1212 is the original telephone number of Old Scotland Yard, and also the number printed on the ‘dial’ of this retro phone I had in my Hotel room last night.
The current 999 system came about via the Metropolitan Police in London as they found that their Police Stations were being overrun either by visitors to the station alerting them to emergency situations or trying to phone them in the growing trend of using the new invention, the telephone. Not every one could remember or knew the telephone number of the local Police Station. In November of 1927 the general public in London were advised ” if you have an emergency dial 0″. When the operators answers ask for the service you require. The Metropolitan Police maintained this service till 1934 then they introduced their Information Room with the famous number of Whitehall 1212 where all emergency calls ended up. Emergency calls via telephone kept increasing and telephone operators were unable to identify emergency calls from other operator service calls.
As is normal a disaster of some description was required to prompt government action. In November of 1935 a fire occurred in London in which five people died, in the inquiry which followed it became apparent that a system was required that alerted telephone operators to emergency calls. A parliamentary Committee called the Belgrave Committee examined the problems and set up various experiments in London. A great deal of discussion took place between the Home Office, the Police and Post Office. It was decided not to use 111 as this number can be dialled by phones which are faulty. 12 was not a good idea as at that time any one wanting a number on the 12 exchange would be barred because of the emergency calls. The same could be said for 222, this would have closed a big exchange in London and that could not happen.
999 was used because the numbers could be remembered easily, that they were all at the same end of the dial. It was relatively simple to convert coin boxes to accept 999 calls with out charge. The 999 system open in London in July 1937, it was 1938 before it reached Glasgow. It was the first service of its type in the world.
Something different to end the month with. Different in that it’s kind of a self portrait (well, it’s me in the picture at least). Been reading up on Flash, and after owning the 480EX for over 6 months, I still haven’t fiured out how to use it properly.
So, with a view to practicing, I got hold of some black foamy stuff, and wrapped it round the end of the flash to focus the light in a narrow field rather than having it spill all over the room.
The flash was then attached to the wireless trigger set to 1/16th power and placed on the floor so it pointed upwards to the space where I wanted to be. I took a couple of test shots to make sure my position and the flash position worked OK (f32 was too dark, f8 let too much ambient light in for the exposurte time I wanted).
Once I was happy with the effect, I then stuck the camera on the tripod, locked the focus just in front of a black tv screen and set the timer. I had a few duff attempts where I hadn’t managed to get myself in the shot, but finally got myself in the right place. The Flash was set to first curtain sync, so as soon as it fired, I slipped out of the shot and then used a keyring torch (one of the cheapy single LED ones) to paint in some swirly light.
Post processing was just a bit of sharpening and a conversion to black and white.
Aperture – F11
Shutter Speed – 10 Seconds
ISO – 100
Went for a walk today with the dogs. Rather than retread the familiar path of the sea wall here on Canvey, we decided to travel a little further afield and ended up at Hainault Forest. The kids have never been there before, and it must be 25 yearts at least since I was there, but the memories of many a summer Saturday came flooding back. I even recognised some of the paths I used to hare up and down on my bike in the days when you could go out early on Saturday, and just come home at tea time. No mobile phones, no way of keeping in touch with home. Just a tobacco tin full of stolen dog-ends, a matchbox stuffed with tissue to stop it rattling and my bike. Despite feeling old, and realising with some sadness that the forest isn’t as big as I remember it, next time I go back, I’m going to try and find the tree I carved my name into.
Only had one decent photo as we were having so much fun. This tree intrigued me, as I couldn’t figure out if the fence had sawed it’s way into the tree as the wind blew it about, or whether the tree had grown around the fence.
Looks better larger – If you want to see a bigger version, try HERE
If that’s true, then my windows need cleaning or I have no soul. This was another one of those, what shall I do now moments. So I attached the nifty fifty to the 30D, stuck in 24mm of extension tubes and wobbled back and forth in front of the lens with the camera remote in hand. Out of 10 or so shots, this one was the only one nearly in focus.
I guess I’ll be getting bored with the macro shots shortly so will have some “proper” photos up here again before the end of the month !!