Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Aberdeen Lochnagar


Well ... the mountain is visible from within the parish boundaries of Aberdeen.

Just beyond the dark ridge of the horizon to the right of centre,
 you can see the snow-covered shoulder of the mountain.
(Photo taken from Gairnhill Wood in October.)
But that's not what we're on about today.

No, not that either.

This is "Aberdeen Lochnagar". The main BT (formerly General Post Office) telephone exchange. It's on Aberdeen's Bon-Accord Street in the city centre.

A fine-enough neo-classical 20th century building. Pink and Grey Granite with some nice details. It's solidity speaks of the certainty and surety provided by the state in its delivery of infrastructure technology in what was paradoxically a much more insecure era than that we live in today.

The ground floor of the building was once occupied by the magnetic relays and swichgear which physically connected phone calls. The clicking and whirring could be heard as you walked past.

At one time, the same work would have been done by human operators.

Technology and progress move on, and the exchange recently took part in BT's "Race to Infinity", when residents could place votes to reach a threshold at which BT would prioritise the exchange for installation of superfast fiber-optic broadband internet capability.

Aberdeen Lochnagar did not do well in the race.

While our civic leaders mull real estate deals, urban dual carriageways and bypass motorways, here at Other Aberdeen, we cannot help but think that they've missed something of profound importance for our future here.

Edit: 27 January 2011.

Well - better late than never, we suppose.
P&J Article: Broadband bid to let Aberdeen lead recovery

Though we do have our reservations about their conceit that Aberdeen is the dynamo which will pull the UK out of recession, and beneath the article there is a reader comment which appears to have largely missed the point.

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