Post Office Regional Training Centre - RTC Bletchley
Post Office RTC Bletchley
After the war, Bletchley Park was used as a Regional Training Centre for all departments of the Post Office, especially telephone engineers who learnt about Strowger telephone equipment, line plant and pole climbing...




Photo: Trainee engineers at the Post Office Training Centre (Bletchley) 1968. G Block is just visible in the background.
| EXIT | Regional Training Centre | Map of The Park | The Courses | Bletchley TEC |
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Introduction

At the end of World War II, the Post Office had many new recruits needing training before they could start on their duties. Local, non-residential training centres were the first solution, but it was decided that a centralised training centre would be the long term solution.

Thousands of Post Office staff, engineers, telephonists, clerical and postal grades spent some time, 'in the Park', during their career, so in this section we focus on just some of those memories. Training covered a wide range of disciplines over the years from 1948 right through to the more modern times of British Telecom and finally up to 1993 when BT moved out.



Map of The Park 1965  
RTC 1965
Post Office training covered a large part of the Park, but much evidence of this has been lost since BT vacated the site in 1993.

Left to right across the top section of the map:

PO Training (1) was in H Block.
Hostel was Gifford House (F Block) demolished 1987.
PO Training (2) (G Block) outside of BP Trust core area.
Training Field outside of BP Trust core area, being developed for housing.

The women's hostel (bottom left of map) was just outside the Park in Wilton Avenue.

Click for a larger map.

Scan: Map of The Park 1965.

Government Departments

As the military (and code breaking civilians) moved out of the Park, then other government departments moved in. Thus by 1947, Bletchley Park already had a teacher training college and was running courses for GCHQ radio operators. The Post Office ceased to be a government department in October 1969.

Post Office Training

In the Home Counties Region, it was proposed to set up a residential Training School for all sections of Post Office Personnel. Bletchley, with its central location was ideally suited to the requirements of the Post Office, which at that time was still a government department. Thus in 1948, the local training centres began to transfer to the Park.

Several names were used for this location, viz: 'Bletchley HCR (Home Counties Regional) Training Centre', 'Bletchley RTC (Regional Training Centre' and 'Bletchley Postal Training Centre'.

[In 1965 Home Counties split into Eastern and South Eastern Regions.]

Post Office Telecoms training expanded with the building of Faulkner House in 1968 and the two hostels, Clare House and Villiers House in 1971.


The Courses  
The Courses
Post Office sections gradually moved into various buildings within the Park and courses were held for telecoms, postal and clerical. 


Photo: Engineering course R2/3 1965. With thanks to Bruce Lloyd for scan.
   
Bletchley TEC (Telephone Engineering Centre)

The P.O. Stores (see map above) was the local TEC until about 1970 when it relocated to Tavistock Street.

P.O. Stores - Location  
P.O. Stores
How it was: Screenshot showing location within Park.





Map/image © 2007 Google and Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky, The GeoInformation Group.
P.O. Stores
The P.O. Stores buildings on the edge of the development site(s).





P.O. Stores © LSA Oct 2012.
Cafeteria  
Cafeteria
How it was: Screenshot showing location within Park.





Map/image © 2007 Google and Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky, The GeoInformation Group.
Cafeteria in Wilton Avenue
The cafeteria has been disused for many years.





Cafeteria in Wilton Avenue © LSA Oct 2012.
Women's Hostel  
The Women’s Hostel appears to have been built in the 1960s on Buckinghamshire Education Department land, located beside the cricket ground at the southern end of Wilton Avenue. It was one of the first areas to be redeveloped.

Bletchley Driving Test Centre occupies part of the land at Block 4, Government Buildings, Wilton Hostel, Wilton Avenue.
Women's Hostel Lounge
The Women's Hostel Lounge.





Photo: P4431 © BT Heritage 1950.
Locations:  
G Block  
G Block
Despite the flaking paint of G BLOCK, the British Telecom sign was still visible in 1999.




Photo: G Block © LSA Oct 1999.
1970s Hostels
BT Hostels 1970s
Clare House and Villiers House were two accommodation blocks, built in 1971, during the Post Office Telecoms era of training courses in the Park.



Photo: BT Hostel viewed from inside the Park © Mark Coster 2010.
BT Hostels 1970s
Another view of the Hostel which was demolished in 2010.




Photo: BT Hostel viewed from Sherwood Drive © Mark Coster 2010.
Demolished
Quite possibly, the remains of the Telecom Hostels... as the periphery of the Park undergoes re-development.




Photo: Demolished - a pile of debris © LSA Oct 2012.
Hostels and Sick Bay
How it was: Screenshot showing the locations of the 1971 Post Office Telecoms Hostels and Leon House which replaced the original Sick Bay. All of these are outside of the 'core-area' and are due for redevelopment in line with local regeneration policy. Thanks to Mark Coster for the three photos below.



Map/image © 2007 Google and Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky, The GeoInformation Group.
Sick Bay  
 Leon House
Leon House (for executive training) replaced the wartime Sick Bay in 1980.




Photo: Leon House © Mark Coster 2010.
Sick Bay - Lounge
Sick Bay - Lounge.



Photo: P 4436 © BT Heritage 1951.
Sick Bay - Single bed ward
Sick Bay - Single bed ward.



Photo: P 4434 © BT Heritage 1950.
Faulkner House  
Faulkner House
Faulkner House was built to the north of H Block in 1968, for GPO Engineering, but later for Management Training.





Photo: Faulkner House © Light Straw Archives 1999.
Other Centres

In the field of poles photo at the top of this page there are no ladders visible and this bears out the statement 'the poles were only 8ft high'. But do engineers practice pole climbing nowadays?
   
Openreach Training 2011
Openreach training 2011 style...

Real people, real poles, but with all the latest safety gear.


Photo: Olivia Garfield and colleagues at an Openreach training site © VisMedia August 2011.

A wartime outstation of Bletchley was just four miles away at Drayton Parslow. In January 1966 a residential school for 120 students was opened and GPO external jointing courses were held there. By the late 1980s the site had been redeveloped.

A residential Central Training School was established in Stone, Staffordshire, for specialised aspects of engineering training.


Acknowledgements

The History of Bletchley Park and Mansion (April 1965) D.C. Low
Post Office Vehicle Club
Bletchley Park Area Masterplan & Supplementary Planning Guide
www.old-maps.co.uk
English Heritage
Bruce Lloyd
Mark Coster

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