The GPO (General Post Office) was created by Oliver Cromwell's Parliament in 1657, which declared: 'There shall be one General Post Office and one officer styled the Postmaster-General of England.' However, Charles II recognised none of Cromwell's laws so issued a very similar act in 1660, which confirmed the formation of The Post Office. The law made the GPO the sole carrier of post in the UK and forbade all competition. In 1870 GPO took control of Britain's telegraph network and assumed complete control of the telephone network in 1912. From then on the GPO was monopoly supplier of both the telephone and telegraph networks until 1982, when the first carrier was licensed in competition with the new British Telecom (successor to Post Office Telecommunications).
The original GPO Telephones
were produced by the General Post Office in the UK from the advent of the telephone in the mid-19th century, right up to the late 20th Century whilst the telephone network was still a publicly run service. Within that one hundred and fifty year period the GPO released a huge amount of memorable and sturdy phones designed for everyday use which were eventually discontinued as the company was turned into a private corporation in the 1980s and technology moved on to satisfy a demand for cheaper products.