Care home resident, 88, surprised with switchboard she worked on 72 years ago

A care home resident has encouraged young professionals to “keep enjoying what you are doing” after being surprised with a switchboard just like the one she worked on 72 years ago.

June Taylor, 88, was “thrilled” as staff at Care UK’s Pear Tree Court in Horndean, Hampshire, were determined to let her relive what she called “fond memories” of her time as a telephonist.

The team organised for a replica switchboard to be made in the home just for Ms Taylor.

“There was nothing hard about my job, but the really good thing was that I enjoyed it,” Ms Taylor said.

“I have such fond memories and love the friendships I made over the years, so it was great to see a switchboard once again.”

June Taylor
Staff at Pear Tree Court said June Taylor’s face ‘lit up’ when she saw the switchboard (Care UK/PA)

Ms Taylor was born in East Ham, London, in 1935, and at just 16 she found a job at a small company operating a telephone exchange – where she first worked on switchboards.

She recalled her first manager, Mrs Craddock, who always wanted a piece of fruit cake, some cheese, and a cup of tea, which Ms Taylor would have to remember to bring to her every day at a certain time.

Ms Taylor went on to work on Regent Street in London at the Texaco oil company – and being petite, would have to stand on her chair to reach the top of the switchboard.

She married her husband, Gordon, in 1955, and the pair had four children together.

While her children were young, Ms Taylor worked in the General Post Office as a telephonist until 11pm each day while Mr Taylor looked after the children.

Ms Taylor retired in 1986 after working as a telephonist for 36 years.

Home manager at Pear Tree Court Pooja Dhoot said: “June often talks about when she used to work as a telephonist and how much she loved her job, and so we were thrilled to help reunite her with equipment she once used.

“Here at Pear Tree Court, we are always looking at ways we can encourage residents to live active and fulfilling lives and so we are delighted we could help June reminisce and share her experience with us.

“It was wonderful to see her face light up the minute she saw the switchboard and to hear so many stories from her younger years working as a telephonist.”

When asked what advice she would give young professionals today, Ms Taylor added: “Keep enjoying what you are doing and be happy.”