A Fanfare for Prestel

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The text and images below are from a promotional booklet given out at a presentation I attended at Wembley Conference Centre on 25 March 1980.

prestel

Welcome

from Peter Benton Managing Director Post Office Telecommunications

I am delighted that you could join us at 'A Fanfare For Prestel'. It is something of a celebration, and I believe we have plenty to celebrate. Since the decision in February 1978 to launch a public Prestel service, we have:

Developed the software and hardware for the world's largest computerised information service.

Installed it as a fully operating system, with the associated computers, telecommunications plant, and staff.

Developed, with the TV set and telecommunications industries, a comprehensive range of Prestel sets which solve, for the first time, the problems of connecting TV sets directly to the telephone network.

Assembled, with the Information Providers, the only database in the world which is sufficiently broad in scope, and lively in presentation, to appeal to the general public as well as to the business user.

But this is only the beginning. For Prestel, success depends on growth. All the parties who have invested in Prestel (chip makers, set makers, set distributors, Post Office, and Information Providers) need rapid growth in the number of Prestel users. We need tens of thousands in 1980, and millions during the 1980s. For, as with other electronic products, volume production is the key to cheapness - which is the key to mass demand; and a big market will encourage the provision of a large, varied and topical database. Success will breed success.

We have therefore agreed with our partners to mount a substantial promotional campaign for Prestel in 1980. Starting this month, we are combining press advertising, TV advertising and a series of events here at Wembley, including 'A Fanfare For Prestel'. Our purpose this evening is to provide a light-hearted but informative review of Prestel's progress and plans. I hope you enjoy it.


Prestel

The Invention of Prestel

Prestel, the Post Office's viewdata service, links TV set, telephone, and computer to provide instant access, in home or office, to more than 150,000 pages of advice and information. Prestel was launched in 1979 in London, Birmingham and Nottingham. It was invented by the Post Office, and is the only service of its kind in the world.

A Prestel TV set looks and works like any other, but it has 12 extra control buttons. Behind these buttons lies extra electronic circuitry, which is connected to the existing telephone line. Within some telephone exchanges there are now Prestel computers, each holding more than 150,000 pages of information, contributed by hundreds of independent organisations. Every page has a number, and by punching that number on the control buttons the user can instantly display any of these pages of information on his TV screen. Because the telephone line provides a two-way link between TV set and computer, the user can send electronic messages back to the computer - for example for mail order shopping, or seat reservation.

Sister Services

Viewdata is the common name for this type of service; Prestel is the trademark of the Post Office viewdata service. There is a closely related family of services known as `teletext'. The BBC's teletext service is called Ceefax; the ITV teletext service is called Oracle.

These teletext services also send pages of information to the TV screen, but they do it over the air rather than over the telephone line. They are cheaper than Prestel, but their capacity is much smaller (hundreds of pages instead of hundreds of thousands) and they are purely one-way, towards the viewer; Prestel works in two directions. The BBC, IBA, and Post Office regard all these services as complementary, and have collaborated closely in their technical development.

Prestel was invented by Sam Fedida at the Post Office's research centre, which has carried out the subsequent development jointly with the Post Office's Data Processing Executive. This work gave Britain a world lead in computerised information services. We have sold our technology to telecommunications administrations in the Netherlands, West Germany, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and the USA.

Prestel Today

As this programme goes to press (February 1980), Prestel is available on a local call basis in London, Birmingham and Nottingham. There are just over 2,000 homes and offices equipped with Prestel sets. The 150,000 pages in the database are provided by more than 200 newspapers, news agencies, magazines, book publ ishors, firms, clubs, and Government departments. They cover subjects from Accounting, Agriculture, Air Travel and Ancient Monuments, to Wine, Yachting, Yoga and Zinc.

The pages are typed into the computer, and updated, from more than 100 computer terminals in Information Providers' premises. Many pages are free; others (for example those from commercial publishers) may carry a page charge of a few pence. This money is counted by the Prestel computers, collected by the Post Office, and passed back to the Information Provider as revenue.

During 1980, Prestel will spread within local call reach of more than half the telephones in the UK.


prestel ticket


Credits

Inventor of viewdata: Sam Fedida

Inventor of viewdata: Sam Fedida

Music

Musical Director, Royal Corps of Signals: Lt.Col. Keith Boulding
Leader of Prestellies: Dave Wood (Post Office Data Processing Executive)
Prestellies: Colin Hobson, Philip Lord, Chris Lambert, Mike Rowe, Nick Eales (Post Office Data Processing Executive)

The Prestel Connection

Originated for Prestel by: The Boase Massimi Pollitt Univas Partnership
Production Company: Brooks Fulford Cramer Seresin Ltd

Director: Len Fulford

Harry Lemon: Leonard Rossiter
Miss Shilling: Vicky Michelle
Boss: Johnny Shannon

1st Thug: Maurice Bush
2nd Thug: Gil Morris
The Blonde: Sue Vanner
The Vicar: Preston Lockwood
Script: Graham Collis & Derek Hass

Prestel Equipment

Head of Prestel Research & Development: Keith Clarke
Giant Keypad: Peter Rout (Post Office Research Centre)

Design & Photography

Graphic Design: James Sutton

Photography: Roland Schneider & Franz Gloor

Production

Programme Co-ordinator: Roy Chapman, Prestel Service Division
Audio Visual Systems: Tony Tapper, Post Office Telecommunications Marketing Executive

Demonstration Prestel Pages: Mike Samuels, Prestel Service Division
Telecommunications Facilities: London Telecommunications Region, North West Area, and London Prestel Centre

Buzby: Derek Francis, London Telecommunications Region
Ushers: London Telecommunications Region, North West Area
Auditorium Facilities: Wembley Conference Centre
Presenter: Alex Reid (Director of Prestel)

prestel in 1980 house


Some Showrooms with Prestel



Birmingham Area



Currys Ltd
5 Martineau Way
Union Street
Birmingham

Telefusion Ltd
850 Bristol Road South
Northfield
Birmingham

Co-operative Society
High Street
Birmingham

Birmingham Co-operative Society
37 Whitmore Road
Birmingham

Ladds
290 Haunch Lane
Kingsheath
Birmingham

Telefusion Ltd
1839/41 Pershore Road
Cotteridge
Birmingham

Telefusion Ltd
23 Drury Lane
Birmingham

Visionhire
1074 Warwick Road
Acocks Green
Birmingham

Visionhire
124 High Street
Kings Heath
Birmingham

Visionhire
94 High Street
Sollihull

Visionhire
22 Sandwell Centre
West Brornwich
West Midlands

Visionhire
Unit 24 South Hall
New Street Shopping Centre

Visionhire
80 The Parade
Gracechurch Centre
Sutton Coldfield

DER Ltd
103 The Parade
Sutton Coldfield

DER Ltd
8 Corporation Street
Birmingham

DER Ltd
82 High Street
Solihull
West Midlands

Bradford Area



Peter Dyer
40 Bradford Street
Shipley
Yorkshire

Brighton Area



L Booth
35 South Street
Eastbourne
Sussex

Multi-Broadcast
21 London Road
Brighton
Sussex

Multi-Broadcast
28 West Street
Horsham
Sussex

Multi-Broadcast
24-26 Blatchington Rd
Hove
Sussex

Bristol Area



Telefusion Ltd
61 Queens Square
Bristol

Canterbury Area



DER Ltd
37 New Road
Gravesend
Kent

Multi-Broadcast
96 Week Street
Maidstone
Kent

Multi-Broadcast
3 Middle Row
Ashford
Kent

Chester Area



T E Roberts
26 King Street
Wrexham
Clwydd

Colchester Area



A E L Tyler
189 Felixstowe Road
Ipswich

Suffolk
Multi-Broadcast '
79 Culver Street East
Colchester
Essex

Coventry Area



Taylors of Nuneaton
Abbey Street
Nuneaton
Warks

Dundee Area



Ian Whitehead
Woodmill Ford Road
Dunfermline

Edinburgh Area



Multi-Broadcast
9/10 Ormiston Terrace
Costorphine
Edinburgh

Multi-Broadcast
10 South Bridge
Edinburgh

Visionhire
90 Gorgie Road
Edinburgh

Visionhire
127/135 High Street
Musselburgh

Visionhire
478 George Street
Edinburgh

DER Ltd
140 Lothian Road
Edinburgh

Glasgow Area



Multi-Broadcast
77 Union Street
Glasgow
Multi-Broadcast
345 Victoria Road
Glasgow

J W Smillie
Busby Road
Clarkston
Glasgow

A Bigar
Arlington Street
Glasgow
Visionhire

735 Annisland Road
Knightswood
Glasgow

Visionhire

94 Queens Street
Glasgow
Visionhire

215 Byres Road
Glasgow
DER Ltd

13 Renfield Street
Glasgow

Guildford Area



Multi-Broadcast
16 Obelisk Way
Camberley
Surrey

Multi-Broadcast
134 High Street
Dorking
Surrey

Multi-Broadcast
30 Queensmead
Farnborough
Hampshire

Multi-Broadcast
3A High Street
Goldalming
Surrey

Multi-Broadcast
60B North Street
Guildford
Surrey

Leeds Area



Telefusion Ltd
Atlas Chambers
King Street
Leeds

Telefusion Ltd
92 Merrion Centre
Leeds

Leicester Area



Multi-Broadcast
5 Windsor Street
Melton Mowbray

Stewart Westmorland
Saxby Road Industrial
Estate Unit 6
Melton Mowbray

Liverpool Area



Multi-Broadcast
81 Lord Street
Liverpool

Telefusion Ltd
Unit 2
228/230 Breck Road
Liverpool

Visionhire
45 Houghton Way
St Johns Precinct
Liverpool

Visionhire
182 Allerton Road
Liverpool

DER Ltd
72 Church Street
Liverpool

London (Centre Area)



Drazin Ltd
57 Heath Street
London NW3

Ryman Ltd
6 Great Portland Street
London W1

Ryman Ltd
106 New Bond Street
London W1

John Lewis Partnership & Co Ltd
Oxford Street
London W1

Granada
15 Harben Parade
Finchley Road
London NW3

DER Ltd
9 Goodge Street
St Pancras
London Wl

DER Ltd
188 Edgware Road
Marble Arch
London W2

Radio Rentals
114 Notting Hill Gate
London W11

London (City Area)



Ryman Ltd
85 London Wall
London EC2

London (East Area)



Comet Radio
Rainham Road
South Dagenham

GEM TV & Radio Services Ltd
313 High Road
London E11

Multi-Broadcast
224 Heathway
Dagenham

GEM TV & Radio Services Ltd
337 High Road
London E11

Van Haaren
323 Chingford Road
Walthamstow
London E17

Broadway Music
4 The Broadway
Woodford Green
Essex
D P Leake
214 High Road
Woodford Green
Essex
Telefusion Ltd
127 High Road
Loughton
Essex
Visionhire
194 High Road
Loughton
Essex
Visionhire
246 Hoe Street
London E17

DER Ltd
82 High Street
Barkingside
Essex
DER Ltd
63 High Street
Walthamstow
London E17

DER Ltd
599 Lea Bridge Road
London E10

DER Ltd
29 Laurie Walk
Romford
Essex
DER Ltd
231 High Street
Loughton
Essex

Multi-Broadcast
13 High Street
Walthamstow
London E17

Multi-Broadcast
24 High Street
Walthamstow
London E17

Multi-Broadcast
130 Barking Road
London E16

Multi-Broadcast
80 High Street North
East Ham
London E6

Multi-Broadcast
75 Cranbrook Road
Ilford
Essex

Granada
24 Market Place
Romford
Essex
Radio Rentals
5 Lockwood Walk
Romford
Essex
Radio Rentals
31/33 Oldchurch Road
Chingford
London E4

Currys Ltd
51 High Street
Barkingside
Essex

London (North Area)



Comet Radio
Station Close
Darkes Lane
Potters Bar

Brahams
758 Green Lanes
London N21

Multi-Broadcast
4 Chase Side
London N14

Stan Rosser
138 High Street
Barnet
Herts

Visionhire
473 Alexandra Avenue
Rayners Lane
Harrow
Middlesex

Multi-Broadcast
545A High Road
Tottenham
London N17

Multi-Broadcast
5 Bartholemew Court
High Street
Waltham Cross
Herts

Multi-Broadcast
746 High Road
North Finchley
London N12

Multi-Broadcast
20 Upper Street
London N1

DER Ltd
410 High Street
Tottenham
London N17

London (North Central Area)



Ryman Ltd
19 High Holborn
London WC1

Telefusion Ltd
15-17 City Road
London EC1

Wilec Ltd
82 City Road
London EC1

Berry's Radio
319 High Holborn
London WC1

Grahams
14/16 Exmouth Market
London EC1

Redfern
798 Holloway Road
London N19

London (North West Area)



Comet Radio
The Old Book Centre
North Circular Road
London NW10

A C Nunney
118 High Street
Edgeware
Middlese
X
John Lewis Partnership
Brent Cross Shopping Centre
London NW4

Bridge Radio
210 Headstone Drive
Harrow
Middlese
X
Radio Lu
X 108 The Parade
High Street
Watford
Herts

Ketts Ltd
115-117 High Street
Watford
Herts

Visionhire
108 Station Road
Edgware
Middlese
X
Visionhire
696 High Road
Finchley
London N12

Visionhire
87 Golders Green Rd
Golders Green
London NW1l

Visionhire
81 The Broadway
Cricklewood
London NW2

DER Ltd
246 Station Road
Edgware
Middlese
X
DER Ltd
100 High Street
Watford
Herts

DER Ltd
11 Harben Parade
Swiss Cottage
London NW3

Multi-Broadcast
141 Finchley Road
London NW3

Multi-Broadcast
76 High Street
Watford
Herts

Multi-Broadcast
8 Central Square
Wembley
Middlese
X
Multi-Broadcast
83 High Road
Willesdon
London NW10

Rediffusion
32 Clarendon Road
Harrow
Middlese
X

London (South Area)



Comet Radio
190 London Road
Hackbridge

Multi-Broadcast
22 Norfolk House
George Street
Croydon

Seamans TV
24 High Street
Carshalton
Surrey

Visionhire
199 High Street
Beckenham
Kent

Visionhire
8 Whitgift Centre
Croydon

Visionhire
168 High Street
Sutton
Surrey

DER Ltd
193 High Street
Sutton
Surrey

DER Ltd
38 Church Street
Croydon

Multi-Broadcast
5 Langdale Parade
Fairgreen East
Mitcham
Surrey

Multi-Broadcast
24 Church Street
Reigate
Surrey

Multi-Broadcast
39 Woodcote Road
Wallington
Surrey

Granada
33 The Mall
Whitgift Centre
Croydon

Radio Rentals
94 Whitgift Centre
Croydon

London (South Central Area)



Derwent Television
279 Kensington
High Street
London W8

Piercy Ltd
56 Lupus Street
London SW1

Ryman Ltd
107 Jermyn Street
London SW1

Ryman Ltd
56 Brompton Road
London SW3

Tops TV Ltd
133 Fulham Road
London SW3

Tops TV Ltd
97 Lower Sloane Street
London SW1

Peter Jones
Sloane Square
London SW1

Visionhire
413 North End Road
Fulham
London SW6

Visionhire
151 Dawes Road

Fulham
London SW6

Visionhire
36 Moreton Street
Victoria
London SW1

Rediffusion
Carlton House
11c Lower Regent Street
London SW1

Radio Rentals
15 Warwick Way
Victoria
London SW1

London (South East Area)



Comet Radio
82 Rushey Green
London SE6

Derwent Television
42 High Street
Bromley

Multi-Broadcast
15 High Street
Sidcup

W Lomas
240 Broadway
Bexley Heath
Kent

MHL
342 Crofton Road
Orpington
Kent

Visionhire
3 Market Square
Bromley
Kent

Visionhire
194 High Street
Lewisham
London SE13

Visionhire
10 Green End
Woolwich
London SE18

DER Ltd
29 The Walnuts
Orpington
Kent

Multi-Broadcast
223 The High Street
Orpington
Kent

Mulli-Broadcast
15 High Street
Sidcup
Kent

Multi-Broadcast
354 Norwood Road
West Norwood
London SE27

Multi-Broadcast
The Broadway
Bexley
Kent

Multi-Broadcast
16 High Street
Bromley
Kent

Multi-Broadcast
2 Winslade Way
Catford
SE6

Multi-Broadcast
164 Trafalgar Road
Greenwich
London SE10

Multi-Broadcast
127 Lewisham High Street
London SE9

Rediffusion
7 Passey Place
Eltham SE9

Radio Rentals
29 Market Square
Bromley
Kent

Radio Rentals
205 High Street
Orpington
Kent

London (South West Area)



Multi-Broadcast
36 High Street
Esher

Paul Electrical Co Ltd
250 Grand Drive
London SW20

Coopers
27 Station Approach
Hinchley Wood
Esher

Ketts Ltd
2 Richmond Road
Kingston
Surrey

Visionhire
63 High Street
New Malden
Surrey

Visionhire
41 High Street
Putney
London SW15

Visionhire
147 Clarence Street
Kingston
Surrey

Multi-Broadcast
82 London Road
Morden
Surrey

Multi-Broadcast
71 High Street
New Malden
Surrey

Multi-Broadcast
138 Putney High Street
London SW15

Multi-Broadcast
176 Central Road
Worcester Park
Surrey

Granada
14 The Quadrant
Richmond
Surrey

Radio Rentals
149 Worcester Park
Surrey

London (West Area)



Comet Radio
Silverdale Road
Pump Lane
Hayes

Middlesex
Derwent Television
26 Wadsworth Road
Perivale

Multi-Broadcast
24 The Broadway
Greenford

Hayes Radio
35 Station Approach
Hayes

H Wheatland
85/89 High Road
Chiswick
London W4

Bevans Radio
211 Greenford Road
Greenford

Ketts Ltd
30 The Broadway
Ealing
London W5

Visionhire
26 Broadway West
Ealing
London W13

Visionhire
6 Trinity Parade
High Street
Hounslow

Visionhire
236 Uxbridge Road
Shepherds Bush
London W12

DER Ltd
10 Heath Road
Twickenham

DER Ltd
127 King Street
Hammersmith
London W6

DER Ltd
30 High Street
Hounslow
Middlesex

DER Ltd
76 High Street
Staines
Middlesex

Multi-Broadcast
68 High Street
Staines

Multi-Broadcast
20 Market Square
Uxbridge

Multi-Broadcast
168 High Street
Hounslow

Rediffusion
122 The Centre
High Street
Feltham

Currys Ltd
126-128 High Street
Hounslow

Manchester (Central Area)



Visionhire
63 Piccadilly
Manchester

Visionhire
90 Mersey Way
Stockport

Visionhire
111 George Street
Altrincham

DER Ltd
133 Market Way
Arndale Centre
Manchester

Manchester (North Area)



Bridge Radio
Liverpool Road
Eccles

Telefusion Ltd
2 Longfield Centre
Prestwich

Visionhire
4 Station Bridge
Urmston

Manchester (South Area)



Multi-Broadcast
42 George Street
Altrincham

Multi-Broadcast
91 Mersey Way
Stockport

Yeoman & Russell
33 George Street
Altrincham

Hodgsons
10 Chestergate
Macclesfield

Telefusion Ltd
94 Mersey Way
Stockport

Norwich Area



Currys Ltd
24 St Stephens Street
Norwich

Telefusion Ltd
63 London Road
Norwich

Nottingham Area



Telefusion Ltd
5 Trinity Row
Trinity Square
Nottingham

Multi-Broadcast
10 Clumber Street
Nottingham

Multi-Broadcast
12 Cornmarket
Derby

Visionhire
36 Cumber Street
Nottingham

Visionhire
6 Lincoln Street
Nottingham

DER Ltd
Unit 29
Tanner Walk
Broadmarsh Shopping Centre
Nottingham

Oxford Area



Superstone
12 Chenies Parade
Little Chalfont
Amersham

Multi-Broadcast
45 Sycamore Road
Amersham

Multi-Broadcast
33B High Street
Chesham

Multi-Broadcast
10 Oxford Street
High Wycombe


Plymouth Area


Gear TV & Audio
The Moor
Killigrew Street
Falmouth

Reading Area


Sewards
49 Wokingham Road
Reading
Berkshire

Ketts Ltd
207 High Street
Slough
Berkshire

Multi-Broadcast
91A High Street
Maidenhead
Berkshire

Multi-Broadcast
119 Broad Street
Reading
Berkshire

Scotland (West Area)



Multi-Broadcast
23 Brandon Parade
Motherwell

Visionhire
118 King Street
Kilmarnock

Southend Area



Kelly's Radio
1725 London Road
Leigh on-Sea

Mildmay Electric
200 Moulsham Street
Chelmsford

A.C.I.
1 North Mall
Grays

Multi-Broadcast
243 Churchill Square
Southend-on-Sea

Tunbridge Wells Area



Howes of Southborough
150 London Road
Southborough
Kent

Multi-Broadcast
16 Calverley Road
Tunbridge Wells

West Midland Area



Telefusion Ltd
5 Dudley Street
Sedgley

Telefusion Ltd
10 Manor Square
Mander Centre
Wolverhampton

Note Showrooms are grouped according to Post Office Telephone Areas