Erected around 1935, the Telephone Exchange is a neo-baroque building located in the area of Tradeston. Presumably the Telephone Exchange was both designed and built by the Office of Public Works which was responsible for many buildings constructed during the first half of the 20th Century. Listed as one of Glasgow’s buildings at risk and also Grade B listed, the locale is currently neglected with several of the windows broken and boarded up and the overall state of the building deteriorating.
The Telephone Exchange represents both the development of modern communication as well as the history within Tradeston. In the early history of telecommunication, telephone exchanges were vital; they were needed to make the manual connections between telephone calls. During this time the growing popularity and need for the phone created a demand for more telephone exchanges to be built. In a few Ordnance Survey maps between 1950-60 the building is labelled as a ‘telephone training centre’ as well as on other maps being labelled ‘telephone exchange’. This suggests that the building might have been one of the larger exchanges, hiring a lot of workers and also providing training and job opportunities for the area.
The area of Tradeston was a highly industrialised part of the city between the 1890’s and 1960’s, however since the end of the 60’s trade has declined and the area has become run-down with many of the buildings vacant and most others being furniture and hardware stores. Though a few of the older buildings have been transformed into dwellings and several new projects are in progress of being developed within Tradeston, it still is a mainly commercial area; though not a thriving one in comparison to the commercial hub across the river. Tradeston’s proximity to the city centre is hardly noticeable due to its almost deserted streets and lack of activity.