Peep into a Victorian booking office. What can you see?
Today we simply buy tickets for travel from the railway ticket offices unless we buy them online or from a machine in the station foyer.
In the past a booking office did a lot more than sell tickets to travel.
Starting in 1891 railways operated a letter postal system for 93 years.
In the days before a national telegram service the railways would undertake the service using their telegraph system.
By the end of the 19th century the railway companies had the whole railway network covered by telegraph.
The actual Morse code messaging and tape printout was normally done in a back office.
The normal way to send and receive parcels was by the use of the booking office.
Long distance travellers could send luggage ahead, so that it would be waiting for them at their destination.
This again would be done at a booking office unless the station had a special parcel office such as the one that was in the forecourt of Newick & Chailey Station.
When telephones were first introduced, they were only available to the wealthy and not to ordinary people. The railways helped to change this.
The railways made use of their telegraph system to introduce telephones and would make calls on behalf of passengers when required.
Tariff books were quite large to accommodate the many rates for travel, parcels, luggage, telegrams and for parcel delivery points beyond the stations.
Before the days of printed tickets they were hand written on paper permits and in addition the details copied into a hand ledger. Buying a ticket was not a fast process and often tickets were bought well in advance of travel.
Before the days of public announcement systems, the large brass bell was used to warn passengers that a train was about to leave.
It gives a very loud ring.
The list of items in the booking office can be seen on the wall adjacent to the booking office.
If you would like a closer look at the items, please ask a steward.