Bextel > Introduction


In June 1986 the London Borough of Bexley installed at its Central Reference Library a Private Videotex System (PVS) which was then launched as a public service in August 1986. This superseded the Library's small Prestel database, which had been in existence since 1979; but was then curtailed to a few pages retained for online user registration.

The October 1983 Prestel Directory lists Bexley's online site so:
Bextel - Bexley London Borough... 42014

Local information for Bexley London
Borough. Leisure; Shopping; Newsfile;
Facts & Figures; Borough Services;
Health Authority Services; Public
Utilities; Brief information on screen.
Full enquiry service on mailbox no.

Bextel.html An interesting document about the service, with a fair amount of detail on how it was provided, and the equipment used.

Unfortunately LB Bexley have nothing left, not even any documentation.
I regret that, as you may not be surprised to hear, there is nothing now remaining pertaining to BexTel. We have checked thoroughly at the Central Library where the system was based, and no documentation exists at all.

The then Reference Librarian, Peter Marshall, was responsible for installation and management of the BexTel PVS at the Central Library in the 1980s. The system used a telephone link to a text database; it was a very early mode of electronic online information service.

The technology was out of date shortly after it was used and has long since been superseded by Internet technology.Peter published an article on VINE to promote it, which can be obtained from Emerald (a commercial publisher of business and management research) online at a cost of £13.00 plus postage and VAT via this link -;jsessionid=538DC982DC64D413170C6C57837F223F?contentType=Article&contentId=1668520

I am sorry that we are unable to be of more help.

I think that the article referred to is the same as linked above, which came courtesy of Google!



Alex Wilson
02 May 2011, 12:56
I remember clearly , the central library in Bexleyheath Broadway , having this system installed , as a kid , i would spend hours upstairs in the library , watching the pages of viewdata come on to the screen.

I seem to remember there was a shop across the road from the library that had a Prestel terminal , when the staff at one got bored of my incessant questions , i'd go across the road to hassle a new batch of eager tech heads :)

Great memories , thanks for reminding me of this :)
07 May 2011, 22:00
I am pretty sure that the system behind this was Metrotel PVS. I ran the IT at Metrotel for a couple of years.
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