Britain’s first commercial mobile phone call was actually made by Michael Harrison, the son of Vodafone’s first chairman Sir Ernest Harrison, when he called his father at one second past midnight on January 1st 1985.
But it was the press call later that day by the man with the “short, fat, hairy legs” that people remember most.
Comedian Ernie Wise was dressed up in Dickensian costume and riding on a 19th century Mail Coach in Parliament Square when he dialed up. He also called Sir Ernest Harrison back at Vodafone headquarters in Newbury. History hasn’t recorded exactly what Ernie said – but he may have sparked the enduring phrase….“I’m on the train….”
For the next nine days of 1985 Vodafone was the only company with a mobile network in the UK.
Updated: 14th January 1985