Prestel > Club 403

Club 403

A service of Viewtel Services Ltd and the Birmingham Post..  Working in conjunction with local Tv dealers, they provided viewdata-enabled televisions to subscribers and offered a range of innovative home based services.  Certainly this was a world leader!

From 1985:
Club 403 is the only system in the world to offer a comprehensive interactive home shopping service. As a world leader in this field the Club ensures that it keeps its members abreast of the latest changes in visual technology and offers users up-to-date information, news and services via. the Prestel network.

Launched exclusively in the West Midlands to forge new techniques in electronic information, the Club has successfully produced numerous services direct to the homes of more than one thousand Midlanders.

It has introduced instant Armchair Grocery and Mail Order Shopping along with Booking to its subscribers and a whole host of information pages that encompass leisure, motoring, finance and travel Information, as well as education and childrens' sections.

If you tune into Club 403 you can guarantee becoming one of the country's "Switched On" people. In short you will have the news, views and shopping facilities of UK and the West Midlands at your fingertips . . .

A selection of correspondence and newsletters.

Enquiry Response Letter
download pdf - view online

The Problem Solver brochure
download pdf - view online

Welcome to Cub 403
download pdf - view online

Welcome to Kays Personal Selection
download pdf - view online

Club 403 News
download pdf - view online

Membership Card
download pdf - view online



Hugh Wright
14 Oct 2012, 16:25
My parents were one of the trial users of Club 403 in Knowle. I was about 14 at the time and computers were just appearing in schools. I can clearly remember us ordering our groceries from Carrefour in Minworth (now Asda) and having it delivered. There was no means to pay online, so I think the driver collected a cheque. This was 30 years ago! I can also remember that there were news and weather pages (some chargeable to view) also a very early form of e-mail. To access the system we had a television set with plug-in keyboard and it dialed one of two servers in Birmingham known as Dickens and Keats. The connection was very slow but pages only contained text (teletext characters). After six months the trial ended and I never heard any more of it but have still got some of the leaflets on it.
Steve Robinson
16 Sep 2013, 10:05
We were an early user of Club 403 and also lived in Knowle like the first commentator . We accessed the service using a BBC Micro and placed shopping orders with Carrefour. Unfortunately the system was prone to errors and you could only order 4 items at a time per screen. These were entered from a large directory listing all products. We once ordered 32 loaves of bread due to a glitch.
We also managed to download a computer game for the BBC Micro from a choice of several and this worked well.
We tried the Nottingham Building Society/Bank of Scotland online banking system. Again early technology (noisy telephone line) let is down. The security procedures were probably over the top consisting of a new different log-on code every time you used the system. When one failed you then lost track of where you were and couldn't access the system again. Considering you were simpy transferring money between your own Building Society and bank account there was probably no need for security at all. We didn't use the messenging system because we didn't know anyone else who had access.
Helen Walland (Gardner at the time)
20 Apr 2014, 11:10
I was the Education Manager for Club 403 seconded from Solihull. Interesting job trying to find things that could be done better on Prestel. It did feel like the beginning of something big.
Incidentally I met my own electronic male/mail through the chat rooms on Prestel. We've been together for 30 years now! I wonder if we were the first couple to get together electronically.
Doug Weller
20 Apr 2014, 11:38
I was Helen's electronic male! We got married about 20 years later (but she kept her surname). I used to work as a monitor for the Dialtalk chatrooms.
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