The T&E was removed there and then and the extension was wired correctly.
For the benefit of non-Brits:
T&E = Twin-&-Earth, our equivalent of NM/Romex.
All the modern T&E is just plain copper. Tinned conductors were used on pre-metric cables, prior to about 1970.
That doesn't look like bare copper poking through the terminals though. Did somebody run some solder on these first?
There's no particular reason why the reversed polarity should trip a breaker. Or was this cable damaged due to flexing and shorting intermittently?
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 04-20-2005).]