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Old 24th May 2020, 2:05 am   #1
Hermitcrab
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Default Dialling Code Booklets, your memories?

There didn't seem to be too much logic to how often Dialling Code Booklets were reissued. When I lived in Leeds they were generally reissued about every 18 months. I lived in London later, and there was a period between 1977 and 1982 when new Dialling Code Booklets for 01 numbers weren't reissued at all.

In 1982 British Telecom did at last issue a new Dialling Code Booklet for 01 numbers - which must have been a massive printing and distributing task! - but they had changed the format of the International Dialling section to only show the country code and no longer showed the area or city codes, which caused some customer complaints!

After about 1983 dialling codes were listed in phone books instead. Dialling Code Booklets until 1983 had weird colours, they could be green white or orange etc, and in some areas they had "issue numbers", I remember seeing an issue 12 for Manchester area!
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Old 24th May 2020, 8:03 am   #2
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Default Re: Dialling Code Booklets, your memories?

I vaguely remember the dialling code booklets but weren't the codes printed in the telephone directories already ?

I have a copy of the Phone Book companion which I think was a more comprehensive version. It's twenty years old but I don't think it's published any more.
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Old 24th May 2020, 8:27 am   #3
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I vaguely remember the dialling code booklets but weren't the codes printed in the telephone directories already ?
No, in the vast majority of UK telephone areas it wasn't until around 1983 that dialling codes began to be listed in phone books. One exception was Birmingham, where codes were always shown in the phone book.

The Post Office in the 1970s supplied Dialling Code Booklets, which were always A5 size, in public phone boxes in Leeds for a while, maybe as an experiment. This idea was soon abandoned as the booklets were pinched within a few days on average!
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Old 24th May 2020, 8:50 am   #4
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Default Re: Dialling Code Booklets, your memories?

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I have a copy of the Phone Book companion which I think was a more comprehensive version. It's twenty years old but I don't think it's published any more.
The big advantage of the Phone Book Companion was that it gave not only the STD codes for the exchanges (listed in alphabetical order), but also provided a translation in the other direction (in numerical order), enabling a code to be identified back to a geographical area. In these days of calls with "spoofed" caller identities, I amuse myself by looking up the codes in these numbers to see whether they equate to real places.

The most recent edition I have of the PBC is the Millennium edition, published in October 1999. I've not come across anything more recent than this. The earliest edition I have (under the name The Code Decoder) was published at the end of 1989, but claims to be an updated and revised version of an earlier document.
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Old 24th May 2020, 12:11 pm   #5
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Default Re: Dialling Code Booklets, your memories?

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The big advantage of the Phone Book Companion was that it gave not only the STD codes for the exchanges (listed in alphabetical order), but also provided a translation in the other direction (in numerical order), enabling a code to be identified back to a geographical area. In these days of calls with "spoofed" caller identities, I amuse myself by looking up the codes in these numbers to see whether they equate to real places.

The most recent edition I have of the PBC is the Millennium edition, published in October 1999. I've not come across anything more recent than this. The earliest edition I have (under the name The Code Decoder) was published at the end of 1989, but claims to be an updated and revised version of an earlier document.
I didn't know something like this ever existed. In the days before the internet, knowing where a phone number was (nationally) was useful info when deciding whether or not to ring someone about something advertised in a small-ads column, where the seller omitted to tell you where they were.

I had some friends at university in '93 who wrote a specific kind of database from scratch (in Fortran 77!) to supply the place, if you supplied the STD code. I think it was a displacement activity from revising for finals, and they were at it for weeks and weeks
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Old 24th May 2020, 1:45 pm   #6
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Default Re: Dialling Code Booklets, your memories?

I have visions of a stack of DATA statements, each containing an exchange name and its STD code. The actual FORTRAN 77 coding is then simply a matter of accessing each pair in turn until a match is found between the input code and the data one, then outputting the associated exchange name.
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Old 24th May 2020, 1:56 pm   #7
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Although the PBC may no longer exist as a handy book, I notice that a similar function is now available from OFCOM on t'internet, though it doesn't give the level of detail provided by the PBC.

By the way, before my discovery of the PBC, I too spent many frustrating years trying to work backwards from an STD code to the actual exchange. This usually consisted of doing manually what the above-mentioned FORTRAN program did - but somewhat more slowly.
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Old 24th May 2020, 5:16 pm   #8
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Default Re: Dialling Code Booklets, your memories?

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Originally Posted by Hermitcrab View Post
There didn't seem to be too much logic to how often Dialling Code Booklets were reissued. When I lived in Leeds they were generally reissued about every 18 months. I lived in London later, and there was a period between 1977 and 1982 when new Dialling Code Booklets for 01 numbers weren't reissued at all.

In 1982 British Telecom did at last issue a new Dialling Code Booklet for 01 numbers - which must have been a massive printing and distributing task! - but they had changed the format of the International Dialling section to only show the country code and no longer showed the area or city codes, which caused some customer complaints!

After about 1983 dialling codes were listed in phone books instead. Dialling Code Booklets until 1983 had weird colours, they could be green white or orange etc, and in some areas they had "issue numbers", I remember seeing an issue 12 for Manchester area!
I have a 1980 London code book with print date of April 1980 inside the rear cover.

The Local dialling codes actually started to appear in telephone directories in mid 1984 when it changed from being the 'telephone directory' to being revamped with coloured pictures on the cover and became known as 'The Phone Book'.

There was quite a range of colours for the thin card covers. In the early days an orange or light green was the common colour. In the 1970's, a blueish colour appeared, then in PO days some were yellow or a greyish colour. Once into BT days they tended to be a greenish colour. But
in the days of the early codebooks produced by the GPO, they were much larger than the later A5 sized booklets - the change took place at the end of 1965. Even the larger ones had quite a range of colours. I have several hundred code books going back to the end of 1960 when there were only two pages of 'STD codes'!!

One of my codebooks I have is probably quite rare! It was produced in March 1976 for an exchange which only had eight lines on it and the PO printed a codebook specifically for that exchange! The exchange closed in December 1991 when the then 15 lines were moved onto another exchange about 12 miles away. The following July whist recovering the exchange for preservation, I visited all the houses who had a line and only two still had a codebook. One gave theirs to me but the other person kept theirs. I'm sure that printing a code book for so few lines wouldn't happen today!
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Old 24th May 2020, 5:21 pm   #9
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Default Re: Dialling Code Booklets, your memories?

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Originally Posted by mark_in_manc View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Moll View Post
The big advantage of the Phone Book Companion was that it gave not only the STD codes for the exchanges (listed in alphabetical order), but also provided a translation in the other direction (in numerical order), enabling a code to be identified back to a geographical area. In these days of calls with "spoofed" caller identities, I amuse myself by looking up the codes in these numbers to see whether they equate to real places.

The most recent edition I have of the PBC is the Millennium edition, published in October 1999. I've not come across anything more recent than this. The earliest edition I have (under the name The Code Decoder) was published at the end of 1989, but claims to be an updated and revised version of an earlier document.
I didn't know something like this ever existed. In the days before the internet, knowing where a phone number was (nationally) was useful info when deciding whether or not to ring someone about something advertised in a small-ads column, where the seller omitted to tell you where they were.

I had some friends at university in '93 who wrote a specific kind of database from scratch (in Fortran 77!) to supply the place, if you supplied the STD code. I think it was a displacement activity from revising for finals, and they were at it for weeks and weeks
In the 'collectors' world about 1990, one enthusiast 'acquired' certain information from BT and produced a floppy disk with all the codes in numerical order. Very useful but BT caught up with them eventually, got their wrists slapped and stopped producing the disk
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Old 24th May 2020, 6:16 pm   #10
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Default Re: Dialling Code Booklets, your memories?

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Originally Posted by Sparks View Post
I have a copy of the Phone Book companion which I think was a more comprehensive version. It's twenty years old but I don't think it's published any more.
The big advantage of the Phone Book Companion was that it gave not only the STD codes for the exchanges (listed in alphabetical order), but also provided a translation in the other direction (in numerical order), enabling a code to be identified back to a geographical area. In these days of calls with "spoofed" caller identities, I amuse myself by looking up the codes in these numbers to see whether they equate to real places.

The most recent edition I have of the PBC is the Millennium edition, published in October 1999. I've not come across anything more recent than this. The earliest edition I have (under the name The Code Decoder) was published at the end of 1989, but claims to be an updated and revised version of an earlier document.
The earliest version I have was a commercially produced 'Dialling Code Decoder 1986' published by the 'Telecommunicatons Press' an imprint of the Architechtural Press Ltd but info was shown as 'copyright BT'. It states it is a revised version of a 1985 edition - which I've never seen.
The BT produced 'The Code Decoder' in "1989 year of publication" but the 'copyright notice' states 'British Telecommunications 1986' In the introduction, it states 'This edition of the Dialling Code Decoder has been updated and revised in use as at the end of Nov 1989'. Then in 1995 is the first 'Phonebook Companion' I have with the changes to 01 codes.

But what is on line cannot always be believed - for instance 'Brampton' exchange near Carlisle is shown on BT's Phonebook webpage as having the National Code of 01697

But if you look on the OFCOM numbering allocation webpages you'll find
ABCD EF
(0)1697 72 Allocated BT 5+4 03/13/2003
(0)1697 73 Allocated BT 5+4 03/13/2003

You'll note the STD code is actually 01697 7 with the F digit being the first if the telephone number.

However there are other 01697 numbers allocated which have a five digit code i.e 01697 X and a five digit Brampton number and others with a four digit code 01697 and six digit numbers allocated to both BT and other providers for other exchanges in the 01697 charge group. Oddly if you have a four digit Brampton number you have to dial the full national code to reach other five and six digit Brampton numbers and vice versa. But for some reason it rarely gets mentioned!.

But if you look up a number in Brampton such as local post offices, the code is shown as 016977 !

Also note that STD codes for places changed over the years - Winsford in Cheshire had several stating with 0606 81 then 0606 4 came along for 5 digit numbers then 0606 5 for both four digit & f digit numbers. So a lot depends on just what date you are talking about.

There are several list of STD codes on the Internet but none are that accurate as there is no mention of the dates to which they refer.
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Old 24th May 2020, 9:25 pm   #11
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Originally Posted by Hermitcrab View Post
There didn't seem to be too much logic to how often Dialling Code Booklets were reissued. When I lived in Leeds they were generally reissued about every 18 months. I lived in London later, and there was a period between 1977 and 1982 when new Dialling Code Booklets for 01 numbers weren't reissued at all.

In 1982 British Telecom did at last issue a new Dialling Code Booklet for 01 numbers - which must have been a massive printing and distributing task! - but they had changed the format of the International Dialling section to only show the country code and no longer showed the area or city codes, which caused some customer complaints!

After about 1983 dialling codes were listed in phone books instead. Dialling Code Booklets until 1983 had weird colours, they could be green white or orange etc, and in some areas they had "issue numbers", I remember seeing an issue 12 for Manchester area!
I have a 1980 London code book with print date of April 1980 inside the rear cover.

The Local dialling codes actually started to appear in telephone directories in mid 1984 when it changed from being the 'telephone directory' to being revamped with coloured pictures on the cover and became known as 'The Phone Book'.

There was quite a range of colours for the thin card covers. In the early days an orange or light green was the common colour. In the 1970's, a blueish colour appeared, then in PO days some were yellow or a greyish colour. Once into BT days they tended to be a greenish colour. But
in the days of the early codebooks produced by the GPO, they were much larger than the later A5 sized booklets - the change took place at the end of 1965. Even the larger ones had quite a range of colours. I have several hundred code books going back to the end of 1960 when there were only two pages of 'STD codes'!!

One of my codebooks I have is probably quite rare! It was produced in March 1976 for an exchange which only had eight lines on it and the PO printed a codebook specifically for that exchange! The exchange closed in December 1991 when the then 15 lines were moved onto another exchange about 12 miles away. The following July whist recovering the exchange for preservation, I visited all the houses who had a line and only two still had a codebook. One gave theirs to me but the other person kept theirs. I'm sure that printing a code book for so few lines wouldn't happen today!
I'm not sure if the London code book for April 1980 was actually issued i.e. posted to every subscriber, whereas the 1977 and 1982 ones certainly were, which must have been very expensive in terms of both postage and admin costs. Lots of A5 envelopes needed!!

I never knew that pre 1965 code books were larger than A5. The London 1982 code book by the way was a very pristine white colour. I wonder if there were meetings to decide on these colours.
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Old 24th May 2020, 10:34 pm   #12
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There didn't seem to be too much logic to how often Dialling Code Booklets were reissued. When I lived in Leeds they were generally reissued about every 18 months. I lived in London later, and there was a period between 1977 and 1982 when new Dialling Code Booklets for 01 numbers weren't reissued at all.

In 1982 British Telecom did at last issue a new Dialling Code Booklet for 01 numbers - which must have been a massive printing and distributing task! - but they had changed the format of the International Dialling section to only show the country code and no longer showed the area or city codes, which caused some customer complaints!

After about 1983 dialling codes were listed in phone books instead. Dialling Code Booklets until 1983 had weird colours, they could be green white or orange etc, and in some areas they had "issue numbers", I remember seeing an issue 12 for Manchester area!
I have a 1980 London code book with print date of April 1980 inside the rear cover.

The Local dialling codes actually started to appear in telephone directories in mid 1984 when it changed from being the 'telephone directory' to being revamped with coloured pictures on the cover and became known as 'The Phone Book'.

There was quite a range of colours for the thin card covers. In the early days an orange or light green was the common colour. In the 1970's, a blueish colour appeared, then in PO days some were yellow or a greyish colour. Once into BT days they tended to be a greenish colour. But
in the days of the early codebooks produced by the GPO, they were much larger than the later A5 sized booklets - the change took place at the end of 1965. Even the larger ones had quite a range of colours. I have several hundred code books going back to the end of 1960 when there were only two pages of 'STD codes'!!

One of my codebooks I have is probably quite rare! It was produced in March 1976 for an exchange which only had eight lines on it and the PO printed a codebook specifically for that exchange! The exchange closed in December 1991 when the then 15 lines were moved onto another exchange about 12 miles away. The following July whist recovering the exchange for preservation, I visited all the houses who had a line and only two still had a codebook. One gave theirs to me but the other person kept theirs. I'm sure that printing a code book for so few lines wouldn't happen today!
I'm not sure if the London code book for April 1980 was actually issued i.e. posted to every subscriber, whereas the 1977 and 1982 ones certainly were, which must have been very expensive in terms of both postage and admin costs. Lots of A5 envelopes needed!! 'Cost' would only be an 'internal paper transaction'.

I never knew that pre 1965 code books were larger than A5. The London 1982 code book by the way was a very pristine white colour. I wonder if there were meetings to decide on these colours.
Forgot to mention that I have a 1985 'London 01' dialling codebook so 1982 wasn't the last London Director Area codebook. It has a front cover of a similar coloured pattern/design to 'The Phone Book' introduced the year before.

The 1980 edition will have been distributed as I cannot see the Post Office Corporation who ran the telephones in 1980 going to the trouble of printing several million copies then not distributing them. Remember that the Post Office Corporation also ran another 'outfit' called 'Royal Mail' and they did the distribution of codebooks, telephone directories and millions of phone bills each year. They were quite used to it !

The London Director Area to whom the codebook referred had 3,298,097 telephone lines with 5,73,045 telephones on them. So there were plenty of need for updated codebook. Remember that codes were changing quite frequently as exchanges were moved into Linked Numbering Schemes in the Non-Director exchange groups in the area that fringed the LDA. As the number of digits for telephone numbers increased from three/four or five digits, the local codes from the LDA had to be reduced so there were always seven digits dialled to reach a telephone from a Director Exchange.

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Old 25th May 2020, 12:59 am   #13
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Default Re: Dialling Code Booklets, your memories?

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The big advantage of the Phone Book Companion was that it gave not only the STD codes for the exchanges (listed in alphabetical order), but also provided a translation in the other direction (in numerical order), enabling a code to be identified back to a geographical area. In these days of calls with "spoofed" caller identities, I amuse myself by looking up the codes in these numbers to see whether they equate to real places.
In the absence of anything more useful, My Freepbx uses the data source "UKPhoneInfo UK" in the "Superfecta" module to populate the name field of the CDR and the caller displays, which allows me to answer the phone with "Do I know anyone in Llandrindod Wells?" Or wherever they purport to be.
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Old 25th May 2020, 11:01 am   #14
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The big advantage of the Phone Book Companion was that it gave not only the STD codes for the exchanges (listed in alphabetical order), but also provided a translation in the other direction (in numerical order), enabling a code to be identified back to a geographical area. In these days of calls with "spoofed" caller identities, I amuse myself by looking up the codes in these numbers to see whether they equate to real places.
In the absence of anything more useful, My Freepbx uses the data source "UKPhoneInfo UK" in the "Superfecta" module to populate the name field of the CDR and the caller displays, which allows me to answer the phone with "Do I know anyone in Llandrindod Wells?" Or wherever they purport to be.
But CLI numbers no longer really mean anything! I've just sat here in North Wales and dialled out over the PSTN and the number which arrived was an 01595 one - can't get much further away than that!! I can dial out on another one of my lines and an 01320 number gets sent but I'm not beside Loch Ness. With VoIP lines the code gets set out for that number. I can even send out 01xxx number from my mobile as VoIP PSTN numbers are on my mobile. So all isn't what it seems these days

I remember in the early days of free VoIP phone numbers that allowed you to set up your own CLI number and name, two of us set up a couple of numbers - I was 'Fred Flintsone' on Bedrock 26 and the other guy was ' Barny Rubble' on Bedrock 42. We used to ring up another guy to pull his leg. But that has all gone now but was fun at the time
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Old 25th May 2020, 12:39 pm   #15
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But CLI numbers no longer really mean anything!
I think that was the point that Rambo was making - his response highlighting that the spoofed code of 01597 wasn't really because the call came from Llandrindod Wells.
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Old 28th May 2020, 11:11 pm   #16
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Any later 'STD codebook' than this London October 1988 one - date in top righthand corner ?

Note the coloured cover following the format introduced when the 'Telephone Directory' became 'The Phone Book' in mid-1984.
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Old 29th May 2020, 8:28 am   #17
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This one is dated February 1990, and includes the "new" codes for London - i.e. the change from 01- to 071-/081- (effective from 06-05-1990).
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Old 29th May 2020, 9:40 am   #18
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This one is dated February 1990, and includes the "new" codes for London - i.e. the change from 01- to 071-/081- (effective from 06-05-1990).
Slight difference with that one - it is not for a specific area but UK wide. The London one includes local dialling codes and appears to the last one for a specific exchange area.
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Old 29th May 2020, 10:18 am   #19
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As a matter of interest, when did local codes cease to exist? I assume that local dialling code books were unnecessary thereafter. Did local lists continue in telephone directories (or rather "The Phone Book") after 1988?
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Old 29th May 2020, 3:52 pm   #20
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As a matter of interest, when did local codes cease to exist? I assume that local dialling code books were unnecessary thereafter. Did local lists continue in telephone directories (or rather "The Phone Book") after 1988?
23rd June 1995 was when the last ones went out of use - I was there at the time sad probably made one! They were still in the phone book until then but as Linked Numbering Schemes came into being, they tended to disappear and they tended to use (as they do now) the STD code but charged as a 'local' call.

The last 'Phonebook' for this area was November 1993 and it still had a few local codes for exchanges not in an LNS. The next one was May 1995 but all local exchanges were in an LNS and hence contains just a full 'national list' of codes. But Ive only just noticed that there was also a 'local' Code-Decoder for all the exchanges in the area covered by our local 'Phonebook' !
I haven't got any other 1994 Phonebooks or early 1995 Phonebooks to hand so can't say for those but don't doubt the 1994 ones would have had them in.
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