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Old 20th Nov 2017, 6:02 pm   #1
giraffenigel
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Default Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

Hi all,

does anyone know what a 328 telephone dial label would have looked like in 1958? How many digits would there have been and what style of label would it have been?

Thanks
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Old 20th Nov 2017, 6:20 pm   #2
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

I'd expect the label to look like as below.

As for the number of figures, it'd probably be five. Ian's our numbering expert though.
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Old 20th Nov 2017, 9:01 pm   #3
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

Thanks, that's what I thought but the one on Bob's site had an earlier label attachment.php

Do you think it would have been 5 numbers in Southampton in 1958 Ian?
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Old 20th Nov 2017, 9:29 pm   #4
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

If you cannot get a definitive answer it may be possible to make an intelligent guess.

When I moved to a village near Grantham in 1972 I was given a four figure telephone number. The population of Grantham at the time was about 28,000 (say 30,000 if you include the surrounding villages that had Grantham telephone numbers). Very soon after a fifth digit was added my number.

The population of Southampton at the time was about 213,000 so it would have had five digit numbers at least surely but not as many as six digits? In making this guess you would have to take into account that a smaller percentage of the population would have had telephones in 1958.
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Old 20th Nov 2017, 9:38 pm   #5
giraffenigel
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

Thanks Colin
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Old 20th Nov 2017, 9:44 pm   #6
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

I believe that the red labels were introduced in 1952. Of course a telephone could have still had an old one in 1958.

Things weren't always done as they should be. Ever since I can remember we had a black 746 telephone but it had a red label. Obviously the engineer who fitted the new 'phone must have simply re-used the label off the old one.

As for the number of figures it's quite possible that this varied within Southampton. I live in Sheffield and can recall a time when this had a mixture of six and five digit numbers.
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Old 20th Nov 2017, 10:22 pm   #7
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

Most cities the size of Southampton had 5 digit numbers then. My parents in Stoke had a phone installed around that time, and that used a 5 digit number. Sheffield is a much bigger city.

I think Oxford was 4 digit until the mid 70s when all numbers received an extra digit. New numbers allocated from the mid 80s onwards were 6 digit and the 5/6 mix continued for several years.
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Old 20th Nov 2017, 10:48 pm   #8
giraffenigel
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

That's decided then, 5 digits it is!
Thanks everyone
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Old 21st Nov 2017, 10:55 am   #9
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

There are old telephone directories available on line which would confirm number length. Likewise adverts in old newspapers.
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Old 21st Nov 2017, 11:20 am   #10
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

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There are old telephone directories available on line which would confirm number length. Likewise adverts in old newspapers.
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Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
I think Oxford was 4 digit until the mid 70s when all numbers received an extra digit. New numbers allocated from the mid 80s onwards were 6 digit and the 5/6 mix continued for several years.
The chap who lived in our house in a suburb of Oxford from 1956 until 1992 certainly had a 5-digit number in 1964, see attached image. But interesting to note that the nearby town of Abingdon seemed to have some 3-digit ones.

We had the same number until about 2000 when an extra "5" was added to make it 6 digits.

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Old 21st Nov 2017, 11:59 am   #11
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

A certain famous (ish) rock star, in 1978, had a four figure number when he lived in the village of Radnage, near Stockenchurch.

Cheers

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Old 21st Nov 2017, 12:09 pm   #12
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

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Originally Posted by Nickthedentist View Post
The chap who lived in our house in a suburb of Oxford from 1956 until 1992 certainly had a 5-digit number in 1964, see attached image. But interesting to note that the nearby town of Abingdon seemed to have some 3-digit ones.
That 1964 scan does suggest 5 digits was the standard for Oxford then, so maybe I was wrong about the timing. I wasn't actually living there at the time I know there was a lot of renumbering and rationalisation when the big Speedwell Street exchange was built in the mid 50s, so maybe 5 digits dates from then.
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Old 21st Nov 2017, 12:53 pm   #13
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

I can't speak for central Oxford, but our Headington number when I was a child was always 5-digit, in the format 6xxxx - the 6 being common to Headington numbers. I think we acquired it somewhen in the 1950s. I also remember Cowley (where my uncle had a 'phone) being 7xxxx until an extra 7 was added to allow for further expansion.
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Old 21st Nov 2017, 2:13 pm   #14
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

Interesting. North Oxford/Wolvercote/Summertown/Cutteslowe seems to have been 5xxxx switching to 55xxxx fairly recently.
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Old 21st Nov 2017, 2:21 pm   #15
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

The first digit of 5 digit numbers was usually a geographic indicator dating back to the introduction of fully automatic dialling across urban areas.
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Old 21st Nov 2017, 5:54 pm   #16
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

I lived in Abingdon around 1972/73 and we were still on Button A/B coin boxes, a manual exchange and the Doctor's surgery was something like Abingdon 8. You could chat to a girl friend for hours for 2p if the operators were in a good mood. I was told that was because of its alphabetic ordering it had a very early opportunity to go to STD but refused on the grounds of inadequate testing or reliability. Sorry if this is drifting too far off topic.

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Old 21st Nov 2017, 6:11 pm   #17
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

The big Oxford exchange had dozens of manual operators until the mid 80s. It was a huge centralised operation with resident managers and engineers, and even its own works canteen and bar. It's mostly an unmanned empty shell nowadays.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.74.../data=!3m1!1e3
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Old 21st Nov 2017, 7:19 pm   #18
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

Quote:
Originally Posted by giraffenigel View Post
Thanks, that's what I thought but the one on Bob's site had an earlier label attachment.php

Do you think it would have been 5 numbers in Southampton in 1958 Ian?
In 1958 'Southampton' consisted of a 'Main exchange' - Central in Ogle Road with 12,502 lines,
plus satellite exchanges in a Linked Numbering Scheme (LNS) -
'Bassett' with 1684 lines
'Hampton' with 4013 lines
'Shirley' with 4609 lines
'Woolston' with 2203 lines.
All were known as 'Southampton' numbers with the above being the engineering names. There was no code to dial between the exchanges as the initial digits in an LNS routed the call to the correct exchange.
Number of lines as at 31st March 1958.

The numbers were in the ranges 2xxxx, 4xxxx, 5xxxx, 6xxxx and 7xxxx in 1958. I would suspect that the 2xxxx numbers were 'Central' but quite how the others were allocated would take more research. (Info from the November 1958 Southampton Directory)

Codes in the 8x and 8xx were to exchanges that could be reached for the cost of a local call (two old pennies in 1958)

I should also point out that numbers that were in the 0703 STD code which was 'Southampton' Linked Numbering Scheme' in later years weren't always given the name 'Southampton xxxxxx'. For instance 'Rownham' UAX13 exchange with three digit numbers was 823 from Southampton and had the STD code 0421 3 in later years (STD didn't start in earnest until 1960) but when it went later from four to six digit numbers, the STD code changed to 0703 and they became six digit Southampton numbers.

So if you are trying to have a 1958 number for your local exchange set up, it will take a bit more digging to see if they were in the Southampton LNS or a smaller exchange off Southampton?

On CNet (our replica of the old GPO public network) we still dial use the old local codes. So Rownham is still 823 .... from a Southampton number on CNet or 0421 3 .... from outside the local area. I have a huge database of old codes which is growing all the time.

Ian
CNet 0352 2345
MR ETD 053-6278

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Old 21st Nov 2017, 8:26 pm   #19
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

I told you he was the expert.
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Old 21st Nov 2017, 8:31 pm   #20
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Default Re: Southampton - number of digits on dial label in 1958

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePillenwerfer View Post
I'd expect the label to look like as below.

As for the number of figures, it'd probably be five. Ian's our numbering expert though.
That label ('Label 160')was only used in areas which had a 999 facility. And not everywhere had a 999 facility in 1958 but Southampton did.

I have a telephone from an exchange that only went into service in March 1976 and they didn't get the 999 service until that late! It has a grey '700' style 'Label 486' which said 'In case of Emergency Dial 0' as it predates that particular 'new' exchange.

I have an STD Dialling Code book specific for the exchange dated March 1976 - the exchange only had eight lines on it at that time and had only reached 15 lines when it closed in December 1991 and the lines moved onto another exchange 10 miles or so away. Got to be a rare code book? I only know of one other copy.

There were still a number of exchanges which didn't get the 999 service until some time between March 1976 and 1977 !

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