We have a near-complete set of phone books for the whole country produced not only by BT, but also by its predecessors including Post Office Telecommunications, the National Telephone Company and other private companies. They date back to 1880, the year after the public telephone service was introduced into Great Britain.
BT's historical phone books from 1880-1984 are available online. Scanned in collaboration with Ancestry.co.uk they are of particular interest to family historians. You can still see copies of the phone books from 1880 to the present in person at the BT Archives.
These are our historical records for the telecommunications function of the Post Office and its predecessors. These papers document the development of the telegraph and telephone services up to 1984, and include records of preceding private telegraph and telephone companies taken over by the Post Office dating back to the early part of the 19th century. These are searchable and, where scanned, available to view on our online catalogue.
BT, the former British Telecom, has put its archived telephone books dating back to 1880 online. BT partnered with the subscription-based website, Ancestry UK, to offer a searchable database that will eventually include 250 million names from throughout the United Kingdom.
It is unclear why BT wishes to prohibit the kiosk from being re-used for electronic communications and why the regulator, Ofcom, has allowed it. In the US, there is an active movement seeking new telecom uses for little-used telephone booths, for example as wi-fi hotspots.
During 2009 a K6 in the village of Westbury-sub-Mendip in Somerset was converted into a library or book exchange replacing the services of the mobile library which no longer visits the village. Similar libraries now exist in the villages of North Cadbury in Somerset, Great Budworth in Cheshire,Little Shelford and Upwood in Cambridgeshire and some 150 other locations. One such box was donated by Cumbernauld's town twinning association and installed as a library in Bron, France. The Telephone Box Book Exchange in Cutnall Green opened in June 2016.
This search allows you to search UK "phonebook" records to find addresses and phone numbers. Searching is free, but you will need to register to see the full details. Registered users get 20 free searches per day.
The phone books date back to 1880 and contain 280 million names. They can be used to track down relatives, but you can also use the service to find out if your house has ever had any famous, or infamous, residents.
Early editions also included advice on using the phone and phone etiquette: "Answer promptly and announce your identity at once upon receiving a call." The phone book to cover the whole country was published in 1896 and had 81,000 numbers.
This collection contains British phone books published between 1880, the year after the public telephone service was introduced to the UK, and 1984, from the historic phone book collection held by BT Archives. The database currently contains 1780 phone books and provides near full county coverage for England as well as containing substantial records for Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.
The largest section of the phone book, and generally the most significant for family historians, is the alphabetical listings or directory. The alphabetical listings typically contain the following details:
Phone books also contain an introduction of useful local and operational information. Located at the front of the book these pages may contain lists of abbreviations used, contact information for important government agencies, instructions on how to make long distance calls, explanations of the exchanges and their coverage, or other necessary information in order to use the phone book and telephone equipment. The introduction is not searchable and can only be seen by using the browse function.
Advertisements for local businesses occasionally appear at the tops and bottoms of the alphabetical listings pages, as well as on full separate pages designated as such. Advertisements cannot be searched independently but can be seen by selecting the image of the phone book following searching for a name in close alphabetical proximity or by using the browse function.
Phone books are very useful for pinpointing individuals in a particular place and time. While censuses were only conducted once every ten years, phone books were published around every one to two years, creating in essence, an almost year by year record of individuals' geographic locations and movements. This makes it possible to locate many individuals in between census years and especially to find family members during years in which censuses are not currently available to the public. For reference, the latest viewable UK census is 1901, and will remain so until early 2012 when the 1911 census can be released.
Phone books are also very telling of an individual's economic and social status since telephone ownership is a prerequisite to an individual's inclusion within this collection. Early subscribers to the telephone service were typically large businesses or the well-to-do. Telephone ownership gradually increased, reflected by a corresponding growth in the size and number of phone books, and from the second quarter of the twentieth century became more commonly adopted by domestic subscribers.
While the alphabetical listings in the phone book will likely be of most interest to researchers, if your ancestor owned a business the advertisement section might also be of interest. There you may learn the location of and type of goods and services sold or offered by the business. This may lead you to additional research in occupational records.
Every year in December, a new BT Phone Book is released, which includes residential and business phone numbers in the United Kingdom. You can order the phone book online by calling 1-800-439-1992. A group that promotes the printing and distribution of telephone books has filed lawsuits against several North American cities. Every year, the majority of American households receive phone books. A phone book can be printed every year, though the exact number varies by location. Some businesses may print less frequently in areas with high population turnover than others, while others may print every few years. Every year, tens of thousands of western Pennsylvania residents receive a phone book.
If you want to stop receiving phone books, you can call the number on the cover of the phone book. Several BT phone books are published on an annual basis, with the most recent editions typically released in the late spring or early summer. Phone books are no longer required by phone companies to be distributed to their customers. If you want to buy a phone book, you can do so through your phone company or a library. The BT residential phone book contains the addresses and phone numbers of all UK residents.
Print media is a constantly evolving field that is being disrupted by new technologies and platforms, which are taking the place of traditional methods such as newspapers and magazines. Despite this, print is still a viable medium, with the telephone book proving to be one of the few that is surviving in the digital age. For a variety of reasons, traditional phone books continue to be printed and delivered to the majority of American households each year. Companies have fought regulations in recent years that would have phased out yellow pages entirely because they are full of advertisements and are profit-making for them. Despite this, phone books continue to be printed at an ever-increasing rate, most likely due to the sheer volume of directories produced each year.
BT (British Telecom) no longer publishes a paper phone book. The last BT phone book was published in December 2010. From 2011, customers have been able to request a free paper copy of the BT Phone Book by calling 0800 800 151.
Here are some statistics on local search marketing. More than half of Americans have turned to online search services over the last few years, and mobile usage is increasing at an astonishing rate. According to MSN, 70% of Americans do not even read their phone books. The white pages account for only 11% of the page views.
Except for a few exceptions, Verizon will no longer deliver phone books in. The state of New York today granted Verizon permission to stop delivering telephone books to customers there, allowing the company to stop producing directories that many people throw away.
The advent of the Internet and smartphones in the twenty-first century resulted in a significant reduction in the need for a paper phone book. A few communities, such as Seattle and San Francisco, have passed legislation prohibiting unsolicited distribution as wasteful, unwanted, and harmful to the environment. The collapse of the telephone directory was caused by two major factors: the Internet revolution and the shift from land lines to mobile devices. The rise of the Internet began with the decline of the telephone book, also known as the White Pages. When the Internet was in its infancy, people could get information by sending an email or chatting in a chat room. It was simple to find information online because the White Pages only included the names and addresses of the people who had requested it. The White Pages also failed to keep up with the changes in the telephone industry. The shift from land lines to mobile devices caused a drop in demand for the White Pages. It also failed to keep up with the changing business model of the telephone industry. During the first days of the telephone, yellow pages were used to find businesses. People turned to the yellow pages for help in later years. Yellow pages did not reflect the changing business models in the telecommunications industry when they were last updated. When people switch from land lines to mobile devices, yellow pages are less in demand. The Internet and the switch to mobile devices caused the decline of the telephone directory as a result of the Internet and the shift to mobile devices. The rise of the Internet began with the decline of the telephone book, also known as the White Pages. The Yellow Pages, which were the first casualties of the transition from land lines to mobile devices, were not the only casualties. 2b1af7f3a8