The Secret Life Of Phone Numbers

Ian Peacock takes a step back into the not too distant past to dial up some previously untold stories from the history of telephony. GPO operators, at the front-line of communications with the public for more than half a century, reveal how they coped with the awkward, the brave, and the nuisance caller, as the march of technology gradually transformed the phone call from an occasional necessity to an everyday casual experience.

The ever growing length of UK phone numbers from one digit to today's six or seven, the introduction of call-boxes and even the "speaking clock", at the time, all taxed our limited patience with technology. And, that era of communication with its mechanical exchanges and purring dial tones was, unbeknown to most of us, still crackling with life even as digital and mobile phones entered our lives in the 1990s.

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Ian Peacock takes a step back into the not too distant past to dial up some previously untold stories from the history of telephony. GPO operators, at the front-line of communications with the public for more than half a century, reveal how they coped with the awkward, the brave, and the nuisance caller, as the march of technology gradually transformed the phone call from an occasional necessity to an everyday casual experience.

The ever growing length of UK phone numbers from one digit to today's six or seven, the introduction of call-boxes and even the "speaking clock", at the time, all taxed our limited patience with technology. And, that era of communication with its mechanical exchanges and purring dial tones was, unbeknown to most of us, still crackling with life even as digital and mobile phones entered our lives in the 1990s.