That Number Rings a Bell

I’ve been told I have a peculiar kind of memory and that’s being kind. My brain seems to hold on to the strangest bits of knowledge and locks them up securely, releasing them in brief floods of connectivity.

I was sitting in the line-up for Starbucks and my Nan’s telephone number just blurted out in my mind, 837-2247, or eight three seven double two four seven, as my mind has chosen to store it away. Now my Nan hasn’t been with us for over 20 years, and that phone number has been hers for even longer. This was back in the day when London had a single prefix 01 added to the number if you were outside London.

This got me to thinking of the other prefixes that London has been inflicted with. 01, was a staple ever since I could remember, then two new prefixes were introduced, to seemingly give London more phone numbers to offer, 071 for Central London and 081 for outer London. This now meant that if you lived in Central London and wanted to call a number in Outer London, you had to add the prefix and vice versa. This you would think would be enough, but no, BT in their infinite wisdom a few years later decided this wasn’t good enough and changed the prefixes yet again to 0171 and 0181. I think with this change you had to add the prefix, even if you were in the same area code, which was a major pain, when you were used to dialing a seven digit number.

You’d think that change would be enough, but no, London had yet another change in the early 2000s. The regular 7 digit number now adopted an extra digit, 7 for Central London and 8 for Outer London. This was in addition to 020 which now became the new area code for all of London. So My Nan’s phone number went from:

01-837 2247
071-837-2247
0171-837-2247
020-7837-2247

Kind of makes me wonder who is using the number now. All of that from a long lost memory.

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