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Old 4th May 2020, 12:18 am   #1
Hermitcrab
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Default The space in the STD codes

The attached page is from the London Dialling Code Booklet for 1968 which I found online. The relevant STD codes had the space after the 4th digit, e.g. Ackworth is shown as 0977 63, whereas in later Dialling Code Booklets from around 1970 onwards it would have been shown with the space after the 3rd digit i.e. 097 763, as would all similar codes.

The space after the 4th digit would have made more sense to me as Ackworth was effectively Pontefract (0977) followed by 63. The Post Office, who ran the telephones then, must have made the decision at some time to change the spacing of the STD codes. Does anyone remember why?
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Old 4th May 2020, 10:59 am   #2
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

Weren't STD codes originally all 4 figures with a leading 0? (Apart from the likes of London, Birmingham etc). The next few digits were the LOCAL code from the STD exchange to the village or other small area exchange involved. That would make the '68 division logical to an engineer. Later on I presume the divisions were just artificial to make all complete numbers inc STD code easier to remember, perhaps?

I suspect a lot of older folks like myself will still think of a London number such as 020 7589 5111 as 0207 589 5111- the 3+4 London number arrangement goes back a long time!
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Old 4th May 2020, 11:45 am   #3
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

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Originally Posted by Hermitcrab View Post
The attached page is from the London Dialling Code Booklet for 1968 which I found online. The relevant STD codes had the space after the 4th digit, e.g. Ackworth is shown as 0977 63, whereas in later Dialling Code Booklets from around 1970 onwards it would have been shown with the space after the 3rd digit i.e. 097 763, as would all similar codes.

The space after the 4th digit would have made more sense to me as Ackworth was effectively Pontefract (0977) followed by 63. The Post Office, who ran the telephones then, must have made the decision at some time to change the spacing of the STD codes. Does anyone remember why?
As you say it is a lot easier in the earlier layout to recognise where an exchange was. No-one at the time seemed to know why. The only thing it did do is make it easier to spot the GSCs (or in later years exchanges which had moved into the Linked Numbering Scheme for that code) - those with just the 0ABC digits.

In the reproductions of STD code books for CNet ( Collectors Network were we still dial use the old STD codes) the numbers are set out in the earlier more logical format.
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Old 4th May 2020, 11:53 am   #4
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

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Weren't STD codes originally all 4 figures with a leading 0?
No. The original STD codes consisted of letters and figures. For example:-

0NO3 Norwich later 0603 later 01603
0IP3 Ipswich later 0473 later 01473

I think All Figure Numbering (AFN) came in around 1968.
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Old 4th May 2020, 2:44 pm   #5
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

They were in the early days of STD laid out differently to that! See attached from an STD code book printed during the days of only two pages of codes! Printed in the format of 0AB C or 0AB CDE

i.e Carlisle was 0CA 8 and Burgh-by-Ands, a UAX off Carlisle was shown as 0CA 878

With reference to 'All-Figure-Numbering' I have a May 1966 codebook with all the STD codes in numbers only but Director Areas were still using first three letters of exchange names as part of the number for older exchanges whereas new exchanges in the Director areas were all figure at that time. The change to AFN had been completed by beginning of 1968.
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Old 4th May 2020, 4:00 pm   #6
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

Forgot to mention - They were set out in the 0AB C format until the earlier books than May 1966.

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Old 4th May 2020, 5:29 pm   #7
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

Going back to the 1960's, when I lived in Poynton a village near Stockport with my parents, there were 2 codes, which if memory serves were 0624 if dialling from a local subscriber exchange and 09967 for non local subscriber exchanges. Later Poynton came under the Greater Manchester area and the code changed to 709, which corresponded with the first 3 letters of Poynton. The same was true for all the areas in and around Manchester, unless the third letter to number conversion was in use, in which case instead of the third letter being used it would change to the fourth and so on, until a non used code number was achieved. Poynton was using the 4 digit number per line until later changing to 6 digit per line. It could be difficult to phone Poynton numbers from other areas before the 709 came in. I know because I had to get an operator to assist once, who subsequently had to transfer me to another operator nearer to Poynton, I was ringing from a motorway services to let the family know that the coach was running late.
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Old 4th May 2020, 9:17 pm   #8
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

Couldn't have been 0624 as that was the STD code for Douglas (Isle of Man) if the exchange had STD - but if they hadn't, the '0' would have been the code for the Operator.

The code for Poynton was always PO9 even in pre STD days from exchanges in the Manchester Director Area and 709 with the introduction of AFN. Then when 5 digit numbers appeared on Poynton exchange in the 1970's, the code 25 from the Director area was added for use with them - still a total of seven digits from the Director area.

Poynton was also 77 from Macclesfield Non-Director Group Switching Centre.

The STD code for Poynton was originally 0996 7 but when the exchange moved into the Macclesfield 'Linked Numbering Scheme' and the numbers became 6 digits long around July 1980, the STD code for Poynton became 0625 and thus there was no code from Macclesfield. The 'local' code from the Manchester Director Area became just the single digit '7' - still with a total of seven digits. Interestingly, the local code '7' was also used from the Director Area exchanges for Bolton, Farnworth, Heywood, Padgate, Rochdale and Warrington six digit numbers! All miles away - the routing was also determined by the initial digits of the individual phone numbers.

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Old 5th May 2020, 9:15 am   #9
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

Thanks for the 0625 correction, that was a typo on my part. I was told a long time back that the spaces, although not used by the exchanges etc, were there to make it easier for customers to remember numbers and to easily see which area where they were dialling. Indeed even now with mobile phone numbers, when printed, there is often a space inserted after the first 5 digiits.
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Old 5th May 2020, 10:07 am   #10
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

Although not strictly true, I tend to think of the first group of five digits as the provider code (although it is sometimes shorter or longer) and the remaining six as the "subscriber's" number. Admittedly, you always have to use the whole number when dialling.
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Old 7th May 2020, 3:01 pm   #11
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

My local exchange was OMH2.
Interesting that the 'O' in front of the pre-AFN is actually pronounced and written 'O', and not 'Zero'.
I always thought that it was, but it's nice to have it confirmed.
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Old 7th May 2020, 4:22 pm   #12
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

The initial 'digit' was actually printed as a capital O during the days pf Alpha/Numberic codes - see O270 on the attached.

It didn't really matter as the 'O' and '0' were in the same location on the dial - the tenth digit - unlike the American/Canadian dial which has the letter 'O' adjacent to the M and N on the digit 6. Note you'll occasionally come across GPO type Dial No 10/12's with the letter 'O' on the digit 6. These have originated from UK manufactured telephones supplied to Canada.

Once All Figure Numbering started to come in 1966, the initial 'digit' was printed as a 'zero' but folk carried on referring to it as 'Oh'

Modern mobile phones (and the odd modern 'landline' phones with letters) of course follow the US pattern of lettering
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Old 7th May 2020, 4:36 pm   #13
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

Some of us still say 'Oh' when reading out phone numbers, even mobile ones! Don't do it for the following '0' or '0's' though, only the first digit.
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Old 7th May 2020, 4:42 pm   #14
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

As a matter of interest the STD director codes, apart from 01 for London, were in alphabetical order for Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester as 021, 031, 041, 051 and 061 respectively.The initial city letters correspond to the numeral on an alpha-numeric dial.

They would be followed by a local 3 digit code often derived from the name of the local exchange in a similar way from a dial. Example 0161-624 2211 for Manchester, Main (Oldham); MAI being represented as 624

Then the 4 digit "subscriber's" number - many of you will know the significance of 2211.
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Old 7th May 2020, 7:28 pm   #15
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

I must admit that when saying my telephone number, I say "oh" for all the zeroes in it - four of them in total.
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Old 7th May 2020, 10:21 pm   #16
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

I believe Manchester Airport has its own exchange with numbers in the '0161 489' sequence.
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Old 7th May 2020, 10:28 pm   #17
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

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As a matter of interest the STD director codes, apart from 01 for London, were in alphabetical order for Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester as 021, 031, 041, 051 and 061 respectively.The initial city letters correspond to the numeral on an alpha-numeric dial.

They would be followed by a local 3 digit code often derived from the name of the local exchange in a similar way from a dial. Example 0161-624 2211 for Manchester, Main (Oldham); MAI being represented as 624

Then the 4 digit "subscriber's" number - many of you will know the significance of 2211.
And Altrincham was 061-928, Blackfriar 061-834, GPO 061-863 and plenty more examples! The first the digits taken from the exchange name was only applicable before 'sectorisation' took place in Manchester around 1967. Some codes didn't change but most did if they ended up in a different 'numerical' zone to their original letter.
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Old 7th May 2020, 11:07 pm   #18
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

My Dad's Mum was confused by long distance dialling, especially as she didn't do it very often

Once she was trying to call my Dad at a number in Didsbury, but was dialling D1D (313) rather than 343 & couldn't get through.
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Old 7th May 2020, 11:35 pm   #19
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pip5678 View Post
As a matter of interest the STD director codes, apart from 01 for London, were in alphabetical order for Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester as 021, 031, 041, 051 and 061 respectively.The initial city letters correspond to the numeral on an alpha-numeric dial.

They would be followed by a local 3 digit code often derived from the name of the local exchange in a similar way from a dial. Example 0161-624 2211 for Manchester, Main (Oldham); MAI being represented as 624

Then the 4 digit "subscriber's" number - many of you will know the significance of 2211.
And Altrincham was 061-928, Blackfriar 061-834, GPO 061-863 and plenty more examples! The first the digits taken from the exchange name was only applicable before 'sectorisation' took place in Manchester around 1967. Some codes didn't change but most did if they ended up in a different 'numerical' zone to their original letter.
"They would be followed by a local 3 digit code OFTEN derived from the name of the local exchange in a similar way from a dial."
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Old 8th May 2020, 11:26 am   #20
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Default Re: The space in the STD codes

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Then the 4 digit "subscriber's" number - many of you will know the significance of 2211.
Doesn't 'ring a bell' with me - did you mean 1212?
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