BT Puts Old British Phone Books Online
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
Okay, it's finally happening. We are about to pass time on this program by reading the phone book.
LYNN NEARY, host:
In particular, it is the Greater London Phone Book, circa 1911.
INSKEEP: That 1911 book has a listing for Harry Houdini, the handcuff king. His home number was Gerard-1312.
NEARY: The 1926 London phone book has a listing for Alfred Hitchcock, and his number was Brixton-3807.
BT, formerly British Telecom, posted more than a century of phone books along with the Web site Ancestry U.K. The Web site's Simon Harper says the book reflects a different time.
Mr. SIMON HAPRER (Ancestry U.K.): You could ring up Churchill himself in Paddington-1003. In the very early editions, numbers weren't published and the operator will be able to tell you, I'm sorry, Churchill's not in at the moment, and you'd call again.
INSKEEP: The hope is that people will now pay a few pounds out of curiosity while tracing their ancestors.
You've got our number, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News.