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.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.