The very first phone book was published in 1880.

(I’ve just found out that 100 years of back issues of the UK phone directories have been scanned and published online. Now I’m not saying they would be an interesting read, far from it, but it is of interest to anyone researching their family tree.

The books go up to 1984–the date of BT’s privatization.

In the beginning there were only 248 subscribers to the Telephone Company, and just the addresses were listed. If you wanted to be connected, you had to ring the operator and ask for the person by name.

The first entry in the very first phone book was John Adam & Co, 11 Pudding Lane in the City of London. In 1916, Buckingham Palace appeared as Victoria 6913 – with a whole four phone lines to the royal family! And in 1925 Winston Churchill could be dialled on Paddington 1003.)