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  • Recorded information services offered by BT

    The telephone numbers for various recorded information services offered by BT in 1981. Taken from the dialling code book for Guildford.

    Bedtime Stories (from 6pm each night) 8071

    Cricket (8am to 7pm, not Sundays, during Test Matches played in England and certain other matches) 16

    Dial a Disc (During certain cricket matches service will be restricted from Monday to Saturday 7pm to 8am) 16

    Financial Times Index and Business News Summary 01 246 8026

    Gardening Information (Saturday and Sunday 8am to 6pm) 8071

    Motoring Information – The information given covers roads within 50 miles of each of the following centres:

    Belfast 0232 8021

    Birmingham 0203 8021

    Bristol 0793 8021

    Cardiff 0222 8021

    Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Doncaster 0742 8021

    London 8021

    Manchester and Liverpool 0161 246 8021

    Newcastle and Middlesbrough 0642 8021

    Scotland (whole) 031 246 8021

    Southampton 0705 8021

    Race Line – Details of principal horse race meetings plus up to date results service 8060

    Recipe (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm) 8071

    Skiing Information (1 December to 30 April) Skiing conditions at the principal Scottish ski centres 031 246 8031

    Time 8081

    Weather Forecast

    Bedford area (40 mile radius) 01 246 8099

    Belfast area 0232 8091

    Birmingham area 0203 8091

    Bristol area (including Weston-super-Mare) 0793 8091

    Cardiff area 0222 8091

    Devon and Cornwall 0392 8091

    Edinburgh area 031 246 8091

    Essex coast 01 246 8096

    Glasgow area 041 246 8091

    Kent coast 01 246 8098

    Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire 061 246 8091

    Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield area 0484 8091

    London area 8091

    Norfolk and Suffolk 0473 8091

    N.E. England 0642 8091

    N. Lincolnshire, Retford and S. Humberside 0522 8091

    N. Wales coast from Conwy to Chester 0244 8091

    Notts, Leicester and Derby area 0533 8091

    Sheffield area (20 mile radius) 0742 8091

    S. Hampshire and Isle of Wight (including the coastal area between Poole Harbour and Chichester) 0705 8091

    S.W. Midlands 0242 8091

    Sussex coast 01 246 8097

    Thames Valley 01 246 8090

    What's on – For a daily selection of the main events and places of interest in and around:

    London 8041

    London – in French 01 246 8043

    London – in German 01 246 8045

    Edinburgh (1 May to 30 September) 031 246 8041

  • #2
    Were a lot of these numbers Premium Rate? - I thought that Premium Rate numbers were only introduced in around 1986-1987, but they feel "Premium Rate" in nature to me with regards to the "bedtime stories" and the weather reports ones.

    And for reasons that I won't go into on here, I hate any Premium Rate telephone number so much!

    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
    I'm having so much fun
    My lucky number's one
    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by George 1978 View Post
      Were a lot of these numbers Premium Rate? - I thought that Premium Rate numbers were only introduced in around 1986-1987, but they feel "Premium Rate" in nature to me with regards to the "bedtime stories" and the weather reports ones.

      And for reasons that I won't go into on here, I hate any Premium Rate telephone number so much!
      I checked the dialling code book and calls were standard rate. Those without a dialling code were local rate; 01 numbers a (not local but under 56km) rate; 031 numbers b (over 56km) rate.


      Comment


      • #4
        The numbers, and even services, varied slightly from place to place. The services with 80xx numbers were available from main telephone exchanges, so a dialling code was required to reach them from smaller telephone exchanges with a different STD code.

        The 1981 dialling code book for Haywards Heath also includes:

        Leisureline – Sport and entertainment 91 8045

        Seagull Line – Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club, latest news and information 91 8049

        Seastate – Information for Anglers, Bathers, Sailors and Watersports 91 8046

        Tele-Radio – Radio Brighton 91 8069

        Services are provided from Brighton telephone exchange except those listed with an STD code. 91 was the local dialling code for Brighton from Haywards Heath. These services could be accessed nationally using the STD code for Brighton even if they weren't published in local dialling code books, for example, 0273 8049 for Seagull Line.

        The Weather Forecast for London is 01 246 8091 and for Sussex Coast is 91 8091. Time is 91 8081.

        Comment


        • #5
          I remember there was a service called Club Call where you could get information about what was happening behind the scenes at a particular football club. Each club had a different number to call.
          The Trickster On The Roof

          Comment


          • #6
            Of course, 8091 is an anagram of 0891 - a Premium Rate code used many years later. I am surprised that they were standard rate to be honest - I assume that there were no smutty chat lines in existence back in 1981, although only five years later they were advertising all over the place in the Sunday tabloids.

            I bet Club Call was for Division 1 (now Premiership) clubs such as Man Utd.

            I assumed that 0800 only started in around 1986 as before that, most advertising invited us to "dial 100 and ask for Freephone (name of company)".
            I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
            There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
            I'm having so much fun
            My lucky number's one
            Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

            Comment


            • #7
              I remember going to the phone box and listening to dial a disc, it was standard rate , the 2p got you the standard time usually just less than the full song, it was played on a loop so you’d usually be connected halfway through the record

              Comment


              • #8
                Recorded information services from the 1982 dialling code book for London.

                Children's London 246 8007

                Cricketline – Available during the cricket season in England 154

                Discline 160

                Financial Times Cityline 246 8026

                Leisureline – For a daily selection of the main events and places of interest in and around:

                London 246 8041

                London – in French 246 8043

                London – in German 246 8045

                Edinburgh (1 May to 30 September) 031 246 8041

                Chester 0244 8041

                Puffin Storyline (from 6pm each night) 246 8000

                Raceline – Horse racing results and information available 24 hours a day during most meetings 168

                Recipeline – For recipe of the day 246 8071

                Skiing Information (1 December to 30 April) Skiing conditions at the principal Scottish ski centres 031 246 8031

                Sportsline – Separate publicity will be given when service operates 246 8020

                Starline – Daily Horoscope 246 8000

                Timeline – For the speaking clock 123

                Traveline – Travel information for the following areas:

                Birmingham 021 246 8021

                Bristol 0272 8021

                London 246 8021

                Manchester and Liverpool 0161 246 8021

                Northern England 0632 8021

                Northern Ireland 0232 8021

                Scotland 031 246 8021

                South and West Yorkshire 0532 8021

                South Wales 0222 8021

                National Summaries

                Rail (Inter-city & London) 246 8030

                Road (Motorway & major trunk roads) 246 8031

                Sea 246 8032

                Air 246 8033

                Weatherline

                Anglesey & N. Wales Coast 061 246 8093

                Bedford area (40 mile radius) 246 8099

                Birmingham and Warwickshire 021 246 8091

                Devon and Cornwall 0752 8091

                Dorset and Hampshire Coast 0703 8091

                E. Midlands 0602 8091

                Edinburgh and Lothian 031 246 8091

                Essex and N. Kent coast 246 8096

                Glamorgan and Gwent 0222 8091

                Glasgow area 041 246 8091

                Grampian and Aberdeen 0224 8091

                Lincolnshire and Humberside 0522 8091

                London area 246 8091

                Norfolk and Suffolk 0473 8091

                N.E. England incl. N. Yorkshire 0632 8091

                N.W. England 061 246 8091

                N. Ireland 0232 8091

                Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire 246 8090

                Somerset and Avon 0272 8091

                S.W. Midlands 0452 8091

                S. Yorkshire and the Peak District 0742 8091

                Sussex and S. Kent coast 246 8097

                W. Yorkshire 0532 8091

                For personal advice call the Meteorological Office 836 4311

                W.H. Smith Albumline – Tracks from L.P. Records 246 8008

                Woolworth Gardenline – Gardening Information 246 8070

                Note that several services have changed their names in order to make them sound more trendy.

                Raceline is also available on 246 8060.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Most recorded information services in London had the number 01 246 80xx. 246 was the replacement number for ASK after London changed to all figure numbers.

                  Here are technical details how the services were provided

                  http://www.lightstraw.co.uk/ate/main/ris/index.html

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It made me wonder why on earth Premium Rate telephone services were introduced in this country in the first place when we had this sort of stuff originally - if it ain't broke...

                    I bet that the regulator at the time was the same as the ones for general telephone services and so unnecessarily didn't have a separate one.

                    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
                    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
                    I'm having so much fun
                    My lucky number's one
                    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by George 1978 View Post
                      It made me wonder why on earth Premium Rate telephone services were introduced in this country in the first place when we had this sort of stuff originally - if it ain't broke...
                      The sicker side of Thatcherite capitalism. A bit like the Deregulation of the Buses Act 1986 and the Housing Act 1988.

                      One problem with premium rate numbers is that they coud be reused for completely different services in a short space of time. I can remember a time when a kid from my primary school phoned a premium rate number for some service about wildlife and the number had been reused for an erotic adult service. Her mother was absolutely horrified and wrote a letter of complaint to Oftel about it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Another problem was that many services played in a loop, so if you didn't hang up properly it would keep playing and run up a big bill!
                        The Trickster On The Roof

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A few more services that were available in 1984:

                          Capital Radioline 01 246 8024

                          Challenge Line – Brain teasers (answers next day) 01 246 8050

                          Eventline - Motor Sport information 01 246 8066

                          Golden Hitline – Hits from the 60s and 70s 01 246 8044

                          Newsline 01 246 8080

                          Spaceline – Space mission information 01 246 8055

                          They probably only lasted a few years.

                          I'm wondering how many recorded information services on 246 were available after 071 / 081 replaced 01 in 1990.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I imagine the Challenger disaster stopped the Spaceline being useful, unless it also reported the Soviet space missions.
                            The Trickster On The Roof

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Richard1978 View Post
                              Another problem was that many services played in a loop, so if you didn't hang up properly it would keep playing and run up a big bill!
                              There could have been a timeout mechanism that disconnects the call after the tape has played a certain number of times, but I will have to further investigate this.

                              Comment

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