Petty hates – number 61552354: 0207 and 0208

history of the London area code changes

You see it everywhere, you hear it quoted everywhere and yet it’s so, so wrong. Until recently, trying to convince people that London has one, single, area code and not two was like trying to persuade a neo-con to open a non-profit abortion clinic. It’s so simple:
The area code for London is 020. Local London numbers are now 8 digits and not seven. So for me to call, say, Lewisham hospital from my landline I only need to dial ‘83333000’ and not the 020. What is so difficult about that ? Yet, according to Ofcom, as of 2005 only 13% of Londoners knew this. Astonishing really. Almost as astonishing as the number of printers who willingly put incorrect spacing on signs, banners and stationary.
I used to think that as soon as other prefixes came on-line, people would get the hint, but now that the 3 is widely used (eg 020 3xxx xxxx) people still don’t get it. They still believe we have inner and outer London codes…so what’s the 0203 for ? Under-ground offices ? When 4 and 5 start getting used will they be for different heights above ground ?
However, I’ve just discovered this handy-dandy clue stick with which to hit offenders around the head. Next time you see someone tell you their number is ‘0207…’, send them the link and hopefully they’ll stop being such tards.


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