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OLD DIALLING CODES AND CALL CHARGES FOR THE BIRMINGHAM AREA

 

Birmingham Director Area 1931

In 1931 the Birmingham Director Area opened, which initially included four exchanges: Birchfield, Harborne, Northern and Victoria. By 1938 a further 34 local exchanges were included.  Subscribers in the Director areas would dial the first three letters of the exchange name followed by the subscribers number, usually three or four digits.

In 1966 all-figure number (AFN) dialling codes were introduced in Birmingham. There are presently 47 telephone exchanges in the Birmingham Director Area.

Early days of the telephone in Birmingham

Birmingham Director Area 1969

This map shows the 40 local exchanges in use in 1931

This map shows the 43 local exchanges in use by 1969

 


The dial on GPO telephones in those early days had letters as well as numbers on it:-

1 no letters

2 ABC
3 DEF
4 GHI
5 JKL
6 MN
7 PRS
8 TUV
9 WXY
0 OQ 

Dialling instructions for making emergency calls


Because of expansion and the reorganisation of exchanges into sectors many of the exchange numbers were changed, however some stayed the same. For example to dial someone on the Four Oaks exchange with the number 0200 you would have dialed FOU 0200, nowadays it would be 308 0200.

A leaflet (shown here) produced in the mid 60's explains the introduction of All-Figure Telephone Numbers for London (01-), Birmingham (021-), Edinburgh (031-), Glasgow (041-), Liverpool (051-) & Manchester (061-). These were known as the Director Areas. The changeover began in March 1966 and was completed in 1969. Further information on Director Area Codes can be found at: Letters for digits in UK telephone numbers

Exchanges in the Birmingham Director Area in 1965

 

  Old Number Old Exchange Name New Number Area (if different)
  •  
220 ACOcks Green 706, 707 n/a
  •  
274 ASHfield 351 Walmley
  •  
278 ASTon Cross 359 Aston
  •  
232 BEArwood 429 n/a
  •  
247 BIRchfield 356 n/a
  •  
252 BLAckheath 559 n/a
  •  
270 BROadwell 552 Oldbury
  •  
225 CALthorpe 440 n/a
  •  
227 CAStle Bromwich 747 n/a
  •  
236         CENtral  unchanged City Centre
  •  
327         EASt             unchanged Washwood Heath
  •  
334 EDGbaston 454 n/a
  •  
373         ERDington 373, 350 n/a
  •  
308         FOUr Oaks  unchanged n/a
  •  
470 G.P.O 262 British Telecom
  •  
473 GREat Barr 357, 358 n/a
  •  
425 HALesowen 550 n/a
  •  
427         HARborne unchanged n/a
  •  
444         HIGhbury       unchanged Kings Heath
  •  
445         HILlside          unchanged Barnt Green
  •  
526         JAMes Bridge  unchanged Darlaston
  •  
546 KINgs Norton 458 n/a
  •  
627 MARston Green 779 n/a
  •  
629 MAYpole  474 n/a
  •  
643         MIDland         unchanged City Centre
  •  
607 NORthern 554, 523 Handsworth
  •  
774 PRIory 475 Northfield
  •  
782 RUBery  453 n/a
  •  
735 SELly Oak 472 n/a
  •  
743         SHEldon unchanged n/a
  •  
744         SHIrley unchanged n/a
  •  
763 SMEthwick 558 n/a
  •  
705         SOLihull  unchanged n/a
  •  
708         SOUth           449 Moseley
  •  
777         SPRingfield     unchanged Hall Green
  •  
783         STEchford  unchanged n/a
  •  
780 STOne Cross 588 (West Bromwich)
  •  
787 STReetly  353 n/a
  •  
788 SUTton Coldfield 354, 355, 329 n/a
  •  
847 TIPton 557 n/a
  •  
843 VICtoria 772 Small Heath
  •  
927 WARstock WARstock was renamed MAYpole in 1953
  •  
933 WEDnesbury 556 n/a
  •  
937 WESt Bromwich 553 n/a
  •  
900 WOOdgate 422 Quinton
 

There are now over 275 exchange codes in the Birmingham 0121 STD area compared to the 44 listed above. 
-
this denotes exchanges added after 1938 and before 1965. 
-
Prior to 1956, CENtral included COLmore and MIDland included CITy.


Services
  •  
DIR Directory Enquiries
  •  
ENG Faults
  •  
INF Telephone Enquiries
  •  
TEL Inland Telegrams
  •  
TIM Time
  •  
TOL Toll Calls
  •  
TRU Trunk Calls
  •  
UMP Test Match Score

Toll Calls: If a subscriber wished to call someone outside the Director area, they would dial TOL. This then directed the call to an operator at the toll exchange. A small lamp on the switchboard would flash and the operator would switch the call through to the particular manual exchange in the toll area required.


Birmingham Sectors
  STD Code Area of Birmingham
  •  
0121-2XX City Centre
  •  
0121-3XX North
  •  
0121-4XX South
  •  
0121-5XX West
  •  
0121-6XX City Centre
  •  
0121-7XX  East

Note: Since the introduction of Cable Telephone in the 1990's and other more recent services, not all exchange numbers observe these sectors codes.


A5599 Drawer Code Cards

Some 200 & 300 series phones were fitted with a drawer in the base. The drawer contained a card known as an A5599 which had a list of the local codes printed on it.

Code Card

A5599 Birmingham, Warwickshire printed in July 1961

A5599 Director Area One printed in October 1963

A5599 Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire printed in February 1956 A5599 Aldridge, Bloxwich & Walsall printed in May 1960
A5599 Brighton & Hove, East Sussex printed in July 1958 A5599 Burntwood printed in March 1966
A5599 Burgess Hill, East Sussex printed in December 1962 A5599 Pelsall printed in September 1957
A5599 Warninglid, East Sussex printed in 1966

 

  List of Call Charges for the Birmingham Group, MID.3 applicable from January 1958


List of local dialling codes to be used when dialling from the Birmingham telephone area
Exchange 1965 1968 1987 2002 Exchange 1965 1968 1987 2002
Albrighton (4f) AL 9 259 090 722 n/a Heath Hayes 0LH 37 054 37 0543 01543
Albrighton (6f) n/a n/a 090 2 01902 Hednesford (4&5f) HE 9 439 054 38 n/a
Aldridge AL 25 25 01922 Hednesford (6f) n/a n/a 0543 01543
Aldridge (6f) n/a n/a 9 01922 Henley-in-Arden ( 4 f) HE 8 438 438 n/a
Armitage 0LH 341 054 341 054 3 01543 Henley-in-Arden (6f) n/a n/a 0564 01564
Astwood Bank (4f) AS 2 272 052 789 n/a Hurley 0TA 781 082 781 0827 01827
Astwood Bank (6f) n/a n/a 052 7 01527 Kidderminster (5f) KM2 56 56 n/a
Atherstone AT 4 284 082 7 01827 Kidderminster (6f) KM n/a 2 01562
Belbroughton 0KM 284 056 284 056 2 01562 Kingswinford KG 9 549 2 01384
Berkswell (4f) BE 7 237 25 n/a Kinver KV 4 584 0384 01384
Berkswell (6f) n/a n/a 067 6 01676 Knowle (4&5f) KN 0 560 056 45 n/a
Bilston (4f) BN 26 26 n/a Knowle (6f) n/a n/a 0564 01564
Bilston (6f) n/a n/a 5 01902 Lapworth (4f) LA 8 528 528 n/a
Bloxwich BL 25 9 01922 Lapworth (6f) n/a n/a 0564 01564
Bobbington 0DU 488 038 488 038 488 n/a Lichfield (4/5f) LH (2) 54 (2) 7(2) n/a
Bobbington   038 488 038 4 01384 Lichfield (6f) n/a n/a 7 01543
Brewood 0WO 725 090 725 090 2 01902 Lye (4f) LY3 593 038 482 n/a
Brierley Hill BR 27 038 4 01384 Lye (6f) n/a n/a 0384 01384
Bromsgrove BR 3 273 26 n/a Meriden 0MR 62 067 62 20676 01676
Bromsgrove n/a 26 7 01527 Newton Regis 0TA 784 082 784 0827 01827
Brownhills BR 9 279 3 01543 Pattingham 0WO 726 090 726 0902 01902
Burntwood 0LH 36 054 
36
054 36 n/a Pelsall PE 4 734 0922 01922
Burntwood n/a n/a 054 3 01543 Polesworth 0TA 782 082 782 0827 01827
Cannock CA2 222 054 35 n/a Redditch (4/5f) RE (9) 73(9) 75 n/a
Cannock n/a n/a 0543 01543 Redditch (6f) n/a n/a 7 01527
Chaddesley Corbett (3f) 0KM 283 056 283 056 283 n/a Romsley 0KM 281 056 281 0562 01562
Chaddesley Corbett (6f) n/a n/a 056 2 01562 Sedgley (4&5f) SE (8) 73(8) 090 73 n/a
Cheslyn Hay 0WA 288 092 288 092 2 01922 Sedgley (6f) n/a n/a 0902 01902
Clifton Campville (3 figs.) 0TA 786 082 786 082 786 n/a Shenstone 0LH 343 054 343 0543 01543
Clifton Campville (6f) n/a n/a 082 7 01827 Standeford 0WO 727 090 727 0902 01902
Codsall (4f) CO 9 209 090 74 n/a Stourbridge SB (2) 72(2) 2 01384
Codsall (6f) n/a n/a 090 2 01902 Studley (4f) ST 4 785 052 785 n/a
Coleshill (4/5f) CL 3 253
/28
28 n/a Studley (6f) n/a n/a 0527 01527
Coleshill (6f) n/a n/a 6 01675 Tamworth (4/5f) TM9 869 0827 01827
Cradley Heath CR 27 038 4 01384 Tamworth (5&6f) TM 86 0827 01827
Curdworth 0MR 52 067 52 067 5 01675 Tanworth-in-Arden (4f) 0KN 44 834 834 n/a
Dudley (5f) DU 38 38 n/a Tanworth-in-Arden (6f) n/a n/a 0564 01564
Dudley (6f) n/a n/a 2 01384 Walsall (5f) WA  92 92  n/a
Earlswood ( 4 f) 0KN 46 728 728 n/a Walsall (6f) n/a n/a 9 01922
Earlswood (6f) n/a n/a 056 4 01564 Whittington 0LH 342 054 342 0543 01543
Fillongley 0MR 64 067 64 067 6 01676 Willenhall WH 94 0902 01902
Fordhouses FO 9 309 n/a n/a Wolverhampton (5f) 90 90 90 n/a
Furnace End 0MR 54 067 54 067 5 01675 Wolverhampton (6f) 5 5 5 01902
Hagley HA 3 423 056 2 01562 Womborne WM 2 962 5 01902
Hampton-in-Arden (4f) HA 4 424 424 n/a Wychbold (3f) 0RE 97 073 97 052 786 n/a
Hampton-in-Arden (6f) n/a n/a 067 5 01675 Wychbold (6f) n/a n/a 0527 01527
Hanbury 0RE 96 073 96 052 784 01527 Wythall WY 8 998 0564 01564
Harlaston  0TA 785 082 785 082 785 01827 Yoxall OLH 344 054 344 0543 01543

KEY: 3f = 3 figure numbers, 4f = 4 figure numbers, 5f = 5 figure numbers, 6f = 6 figure numbers

There are few differences between the 1965 and the 1968 dialling codes, apart from the fact that the 1968 codes are shown as numbers, rather than letters (see top of the page). By 1987 many exchanges had lost their local codes in lieu of STD codes. These days all the codes are in STD (01XXX format), although they are still charged at the local call rate, if calling from Birmingham. My thanks to Roger Harris, Andy Emmerson and John Chenery for supplying much of the information on this page.

Further information about the 'Hello Girls' who worked at the GPO Telephone Exchange, in Birmingham, in the 1940s is available in a new book called 'Hold the Line Please' by former telephone operator Sally Southall.


       


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