020 is the dialling code for London in the United Kingdom.
The code serves an area similar to Greater London, formerly known as the London Director Area. Some outer districts are covered by sections of adjacent codes and in some places the 020 code extends beyond the Greater London boundary. The code covers an area larger than the London post town.
Areas completely covered by 020
The City of London and the London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth and the City of Westminster are more or less completely covered by the code.
Areas in Greater London covered by other codes
Area code Main exchange London boroughs partly covered 01322 Dartford Bexley 01689 Orpington † Bromley and Croydon 01737 Redhill Croydon 01708 Romford † Havering 01753 Slough Hillingdon 01895 Uxbridge † Hillingdon 01923 Watford Hillingdon 01959 Westerham Bromley 01992 Waltham Cross Enfield
† = located within Greater London
Areas outside Greater London covered by 020
County District Places Essex Epping Forest Loughton, Chigwell, Buckhurst Hill, Sewardstone Hertfordshire Hertsmere Elstree, Borehamwood, Bushey Three Rivers Carpenders Park, South Oxhey Surrey Elmbridge Molesey, Thames Ditton Epsom and Ewell Ewell Tandridge Whyteleafe
With the introduction of the (020) area code, with the BigNumber changes, telephone numbers were changed from 7-digits (xxx xxxx) to 8-digits (xxxx xxxx) with the following sub-ranges:
national dialling only, not issued locally 2xxx xxxx future use 3xxx xxxx new local numbers created by move to 020 (currently issued) 4xxx xxxx
future use 70xx xxxx
new local numbers created by move to 020 72xx xxxx
local numbers transferred from 0171 80xx xxxx
new local numbers created by move to 020 82xx xxxx
local numbers transferred from 0181 9xxx xxxx future use
From 1922 the three-character digit sub-codes each corresponded to one area and were represented by letters by way of a mnemonic. The first exchange to become part of the London Director telephone system was Holborn in 1927. The numbers were written as ABBey 1234 and WIMbledon 1234. The system of mnemonics was withdrawn with the change to all-figure dialling in 1966.
The STD code 01 was introduced in 1959, at the introduction of Subscriber Trunk Dialling, although the service was only introduced at local exchanges between 1961, and 1964. For the next 30 years 01 became synonymous with the capital, particularly through phone numbers given by radio and television programmes.
Until May 1990 the 01 code covered the same area as the current 020 code, and the three digits after the code indicated the geographic area where the number was located, e.g. 01-222 1234 was in Westminster, 01-946 1234 in Wimbledon, successors to the ABBey and WIMbledon examples above. More than one sub-code was usually overlaid for each area so all Wimbledon numbers did not necessarily begin 01-946. In May 1990, 01 was divided between 071 (Inner London) and 081 (Outer London), changed again in 1995 to 0171 and 0181. 020 replaced 0171 and 0181 on 22 April 2000 after a period of dual-running that began 1 June 1999: 0171-xxx xxxx numbers changed to (020) 7xxx xxxx, and 0181-xxx xxxx changed to (020) 8xxx xxxx.
As a result of the many changes, there is now a widespread belief that 0207 and 0208 are the dialling codes for parts of London. In fact, this belief is false — see UK telephone code misconceptions. Even a decade later, many in the media continue to use this incorrect number formatting, and hence are continuing to compound Londoners' confusion on a daily basis, despite clear advice from British Telecom.
- List of telephone exchanges in London
- ^ Parliamentary Debates, House of Lords, 28 March 2006.
- ^ Chapuis & Joel (2003). 100 Years of Telephone Switching: Manual and Electromechanical Switching (1878–1960's) Pt. 1. IOS Press.
- ^ "Ofcom | Telephone numbers – the facts and figures | (Boxout) Is it (020) 7 or 0207?". Office of Communications. Archived from the original on 2009-09-05. http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consumer/2009/08/phone-numbers/#video. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
- ^ Indicated on the BT website here.
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