In the non-digital era, paper phone books were one of the primary tools used to locate people. Sorted alphabetically, you took a person’s name and looked up their phone number and address. They were restricted by region however, so you needed to find somewhere with copies from the various areas to locate people in other areas of the UK. Whilst there are now digital editions, and their reach has greatly expanded, their value lessens each year with the uptake of mobile phones. It is now quite common to have no home phone and no personal telephone listing anywhere. In saying that, conducting a phone & address search in the UK is still possible and can be quite useful.
Once upon a time every phone directory was simple and free. Those days seem long gone in the UK, with the price at a minimum being a registration to access phone numbers and other details. What’s more, the services are now restricted to 5 or 20 free searches a day. And it’s a constant up-sell for their other products such as premium electoral rolls and other personal details. Ads, registration, constant bombardment for up-selling.
The only simple search you can use these days is the BT Phone Directory, which has nothing more than a few ads like most sites.
Reverse Phone and Address Search
Any form of official reverse lookup in the United Kingdom is in theory possible, but not probable. This is due to the data protection act governing what can and can’t be done with personal information. To have an official reverse telephone or address lookup would require people to give their consent to be listed. This would essentially an opt-in service, rather than an opt-out like the Telephone Preference Service.
Whilst there is no official register currently, there are a few unofficial ones. These do not rely upon phone directory data, but on information provided by the public. These are not often personal numbers however, but commonly calling services and businesses.