THE LAST ever Borders telephone directories are dropping through Innerleithen letter boxes this week.

And a drawn on ribbon on the front of the BT Phonebook 2024 says: “Final edition hold on to it forever.”

Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell patented his electromagnetic telephone in 1867.

But it was another 12 years till a public phone service was introduced in the UK.

The book has been a constant for 144 years since its inception on January 15 1880 – with a London directory listing 248 personal and business names issued by The Telephone Company.

It did not list numbers and a caller had to ring the exchange and ask to be connected.

Louise Coulson, 51, of Innerleithen’s Lou Lou’s Vintage Emporium, said: “Just received our last ever copy of The Phone Book.

“Does anyone still use them today, in this digital age?

“Many moons ago, I can remember searching down the list of surnames for friend’s home phone numbers, long before the days of mobile phones and Google.

“We'll be holding on to our copy. Who knows, it could be a vintage collectable of the future.”

The 'Post Office Edinburgh and Leith directory' for 1885-1886 was the city's first to include telephone numbers in its general directory.

They were recorded as 'telephone exchange' numbers, only being three digits long and not including an area code.

A post office directory for Dumfries and District in 1911 included instructions stating that each call would be limited to three minutes or six minutes if paid upfront at the Call Office.

Last year BT announced it would phase out phone books in its efforts to reach net zero by 2030.

A BT spokesperson said: “Eighteen million directories are printed on 6,000 tonnes of paper which is equivalent to 72,000 trees.

“We’ll be sending a message in Phone Books to ask people to keep hold of them (only a small amount of information changes year-on-year), so they will still be largely relevant for several years to come.

“Those who really need a printed phone book will be able to order one at a reasonable cost, and we’ll also be hosting a PDF version of the Phone Book available to download from our website.”

BT Archives at: holds a complete set of phone books and a 26-month digitisation project with has seen all books, from 1880 to 1984, scanned including more than 280 million names.