“Free” UK Speaking Clock

June 17th, 2007 by Richy B. Leave a reply »

Did you know that in the UK you can get the latest time by calling 123 from most landlines – you’ll be put through to a speaking clock known officially as “Timeline”, but unofficially in the UK as “Tim the talking clock” (historically it was on the number 846 – TIM). It’s been available since July 24 1936 and is meant to be accurate within five thousandths of a second and has been sponsored by Accurist Watches since 1986 (see BT press release for details). You can sometimes reach it directly via the number 8081 as well.

Anyway, that’s usually charged by BT at 30p per minute: which is quite expensive. But did you know you could call The Telecommunications Heritage Group on 0845 092 8081 to listen to the time (and that should be charged at “local” rates, or via TelephonesUK on 0871 789 3642 at national rate (10p per minute) or – if you actually have free 01 or 02 calls in your calling plan – you can actually hear the latest time for free via 01352 83 8081 (if you don’t have a calling plan, it’ll be normal 01 rates).

The non-BT options use the voice of Pat Simmons who provided the voice to the official version between 1963 and 1985.

This post is over 6 months old.

This means that, despite my best intentions, it may no longer be accurate.

This blog holds over 12 years of archived content - during that time, I may have changed my opinion of something, technology will have advanced (and old "best standards" may no longer be the case), my technology "know how" has improved etc etc - it would probably take me a considerable amount of time to update all the archival entries: and defeat the point of keeping them anyway.

Please take these posts for what they are: a brief look into my past, my history, my journey and "caveat emptor".


  1. James Robinson says:

    Thank you. I have been looking for a geo number for the old speaking clock for ages. The 0845 092 8081 number you mention is currently 7 mins 20 seconds slow! The 01352 number is accurate! Thanks again.

  2. Alan Gray says:

    Just rung the 08450928081 number and it cost me 35p for 5 seconds on my mobile, what a complete rip off that was.

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