The Yellow Pages concept first came about in 1883, by a young man in the USA although it is unclear at times as to when it first became a part of the culture within the UK. It is also the business telephone book in a number of other countries, all of which use yellow paper to print on for business purposes as oppsed to white paper for non-business or commercial purposes to avoid confusions as to where to look for the relevant telephone number.
Organised alphabetically in terms of the type of business as opposed to the name of each individual business within an area (as you would see in a residential telephone book), it covers all of those businesses within an area. Thus, the Yellow Pages that are printed and sent out to homes and businesses are split up in to geographical areas - therefore, where I live in Plymouth we have one that covers the whole area from around ten miles to the east and north to about twenty miles or so to the west. If I want to know the details of any business outside of this area, then I will need to look up the relevant Yellow Pages for that area - details of the areas that are closest are often listed within the first few pages of the telephone directory.
Which leads me on nicely to describe some more of the book, if you could call it that!
As already pointed out, the book is arranaged by business type in alphabetical order rather than each individual business name for ease of use. This is so that you can look for the general term of whichever business it is that you are looking for, even if you don't know the name of the exact business off hand. If what you are looking for is not under that particular subject heading, then quite often there will be a short list within that particular category of other subject headings whereby the businesses that are listed within those particular subject headings will offer similar services to what you have been trying to look for.
Within the main business listings, there are also further section that include restaurants; insurance companies and wedding organisations, all of which are split further in to alphabetical listings as follows for example:
1. Restaurants - this will include the different types such as Chinese; Indian; fish and ship shops; Thai, and so on - but within each, both eat in and takeaway establishments are listed many of whom will publish their menus to allow you to decide beforehand.
2. Insurance companies, listed by category such as house; contents; car; life, and so on.
3. Weddings, which includes everything to do with makign your day special from flowers; through cars and rings and outfits, to where to go on your honeymoon.
At the start of the local Yellow Pages in Plymouth, there is also a small section that gives information on the local area - things such as what to do or where to go in the case of an emergency; any majoy landmarks or attractions to visit; how to get about within the area, and any other help that you may need such as the details of local council offices and so on.
The Yellow Pages in this country are about as British as red telephone boxes; traffic jams on Bank Holidays, and queuing at the Post Office just to buy one second class stamp to send a Christmas card to the next street. OK so I may be going over the top a little bit, but you know what I mean!