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Postcode areas

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Postcode areas

For the purposes of directing mail, the United Kingdom is divided by Royal Mail into postcode areas. The postcode area is the largest geographical unit used and forms the initial characters of the alphanumeric UK postcode.[1] There are currently 121 geographic postcode areas in use in the UK and a further 3 often combined with these covering the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man.

Subdivision

Each postcode area is further divided into post towns and postcode districts.[1] There are on average 20 postcode districts to a postcode area.[1] The London post town is instead divided into several postcode areas.[2]

Scope

The single or pair of letters chosen for postcode areas are generally intended as a mnemonic for the places served.[1] Postcode areas, post towns and postcode districts do not follow political boundaries and usually serve much larger areas than the placenames with which they are associated. For example, within the PA postcode area the PA1 and PA78 postcode districts are 140 miles apart; and the eight postcode areas of the London post town cover only 40% of Greater London.[2] The remainder of its area is covered by sections of twelve adjoining postcode areas: EN, IG, RM, DA, BR, TN, CR, SM, KT, TW, HA and UB.[2]

United Kingdom postcode areas

Postcode area Postcode area name[1][3] Code formation
AB Aberdeen
AL St Albans
B Birmingham
BA Bath
BB Blackburn
BD Bradford
BH Bournemouth
BL Bolton
BN Brighton
BR Bromley
BS Bristol
BT Northern Ireland Belfast
CA Carlisle
CB Cambridge
CF Cardiff
CH Chester
CM Chelmsford
CO Colchester
CR Croydon
CT Canterbury
CV Coventry
CW Crewe
DA Dartford
DD Dundee
DE Derby
DG Dumfries[1] Dumfries and Galloway
DH Durham
DL Darlington
DN Doncaster
DT Dorchester
DY Dudley
E East London
EC East Central London
EH Edinburgh
EN Enfield
EX Exeter
FK Falkirk
FY Blackpool[1] The Fylde
G Glasgow
GL Gloucester
GU Guildford
HA Harrow
HD Huddersfield
HG Harrogate
HP Hemel Hempstead
HR Hereford
HS Outer Hebrides[1]
HU Hull
HX Halifax
IG Ilford[1]
IP Ipswich
IV Inverness
KA Kilmarnock
KT Kingston upon Thames
KW Kirkwall
KY Kirkcaldy
L Liverpool
LA Lancaster
LD Llandrindod Wells[1]
LE Leicester
LL Llandudno
LN Lincoln
LS Leeds
LU Luton
M Manchester
ME Rochester[1] Medway (now sometimes known as Maidstone[4])
MK Milton Keynes
ML Motherwell
N North London
NE Newcastle upon Tyne
NG Nottingham
NN Northampton
NP Newport
NR Norwich
NW North West London
OL Oldham
OX Oxford
PA Paisley
PE Peterborough
PH Perth
PL Plymouth
PO Portsmouth
PR Preston
RG Reading
RH Redhill
RM Romford
S Sheffield
SA Swansea
SE South East London
SG Stevenage
SK Stockport
SL Slough
SM Sutton[1]
SN Swindon
SO Southampton
SP Salisbury[1] Salisbury Plain
SR Sunderland
SS Southend-on-Sea
ST Stoke-on-Trent
SW South West London
SY Shrewsbury
TA Taunton
TD Galashiels[1] Teviotdale
TF Telford
TN Tonbridge[1]
TQ Torquay
TR Truro
TS Cleveland[1] Teesside
TW Twickenham
UB Southall[1] Uxbridge
W West London
WA Warrington
WC Western Central London
WD Watford
WF Wakefield
WN Wigan
WR Worcester
WS Walsall
WV Wolverhampton
YO York
ZE Lerwick[1] Zetland

Crown dependencies

The Crown dependencies (which are not part of the United Kingdom) did not introduce postcodes until later, but use a similar coding scheme. They are separate postal authorities.[1]

Postcode area Postcode area name
GY Guernsey
JE Jersey
IM Isle of Man

Defunct postcode areas

London NE and S

Glasgow

Glasgow, like London, was divided into compass districts: C, W, NW, N, E, SE, S, SW. When postcodes were introduced, these were mapped into the new G postcode: C1 became G1, W1 became G11, N1 became G21, E1 became G31, S1 became G41, SW1 became G51, and so on. As NW and SE had never been subdivided they became G20 and G40 respectively.

Dublin

Dublin was split into Dublin postal districts by the Post Office in 1917 at the same time as other major cities in the UK like Liverpool and Manchester. After the creation of the Irish Free State (later the Republic of Ireland) the Irish government did not adopt postcodes; however, the Dublin postal districts remain to this day and the correct form of address is Dublin 7, etc. The postcode area D has not been re-used within the UK.

Norwich and Croydon

Norwich and Croydon were used for a postcode experiment in the late 1960s, which was replaced by the current system. The format was of the form NOR or CRO followed by two numbers and a letter, e.g. NOR 07A.

Non-geographic postcodes

GIR

GIR 0AA is a postcode created for Girobank in Bootle. It remained in use by its successors when Girobank was taken over by Alliance & Leicester and subsequently by Santander UK.

BF

The BF postcode area was introduced in 2012 to provide optional postcodes for British Forces Post Office addresses, for consistency with the layout of other UK addresss. It uses the notional non-geographic post town "BFPO" and, as of 2012, the postcode district "BF1".

BX

The non-geographic postcode area BX has been introduced for addresses which do not include a locality, this allows large organisations long-term flexibility as to where they receive their mail. This postcode area is used by Lloyds TSB (BX1 1LT) and the VAT Central Unit of HM Revenue and Customs (BX5 5AT).

References

External links

  • List of postcodes with lat/long information as eastings and northings, downloadable free of charge from Ordnance Survey OpenData, file Code-Point Open
  • Postal geography
  • Postcode map
  • Strowger net: postcodes of the UK
  • Business Lists UK postcode map
  • Strange Maps - Frank Jacobs - Diagrammatic Map -[1]
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