Post town

Last updated
Post town
CategoryPostal administration unit
Location United Kingdom
Found in Postcode areas
Number~1,500 (as of 2013)
Government Royal Mail
Subdivisions Postcode districts

A post town is a required part of all postal addresses in the United Kingdom, and a basic unit of the postal delivery system. [1] Including the correct post town in the address increases the chance of a letter or parcel being delivered on time. Post towns in general originated as the location of delivery offices. As of 2004, their main function is to distinguish between localities or street names in addresses not including a postcode. [2]

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Contents

Organisation

There are approximately 1,500 post towns which are organised by Royal Mail subject to its policy only to impose changes where it has a proven, economic and practical benefit to the organisation, covering its own cost. [2] Each post town usually corresponds to one or more postal districts (the 'outward' part of the postcode, before the space) therefore each post town can cover an area comprising many towns, urban districts and villages. Post towns rarely correspond exactly to administrative boundaries and their associated physical features. As such they often group a small minority of neighbourhoods, streets or houses together with a main settlement in a different county, area of local government or administration (including healthcare trust), constituency, European statistical region and/or traditional parish. This was a main reason why postal counties were abolished (but not prohibited) in 1996. [3]

Royal Mail Postal service company in the United Kingdom

The Royal Mail is a postal service and courier company in the United Kingdom, originally established in 1516. The company's subsidiary, Royal Mail Group Limited, operates the brands Royal Mail (letters) and Parcelforce Worldwide (parcels). General Logistics Systems, an international logistics company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Mail Group. For a brief period in the early 2000s, the group used the name Consignia before reverting to its original name.

The counties of the United Kingdom are subnational divisions of the United Kingdom, used for the purposes of administrative, geographical and political demarcation. By the Middle Ages counties had become established as a unit of local government, at least in England. By the early 17th century, all of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland had been separated into counties. The older term shire was historically equivalent to "county". In Scotland shire was the only term used until after the Act of Union 1707.

In some places several post towns cover a single postal district (with each post town corresponding to one or more of its postcode sectors). There are anomalies where post towns and postcode sectors have a more unusual co-relation. For example, the postcode sector EH14 5 is split between three post towns: Juniper Green, Currie and Balerno. Its other postcode sectors are generally one of these, Balerno.

Juniper Green village on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland

Juniper Green is a village on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland, situated 9 kilometres south-west of the city centre. It bridges the city bypass, and extends along the foothills of the Pentlands. It is bordered by Colinton to the east and Currie to the south-west. It centres on Lanark Road, the main road leading out south-west of Edinburgh into the central Borders. The village stands on an elevated ridge above the Water of Leith to its south.

Currie suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland

Currie is a suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland, situated 7 miles south west of the city centre. A former village within the County of Midlothian, it lies to the south west of the city, between Juniper Green (NE) and Balerno (SW) on the Lanark Road. Administratively, Currie falls within the jurisdiction of the City of Edinburgh Council. It gives its name to a civil parish.

Balerno human settlement in United Kingdom

Balerno is a suburb of Edinburgh, Scotland situated 8 miles south-west of the city centre, next to Currie and then Juniper Green. Administratively, Balerno falls within the jurisdiction of the City of Edinburgh Council.

Usage

The Royal Mail states that the post town must be included on all items and should be clearly written in capitals. [4] [5]

1 Vallance Road
LONDON
E2 1AA

The use of postcodes means that it is no longer necessary to include the former postal county in a postal address. Some post towns, known as special post towns, never required the inclusion of a postal county, either because the town was large or because it gave its name to the county.

Locality

In most places, additional locality information such as a village or suburb name is optionally added above the post town, giving a more specific location: the two largest 'post town' cities named, for example, have many roads of the same name in different localities and the additional locality information is therefore essential if the postcode is wrongly recorded or unknown.

Where this is a disambiguating feature, Royal Mail terms this the "dependent locality". For a limited number of addresses a "double dependent locality" line is also required, preceding the dependent locality line.

Locality information other than the post town is not always part of the official postal address. In particular, within the London post town, each postcode district name (which can conflict with administrative boundaries, see above) corresponds to a numbered postcode district and is therefore not required in the postal address whenever the postcode is used. For example, "Bethnal Green" is the name of the "E2" postcode district and is optional in the following address:

London postal district post town

The London postal district is the area in England of 241 square miles (620 km2) to which mail addressed to the LONDON post town is delivered. The General Post Office at the control of the Postmaster General directed Sir Rowland Hill to devise the area in 1856 and throughout its history has been subject to gradual periodic reorganisation and division into increasingly smaller postal units, with the early loss of two compass points and a minor retraction in 1866. It was integrated by the Post Office into the national postcode system of the United Kingdom during the early 1970s and corresponds to the N, NW, SW, SE, W, WC, E and EC postcode areas. The postal district has also been known as the London postal area. The County of London was much smaller at 117 square miles (300 km2), but Greater London is much larger at 607 square miles (1,570 km2).

Bethnal Green district in East London, England

Bethnal Green is an area in the East End of London which lies 3.3 miles (5.3 km) northeast of Charing Cross. It is an electoral ward of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, though the wider area stretches across both Bethnal Green Ward and St Peter's ward. Part of the area has been designated by the council as a conservation area which includes a number of important listed buildings. The area emerged from the hamlet which developed around the Green, much of which survives today as Bethnal Green Gardens, located on Canbridge Heath Road.

1 Vallance Road
Bethnal Green
LONDON
E2 1AA

If no valid postcode is provided, or if the sorting machine rejects the letter, the use of optional locality or county information may assist manual sorting. In the absence of a full valid postcode, locality often prevents ambiguity where there is more than one street with the same name covered by a post town or postcode district, or where post towns in different counties have the same name.

Via

Traditionally only, where a place such as a village was served by a post town entirely distinct from its location, the word "Via" or "Near" ("Nr.") was added before the post town. For example:

1 High Street
Sewardstone
Via London
E4 1AA

However, the Royal Mail discourages this usage [1] because their optical character recognition technology and Mailsort lookup tables check for the post town at the beginning of a line if the postcode is missing, unreadable or incorrect. Additionally, "Near" and "Nr." can be confused with "North".

Ambiguous post town names

Post town names are unique within each former postal county and each postcode area (the initial letter or two letters of the post code). But across the UK, some post towns have identical or similar names. For Mailsort purposes, post towns in unpostcoded addresses can be pre-sorted only if the first 10 characters of the post town name correspond unambiguously to only one post town. In addition, the following post towns have shared sorting routes or cover such large locations that the town name is insufficient for determining the relevant delivery area without reference to the postcode or further locality information:

See also

Related Research Articles

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W postcode area Postcode area within the United Kingdom

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Postal counties of the United Kingdom

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WC postcode area Postcode area within the United Kingdom

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NW postcode area Postcode area within the United Kingdom

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SE postcode area Postcode area within the United Kingdom

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TN postcode area Postcode area within the United Kingdom

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SW postcode area Postcode area within the United Kingdom

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Postcodes in Australia

Postcodes are used in Australia to more efficiently sort and route mail within the Australian postal system. Postcodes in Australia have four digits and are placed at the end of the Australian address. Postcodes were introduced in Australia in 1967 by the Postmaster-General's Department and are now managed by Australia Post, and are published in booklets available from post offices or online from the Australia Post website.

References

  1. 1 2 Royal Mail, Address Management Guide, (2004)
  2. 1 2 "REVIEW OF ROYAL MAIL'S LICENCE CONDITION 20 – POSTCODE ADDRESS FILE CODE OF PRACTICE: A DECISION DOCUMENT" (PDF). Postcomm. March 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2007. Retrieved 13 December 2009.
  3. "Pembrokeshire (Royal Mail Database) c218WH". Hansard. 23 June 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2009.
  4. "Addressing your mail". Royal Mail. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  5. "PAF Code of Practice" (PDF). Royal Mail. p. 3. Retrieved 7 October 2015.