London postal district

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The London postal districts are divisions of the London post town in England and are primarily used for the direction of mail. They predate the introduction of postcodes throughout the United Kingdom in the 1960s and have been adapted over time. They cover an area of 241 square miles. <ref>HMSO, The Inner London Letter Post, (1980)</ref>


Contents

[edit] History

[edit] Origins

The first system of ten districts identified by letters was devised by Sir Rowland Hill and introduced in 1857 and 1858. <ref name=bpma>British Postal Museum and Archive - Information Sheet: Postcodes</ref> The numbered subdivisions were a war-time measure and date from 1917. The 1917 subdivisions remain important, because they form the first part of the two-part modern postcode (so N1 1AA is an address in the old N1 district), and because they continue to be used by Londoners to refer to their districts.

The London postal districts are organized by sectors, as follows, and then numbered alphabetically within their sectors.

  • In central London, WC and EC (West Central and East Central).
  • In the rest of London, N, NW, SW, SE, W and E.
  • In parts of outer London the districts are subdivisions of 63 other post towns and were introduced at the same time as the other UK postcodes.

[edit] District sequence

The numbering system appears arbitrary on the map: for example, NW1 is close to central London, but NW2 is a long way out. This is because, within each sector, they were numbered by first assigning the number 1 to the closest district to the centre, and then the rest of the numbers were assigned alphabetically by the name of the location of the postal delivery office. An exception is West London where the first two numbers are assigned to the districts closest to Central London. There are a number of other exceptions to this rule: those postal districts SE19-SE27 follow a similar rule around Crystal Palace with SE19 itself being the area central to Crystal Palace; and the new town of Thamesmead is assigned SE28, created after the current postal district system. Due to its high density, it was deemed that Thamesmead should be assigned a new postcode rather than staying a part of the lower-density SE2 district. [1]

The London postal districts were created solely to help sort and deliver mail and therefore rarely coincide with the boundaries of London boroughs (and were created before even the older, smaller metropolitan boroughs).

[edit] Relationship to London boundary

The initial system was designed to extend to roughly a 12 miles radius from the centre of London, and consequently the postal districts covered an area much larger than the County of London boundaries of 1889. 44 of the 119 districts were outside the London boundaries such that places such as Leyton in Essex, Ealing in Middlesex, Totteridge in Hertfordshire, West Heath in Kent and Barnes in Surrey were covered by the London postal area.

In 1965 the creation of Greater London caused London's boundary to expand to include these places officially as well as postally, however the new boundary went far beyond these postal districts to include places that were not in the London postal area. Royal Mail did not follow this change and expand the postal area to match. It now has a policy of only changing postcodes if there is an operational advantage to them and has no plan to change the postcode system to match up with London's boundaries.

Places in London's outer boroughs such as Enfield, Ilford, Romford, Bromley, Richmond and Croydon are therefore covered by parts of twelve adjoining postal areas (EN, IG, RM, DA, BR, TN, CR, SM, KT, TW, HA and UB).

The London postal district includes all of the City of London and the City of Westminster, all of the boroughs of Camden, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, very nearly all of Greenwich, Lambeth, Newham and Waltham Forest, parts of Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Harrow, Hounslow, Kingston, Merton, Redbridge and Richmond. Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Hillingdon and Sutton are entirely outside the postal district.

[edit] Significance

It is common to use postal districts as placenames in London, particularly in the property market: a property may be described as being "in N11", especially where a postal district is synonymous with a desirable location but also covers other less prestigious places. They are a convenient shorthand for social status, such that a 'desirable' postcode may add significantly to the value of property, and property developers have pressed for the boundaries of postal districts to be altered so that new developments will sound as though they are in a richer area. Some groups on the fringes of the London postal districts lobby to be excluded or included in an attempt to decrease their insurance premiums (see SE2) or raise the prestige of their business (see IG1). This is generally futile as the Royal Mail only changes postcodes in order to facilitate the delivery of post.

[edit] NE and S

There are no London postal districts labelled "NE" or "S". These were in the initial division but were later removed as they were considered unnecessary.

Following a report by Anthony Trollope in 1866 most of the NE district was transferred to the E sector; the rest was left without a letter designation until the introduction of the IG and RM postcodes almost a century later (though only a part of the area covered by these new codes was in the old NE London district). The S sector was divided between SE and SW in 1868.

The NE and S codes have since been applied to Newcastle Upon Tyne and Sheffield respectively.

[edit] Trivia

All Head District Sorting Offices, except London South East, were connected by and had stations on the Post Office Underground Railway.

The BBC soap opera EastEnders is set in the fictional postal district of E20.

Sewardstone in Essex is the only place to be outside the Greater London boundary but within the London postal area.

The pop group East 17 took their name from the postcode for Walthamstow.

[edit] Presentation

All London postal districts were traditionally prefixed with the post town 'LONDON' and periods were commonly placed after each figure.

e.g. LONDON S.W.1.

Use of the periods ended with the implementation of the national postcode system. More recently, the Royal Mail have specified that the post town and district should each appear on a separate line in order to increase the effectiveness of their OCR equipment.


[edit] List of London postal districts

London postal district | Eastern Central

EC1 Head district | EC2 Bishopsgate | EC3 Fenchurch Street | EC4 Fleet Street

London postal district | Western Central

WC1 Head district | WC2 Strand

London postal district | Northern

N1 Head district | N2 East Finchley | N3 Finchley | N4 Finsbury Park | N5 Highbury | N6 Highgate | N7 Holloway | N8 Hornsey | N9 Lower Edmonton | N10 Muswell Hill | N11 New Southgate | N12 North Finchley | N13 Palmers Green | N14 Southgate | N15 South Tottenham | N16 Stoke Newington | N17 Tottenham | N18 Upper Edmonton | N19 Upper Holloway | N20 Whetstone | N21 Winchmore Hill | N22 Wood Green

London postal district | North Western

NW1 Head district | NW2 Cricklewood | NW3 Hampstead | NW4 Hendon | NW5 Kentish Town | NW6 Kilburn | NW7 Mill Hill | NW8 St John's Wood | NW9 The Hyde | NW10 Willesden | NW11 Golders Green

London postal district | Eastern

E1 Head district | E2 Bethnal Green | E3 Bow | E4 Chingford | E5 Clapton | E6 East Ham | E7 Forest Gate | E8 Hackney | E9 Homerton | E10 Leyton | E11 Leytonstone | E12 Manor Park | E13 Plaistow | E14 Poplar | E15 Stratford | E16 Victoria Dock | E17 Walthamstow | E18 Woodford

London postal district | W

Western: W1 Head district

Paddington: W2 Head district | W3 Acton | W4 Chiswick | W5 Ealing | W6 Hammersmith | W7 Hanwell | W8 Kensington | W9 Maida Vale | W10 North Kensington W11 Notting Hill | W12 Shepherds Bush | W13 West Ealing | W14 West Kensington

London postal district | South Eastern

SE1 Head district | SE2 Abbey Wood | SE3 Blackheath | SE4 Brockley | SE5 Camberwell | SE6 Catford | SE7 Charlton | SE8 Deptford | SE9 Eltham | SE10 Greenwich | SE11 Kennington | SE12 Lee | SE13 Lewisham | SE14 New Cross | SE15 Peckham | SE16 Rotherhithe | SE17 Walworth | SE18 Woolwich | SE19 Upper Norwood | SE20 Anerley | SE21 Dulwich | SE22 East Dulwich | SE23 Forest Hill | SE24 Herne Hill | SE25 South Norwood | SE26 Sydenham | SE27 West Norwood | SE28 Thamesmead

London postal district | SW

South Western: SW1 Head district | SW2 Brixton | SW3 Chelsea | SW4 Clapham | SW5 Earls Court SW6 Fulham | SW7 South Kensington | SW8 South Lambeth | SW9 Stockwell | SW10 West Brompton

Battersea: SW11 Head district | SW12 Balham | SW13 Barnes | SW14 Mortlake | SW15 Putney SW16 Streatham | SW17 Tooting | SW18 Wandsworth | SW19 Wimbledon | SW20 West Wimbledon

[edit] Map of London postal districts

Image:London postcodes.png

[edit] Outer districts

The postal districts of neighbouring postal areas cover the rest of Greater London:

Postcode London district Post town
BR1 Bromley BROMLEY
BR2 Bromley, Keston BROMLEY, KESTON
BR3 Beckenham BECKENHAM
BR4 West Wickham WEST WICKHAM
BR5 St Mary Cray ORPINGTON
BR6 Orpington ORPINGTON
BR7 Chislehurst CHISLEHURST
CR0, CR9 Croydon CROYDON
CR2 South Croydon SOUTH CROYDON
CR4 Mitcham MITCHAM
CR5 Coulsdon COULSDON
CR7 Thornton Heath THORNTON HEATH
CR8 Purley PURLEY
DA1 Crayford DARTFORD
DA5 Bexley BEXLEY
DA6, DA7 Bexleyheath BEXLEYHEATH
DA8, DA18 Erith ERITH
DA14, DA15 Sidcup SIDCUP
DA16 Welling WELLING
DA17 Belvedere BELVEDERE
EN1 Enfield ENFIELD
EN2 Enfield Town ENFIELD
EN3 Ponders End ENFIELD
EN4 Cockfosters BARNET
EN5 Barnet BARNET
HA0, HA9 Wembley WEMBLEY
HA1, HA2 Harrow HARROW
HA3 Wealdstone HARROW
HA4 Ruislip RUISLIP
HA5 Pinner PINNER
HA6 Northwood NORTHWOOD
HA7 Stanmore STANMORE
HA8 Edgware EDGWARE
IG1 Ilford ILFORD
IG2 Gants Hill ILFORD
IG3 Seven Kings ILFORD
IG4 Redbridge ILFORD
IG5 Clayhall ILFORD
IG6 Barkingside ILFORD
IG7 Hainault CHIGWELL
IG8 Woodford Green WOODFORD GREEN
IG11 Barking BARKING
KT1 Kingston KINGSTON UPON THAMES
KT2 Norbiton KINGSTON UPON THAMES
KT3 New Malden NEW MALDEN
KT4 Worcester Park WORCESTER PARK
KT5 Berrylands SURBITON
KT6 Surbiton SURBITON
KT9 Chessington CHESSINGTON
RM1 Romford ROMFORD
RM2 Gidea Park ROMFORD
RM3 Harold Wood ROMFORD
RM4 Havering-atte-Bower ROMFORD
RM5 Collier Row ROMFORD
RM6 Chadwell Heath ROMFORD
RM7 Rush Green ROMFORD
RM8 Becontree Heath DAGENHAM
RM9 Becontree DAGENHAM
RM10 Dagenham DAGENHAM
RM11 Emerson Park HORNCHURCH
RM12 Hornchurch HORNCHURCH
RM13 Rainham RAINHAM
RM14 Upminster UPMINSTER
SM1 Sutton SUTTON
SM2 Belmont SUTTON
SM3 Cheam SUTTON
SM4 Morden MORDEN
SM5 Carshalton CARSHALTON
SM6 Wallington WALLINGTON
TN14 Cudham SEVENOAKS
TN16 Biggin Hill WESTERHAM
TW1 Twickenham TWICKENHAM
TW2 Whitton TWICKENHAM
TW3 Hounslow HOUNSLOW
TW4 Hounslow West HOUNSLOW
TW5 Heston HOUNSLOW
TW6 Heathrow HOUNSLOW
TW7 Isleworth ISLEWORTH
TW8 Brentford BRENTFORD
TW9 Richmond RICHMOND
TW10 Ham RICHMOND
TW11 Teddington TEDDINGTON
TW12 Hampton HAMPTON
TW13 Feltham FELTHAM
TW14 Hatton FELTHAM
UB1 Southall SOUTHALL
UB2 Norwood Green SOUTHALL
UB3 Hayes HAYES
UB4 Yeading HAYES
UB5 Northolt NORTHOLT
UB6 Greenford GREENFORD
UB7 West Drayton WEST DRAYTON
UB8 Uxbridge UXBRIDGE
UB9 Harefield UXBRIDGE
UB10 Hillingdon UXBRIDGE

[edit] See also

[edit] References

<references/>

[edit] External links

Additional information
Maps, photos, and other images

Postal areas of Greater London

UB | HA | EN | IG

TW | LONDON | RM

KT | SM | CR | BR | DA

London postal district

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