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About UK Postcodes

Royal Mail introduced postcodes to the United Kingdom between 1959 and 1974. The format of a UK postcode is always one of the following:
  • LN NLL
Where L represents a letter, and N a number. The first letter (or pair of letters) represents the area, the following number the district and so on. Typically a full postcode represents a street, a part of a street or a small village. Each unique code usually limits the area down to up to 80 properties.

The postcode is split into two parts - the part before the space is knows as the outward code and is used to route mail to the correct regional sorting office. The part after the space is known as the inward code and is used to sort the mail into individual delivery rounds from the destination sorting office.

The inward code may only contain letters from the set ABDEFGHJLNPQRSTUWXYZ - not the full alphabet - this is to avoid using letters that when hand-written could be mistaken for other letters or numbers.

For links to useful postcode resources on the Internet, see our links page.