Global Sourcebook for International Data Management

                                         by Graham Rhind

Help us to keep this resource free!
Support/Advertise/Donate

_____


____

This resource is also available as a PDF file

United Kingdom

Global Sourcebook | Index | Properties

UNITED KINGDOM
UNITED KINGDOM

The United Kingdom comprises the nations of England External and Scotland External, the principality of Wales External (Cymru) and the Constituent Region of Northern Ireland External. It excludes the Crown Dependencies of the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. Great Britain External is the island which comprises England, Scotland and Wales. Letters from outside the United Kingdom should be addressed correctly. Avoid especially using ‘England’ for destinations in other parts of the United Kingdom.

For supplementary information, see links to post office home pages here External, to postal code pages here External and to other personal name and addressing issues pages here External.

Visualisation of how people of the United Kingdom refer to themselves External

image
Enlarge

image

Table of Contents

United Kingdom - Country information

image

Local short name form

Official name

Area

Population

Capital

Currency

International telephone access code

44

ISO 3166 country codes

Car nationality plate code

GB

Internet country code

UK

GRC Country Code

UNI

United Kingdom - Number format

   1,234.45

(where . indicates the decimal separator and , the thousands separator)

United Kingdom - Date and time formats

image

   dd/mm/yyyy

Both the 12-hour and 24-hour clock notations are used.

United Kingdom - Languages

image

English External, the official language, is spoken by 98% of the population. Welsh External is spoken by 575 102 people, of whom 32 700 speak no other language, mainly in northern and central Wales. Scottish Gaelic External, is spoken by 88 892 people in Ross, the Isle of Skye and the Western Isles of Scotland (of which 477 speak no other language) and Irish Gaelic External is spoken in parts of Belfast and in parts of the counties of Armagh and Fermanagh in Northern Ireland.

Angloromani External is spoken by 90 000 people. Traveller Scottish External is spoken by 4 000 people in Scotland. Welsh Romani External is also spoken.

United Kingdom - Company names

image

Words indicating the nature of a company, when forming part of the company name, will always follow the name of the company, either after a comma or in brackets, thus:

   John Smith, Bakers
   John Smith (Bakers)

United Kingdom - Company legal forms

image

The company types Limited (abbreviated to Ltd - private limited company) and PLC (Public Limited Company) are those most commonly found in address databases. Other types include

   Community Interest Company (CIC)
   Community Interest Public Limited Company (Community Interest PLC)
   Company Limited by Guarantee
   Cwmni Buddiant Cymunedol (CBC)
   Cwmni Buddiant Cymunedol Cyhoeddus Cyfyngedig (Cwmni Buddiant CCC)
   Cyfyngedig (Cyf, Limited company)
   Foreign Registered Company
   Friendly Society
   General Partnership
   Investment Company with Variable Capital (ICVC)
   Limited Partnership (LP)
   Limited Liability Partnership
   Open-Ended Investment Company (OEIC)
   Partnership
   Private Unlimited Company
   Public Corporation
   Sole Proprietorship

Comprehensive tables of these strings can be acquired – see http://www.grcdi.nl/addresses.htm External

United Kingdom - Addresses

image

Addresses in the United Kingdom are the least formatted of any country in Europe. Whilst many countries limit addresses to, at most, three lines, the structure of addresses in the United Kingdom seems very much to have been left to the discretion of the sender, with the result that addresses are often long, contain not strictly necessary information and some almost provide the postman with a route description from the nearest large town to the address concerned. Naming houses or company locations is as common in the United Kingdom as it is rare in other parts of Europe. The postal code is also not as instinctively used as it is in other European countries. The address is written in the following format:

   Contact name
   {Job Title}
   Company Name
   {Sub-building name and number}
   {number[ ]}Thoroughfare name[ ]Thoroughfare type
   {Secondary address string}
   {District/suburb of town etc. or village name (double dependent locality)}
   {District/suburb of town etc. or village name (dependent locality)}
   POSTAL TOWN
   {County}
   POSTAL CODE

Some addresses contain a house name and no house number. In these cases the house name must be used. However, a house name must not replace a house number where this is available.

The street address may also be written as follows:

   Number[, ]Thoroughfare name[ ]Thoroughfare type

The address may also contain one or more of the following parameters:

   Floor number
   Unit number
   Industrial Estate name
   Building name

The order of these parameters varies. Punctuation (commas at the end of lines) is optional. There must be no punctuation on the same line as the postal code. For example:

image

image

image

The thoroughfare type is written after and separately from the thoroughfare name, thus:

   Saint Helen’s Avenue

An exception is the thoroughfare type ‘-gate’, which is of Scandinavian origin and is usually attached to the thoroughfare name, thus:

   Friargate

UK addresses will also often use a whole series of other directional indications, such as ‘c/o’ (care of), ‘r/o’ (rear of), ‘near’, ‘off’ and so on.

There are 11 postal town names in the United Kingdom which are duplicated. These are:

Town County Postal codes
Alford Aberdeenshire AB33
  Lincolnshire LN13
Ashford Kent TN23-27
  Middlesex TW15
Bangor Co. Down BT19-20
  Gwynedd LL57
Bridgend Isle of Islay PA44
  Mid Glamorgan CF31-35
Gillingham Dorset SP8
  Kent ME7-8
Newcastle Co. Down BT33
  Staffordshire ST5
Newport Dyfed SA42
  Gwent NP1, NP6, NP9
  Isle of Wight PO30
  Staffordshire TF10
Richmond Surrey TW9-10
  North Yorkshire DL10-11
St Agnes Cornwall TR5
  Cornwall (Isles of Scilly) TR22
Talybont Gwynedd LL43
  Dyfed SY24
Whitchurch Hampshire RG28
  Shropshire SY13

This will cause no problems provided that the postal code is used. Where the postal code is unknown, the county is required.

A table containing information about the relevant position of elements within address blocks can be acquired External

Thoroughfare types

image

Below is a list of commonly occurring thoroughfare types, with the abbreviated form(s) which you are most likely to find in address databases:

English

Thoroughfare Abbreviation
Alley  
Avenue Ave.
Boulevard Bd.
Centre Ctr.
Chambers  
Circus  
Close  
Court Ct.
Crescent Cr.
Drive  
Drove  
Estate  
Field  
Gardens  
Gate  
Grove  
Hill  
Lane  
Market Mkt.
Mews  
Parade  
Park  
Place Pl.
Quay  
Road Rd.
Route Rte.
Row  
Square Sq.
Street St.
Terrace  
Way  
Yard  

NB: Though the abbreviation for Saint is St and that for street is St. (with a full stop), they are both commonly incorrectly abbreviated to the same format (with or without the full stop).

Welsh

Thoroughfare English version
Bron Hill
Cae Field
Fford Park, Way
Maes Field
Marchnad Market
Sgwar Square
Sgwar y Marchnad Market Square

Comprehensive tables of these strings can be acquired – see http://www.grcdi.nl/addresses.htm External

Other elements commonly found in address databases

image

Welsh

NB: Welsh has no indefinite article (a, an)

Welsh English
y, yr (before a, e, h, i, o, w, y) the
tua till
tan until
am, i for
o of
i to
at towards
wrth, gan by
ar on
yn in
tu ol behind
yn y blaen in front of
rhwyng between
dros over
gyda, efo (Northern Wales) with
y Dwyrain East
o’r Ddwyrain Eastern
y Gorllewin West
o’r Gorllewin Western
y De South
o’r De Southern
y Gogledd North
o’r Gogledd Northern
Bach (Fach for female nouns) Little
Mawr (Fawr for female nouns) Great
newydd New
hen Old
Hwyr Long
Sant. Note that the Saint’s name comes first in Welsh - for example Dewi Sant=St David’s. Saint

a’, am, an, an-t, na and na h- are articles in Scottish Gaelic.

United Kingdom - Post office box

image

This is written as P.O. Box, Post Office Box, PO Box or Post office box.

Note that in the United Kingdom, a post office box is not necessarily a number. It can also be a part (usually the last part) of a postal code. Thus, for example:

image

United Kingdom - Postal codes

image

Postal codes (called Postcodes in the United Kingdom) have a long history, the first limited set of codes having been created for parts of London in 1856. The current system was introduced after a trial run in Norwich in 1959. There are around 1.8 million postal codes covering about 29 million addresses. About 5000 changes are made to the postal code files daily.

Postal codes must be placed on a separate line at the bottom of the address, after the town name. There must be nothing else written on this line.

Postal code areas do not correspond to administrative districts. Each code represents a single large user or a small number of addresses in a street or neighbourhood.

Each postal code has two parts, separated by a space. No postal code is longer than 8 characters.

The first part of the postal code (outward code, outcode) can take the following forms:

   A9                e.g. E1
   A99               e.g. E11
   A9A               e.g. E1A
   AA9               e.g. EX1
   AA99              e.g. EX11
   AA9A              e.g. EC1A(This format is found only in London.)
   AAA               For a small number of postal codes only – GIR 0AA, SAN TA1

The second part of the postal code (inward code, incode) is always a digit followed by 2 letters, e.g.

   lAP

The first part of the postal code relates to the postal distribution centre, the letters deriving from the town name, and the part of that district. The second part relates to a street and to which side of the street the house is found or whether the house is odd- or even-numbered; or it may be unique to a single large user. The user cannot derive these details from the code itself.

There are a number of non-geographic codes in use:

   BF1      Introduced in 2012 for British Forces Overseas addresses, with the postal town being BFPO
   BX       This is a Bespoke Service Identifier (BSI) used for large businesses.  This code has the same format as a postal code and is used in place of the postal code, and is theoretically available to companies receiving more than 36000 mail pieces per  day. It is non-geographic, so it allows the large-user to specify and change a preferred delivery point without the need to change postal code and therefore saving money for stationery re-printing etc.
   GIR 0AA  The code created for the Girobank, now part of Santander
   QC       A code used by examination boards.
   XM4 5HQ  Used for letters to Santa Claus. This had previously been SAN TA1.
   XX       A code used by some large retailers, such as John Lewis and Amazon, for parcel returns.

The following list gives all possible initial characters for geographic postal codes. The list below gives the postal town from which the code was derived (though not necessarily the town which is to be used in the address containing this postal code). As the component nations of the United Kingdom now have devolved governments, their use in addresses is likely to increase. The table therefore also shows which postal code is in which nation.

Postal code Postal town Nation/Province
AB Aberdeen Scotland
AL St Albans England
B Birmingham England
BA Bath England
BB Blackburn England
BD Bradford England
BH Bournemouth England
BL Bolton England
BN Brighton England
BR Bromley England
BS Bristol England
BT Belfast Northern Ireland
CA Carlisle England
CB Cambridge England
CF Cardiff Wales
CH Chester England/Wales: CH1-CH3 England; CH4 0 Wales; CH4 1-6 England; CH4 7-9 England and Wales; CH5-7 Wales; CH80-87 Wales; CH88 England; CH99 England
CM Chelmsford England
CO Colchester England
CR Croydon England
CT Canterbury England
CV Coventry England
CW Crewe England
DA Dartford England
DD Dundee Scotland
DE Derby England
DG Dumfries Scotland
DH Durham England
DL Darlington England & Scotland (Some codes in the DL8 3 area)
DN Doncaster England
DT Dorchester England
DY Dudley England
E London (East) England
EC London (East Central) England
EH Edinburgh Scotland
EN Enfield England
EX Exeter England
FK Falkirk Scotland
FY Blackpool England
G Glasgow Scotland
GL Gloucester England
GU Guildford England
HA Harrow England
HD Huddersfield England
HG Harrogate England
HP Hemel Hempstead England
HR Hereford England
HS Hebrides Scotland
HU Kingston upon Hull England
HX Halifax England
IG Ilford England
IP Ipswich England
IV Inverness Scotland
KA Kilmarnock Scotland
KT Kingston upon Thames England
KW Kirkwall Scotland
KY Kirkcaldy Scotland
L Liverpool England
LA Lancaster England
LD Llandrindod Wells Wales
LE Leicester England
LL Llandudno Wales
LN Lincoln England
LS Leeds England
LU Luton England
M Manchester England
ME Medway England
MK Milton Keynes England
ML Motherwell Scotland
N London (North) England
NE Newcastle upon Tyne England
NG Nottingham England
NN Northampton England
NP Newport Wales
NR Norwich England
NW London (Northwest) England
OL Oldham England
OX Oxford England
PA Paisley Scotland
PE Peterborough England
PH Perth Scotland
PL Plymouth England
PO Portsmouth England
PR Preston England
RG Reading England
RH Redhill England
RM Romford England
S Sheffield England
SA Swansea Wales
SE London (Southeast) England
SG Stevenage England
SK Stockport England
SL Slough England
SM Sutton England
SN Swindon England
SO Southampton England
SP Salisbury England
SR Sunderland England
SS Southend-on-Sea England
ST Stoke-on-Trent England
SW London (Southwest) England
SY Shrewsbury England/Wales: SY1-9 England; SY10 Wales; SY11-SY14 England; SY15-SY25 Wales
TA Taunton England
TD Galashiels England/Scotland: TD1-TD14 Scotland; TD15 England
TF Telford England
TN Tunbridge Wells England
TQ Torquay England
TR Truro England
TS Cleveland England
TW Twickenham England
UB Southall England
W London (West) England
WA Warrington England
WC London (West Central) England
WD Watford England
WF Wakefield England
WN Wigan England
WR Worcester England
WS Walsall England
WV Wolverhampton England
YO York England
ZE Lerwick Scotland

In the inward (second half) of the code, the letters C, I, K, M, O and V are never found.

As both the International sorting code and UK postal codes begin with letters, confusion can occur (e.g. CH indicating Switzerland can be confused with CH indicating Chester), and for this reason the British Post Office prefers that the International sorting code is not used for international mail posted within the United Kingdom.

Postal codes beginning GY are in the crown dependency of Guernsey, those beginning JE are in Jersey and those beginning IM in the Isle of Man.

Metadata containing postal code formatting rules, exceptions and regular expressions can be acquired External

United Kingdom - Postal code format graphic

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

United Kingdom - Postal code format

United Kingdom - Postal code specifics

The letter J is never found as one of the first two letters. The letters Q, V and X are never found in the first position of the postal code. The letters I and Z are not found in the second position (except for the single postal code GIR 0AA ). Where the third position is a letter, the letters I, L, O, Q and Z are not found. Only the letters A, B, E, H, M, N, P, R, V, W, X and Y can appear in the fourth position. In the part of the postal code after the space, the letters C, I, K, M, O and V are never found.

United Kingdom - Postal code regular expression

\A((GIR 0AA)|(XM4 5HQ)|(B|E|G|S|L|M|E|N|W)[0-9]( )[0-9][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z]|(B|E|G|S|L|M|E|N|W)[0-9][0-9]( )[0-9][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z]|(AB|AL|BA|BB|BD|BF|BH|BL|BN|BR|BS|BT|BX|CA|CB|CF|CH|CM|CO|CR|CT|CV|CW|DA|DD|DE|DG|DH|DL|DN|DT|DY|EH|EN|EX|FK|FY|GL|GU|HA|HD|HG|HP|HR|HS|HU|HX|IG|IP|IV|KA|KT|KW|KY|LA|LD|LE|LL|LN|LS|LU|ME|MK|ML|NE|NG|NN|NP|NR|OL|OX|PA|PE|PH|PL|PO|PR|QC|RG|RH|RM|SA|SG|SK|SL|SM|SN|SO|SP|SR|SS|ST|SY|TA|TD|TF|TN|TQ|TR|TS|TW|UB|WA|WD|WF|WN|WR|WS|WV|XX|YO|ZE)[0-9]( )[0-9][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z]|(AB|AL|BA|BB|BD|BH|BL|BN|BR|BS|BT|BX|CA|CB|CF|CH|CM|CO|CR|CT|CV|CW|DA|DD|DE|DG|DH|DL|DN|DT|DY|EH|EN|EX|FK|FY|GL|GU|HA|HD|HG|HP|HR|HU|HX|IG|IP|IV|KA|KT|KW|KY|LA|LD|LE|LL|LN|LS|LU|ME|MK|ML|NE|NG|NN|NP|NR|OL|OX|PA|PE|PH|PL|PO|PR|QC|RG|RH|RM|SA|SG|SK|SL|SM|SN|SO|SP|SR|SS|ST|SY|TA|TD|TF|TN|TQ|TR|TS|TW|UB|WA|WD|WF|WN|WR|WS|WV|XX|YO|ZE)[0-9][0-9]( )[0-9][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z]|(E|N|W)[0-9][A-H|J-K|M-N|P|R-Y]( )[0-9][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z]|(EC|NW|SE|SW|WC)[0-9]( )[0-9][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z]|(EC|NW|SE|SW|WC)[0-9][0-9]( )[0-9][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z]|(EC|NW|SE|SW|WC)[0-9][A-H|J-K|M-N|P|R-Y]( )[0-9][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z][A-B|D-H|J|L|N|P-U|W-Z])\Z

United Kingdom - Postal code level of coverage

4

United Kingdom - Postal code map

image

Place names in the United Kingdom

image

There are few rules to govern the correct punctuation of place names. A good place to look for correct spellings is Oliver Mason’s Bartholomew Gazetteer of Places in Britain. The UK has many charmingly and idiosyncratically named settlements, and space limitations do not allow me to list all of them. However, the list below, limited to settlements with more than 5 000 inhabitants (2 000 for settlements in Scotland or Wales) shows the correct way of writing the names of settlements which can be wrongly or alternatively spelt, with their respective postal codes:

Settlement Postal code
Ackworth Moor Top WF7
Adwick le Street DN6
Alderley Edge SK9
Annfield Plain DH9
Ashby-de-la-Zouch LE65
Ashton-in-Makerfield WN4
Ashton-under-Lyne OL5-7
Barnard Castle DL12
Barrow-in-Furness LA13-14
Barton-upon-Humber DN18
Barton on Sea SO41
Bayston Hill SY3
Berwick-upon-Tweed TD15
Bettws-y-Coed LL24
Bexhill-on-Sea TN39-40
Bishop Auckland DL13-14
Bishop's Cleeve GL52
Bishop's Stortford CM22-23
Blackhall Colliery TS27
Blaenau Ffestiniog LL41
Blandford Forum DT11
Blaydon-on-Tyne NE21
Bo’ness EH51
Boar’s Hill OX1
Bognor Regis PO21-22
Bolton-le-Sands LA5
Boston Spa LS23
Bourne End SL8
Bradford-on-Avon BA15
Bridge of Allan FK9
Bridge of Weir PA11
Bromley Cross BL7
Builth Wells LD2
Burgess Hill RH15
Burley in Wharfedale LS29
Burnham-on-Crouch CM0
Burnham-on-Sea TA8
Burry Port SA16
Burscough Bridge L40
Burton Latimer NN15
Burton upon Trent DE13-15
Bury St Edmunds IP28-33
Caister-on-Sea NR30
Canvey Island SS8
Carlton in Lindrick S81
Castle Donington DE74
Catterick Garrison DL9
Cefn-Mawr LL14
Chalfont St Giles HP8
Chalfont St Peter SL9
Chapel-en-le-Frith SK12
Charlton Kings GL52-53
Chester-le-Street DH2-3
Chipping Norton OX7
Chipping Ongar CM
Chipping Sodbury BS17
Church Village CF38
Clacton on Sea CO15-16
Clay Cross S45
Clayton-le-Moors BB5
Cleator Moor CA25
Colwyn Bay LL28-29
Connah's Quay CH5
Conon Bridge IV7
Coupar Angus PH13
Cove Bay AB1
Cross Hands SA14, SA67
Dalgety Bay KY11
Dalton-in-Furness LA15
Dinas Powis CF6
Easton-in-Gordano BS20
Eaton Socon PE19
Ebbw Vale NP3
Ellesmere Port L65-66
Farnham Royal SL2
Fort William PH33
Gilfach Goch CF39
Glyn-Neath SA11
Guide Post NE62
Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen SA18
Hayling Island PO11
Haywards Heath RH16-17
Hazel Grove SK7
Hedge End SO3
Hemel Hempstead HP1-3
Henley-in-Arden B95
Henley-on-Thames RG9
Herne Bay CT6
Hetton-le-Hole DH5
Higham Ferrers NN9
Higher Walton PR + WA
Houghton-le-Spring DH4-5
Hoyland Nether S74
Huyton-with-Roby L36
Ince-in-Makerfield WN
Isle of Walney (or Walney Island) LE
Iver Heath SL0
King's Lynn PE30-34
Kings Langley WD4
Kingston upon Hull (more commonly known as Hull) HU
Kingston upon Thames KT1-2
Kirby Muxloe LE
Lee-on-the-Solent PO13
Leighton Buzzard LU7
Little Lever BL3
Llandrindod Wells LD1
Llandudno Junction LL31
Llantwit Fardre CF38
Llantwit Major CF6
Locks Heath SO3
Lytham St Anne's FY8
Mansfield Woodhouse NG19
Marske-by-the-Sea TS11
Melton Mowbray LE13-14
Menai Bridge LL59
Merthyr Tydfil CF47-48
Merthyr Vale CF48
Milford Haven SA73
Milton Keynes MK
Milton of Campsie G65
Mountain Ash CF45
Newark-on-Trent NG22-24
Newbiggin-by-the-Sea NE64
Newcastle-under-Lyme ST5
Newcastle upon Tyne NE
Newport on Tay DD6
Newport Pagnell MK16
Newton-le-Willows WA12
Newton Abbot TQ12-13
Newton Aycliffe DL5
Newton Mearns G77
Newton Stewart DG8
Norton Canes WS11
Ogmore Vale CF32
Paddock Wood TN12
Pembroke Dock SA72
Penrhyn Bay LL30
Port Glasgow PA14
Port Talbot SA12-13
Potters Bar EN6
Poulton-le-Fylde FY6
Princes Risborough HP27
Radcliffe on Trent NG12
Richmond upon Thames TW9-10
Ross-on-Wye HR9
Royal Tunbridge Wells TN1-4
Royal Wootton Bassett [“Royal” was added on 16th October 2011] SN4
Saltburn-by-the-Sea TS12-13
Seven Sisters SA10
Shepton Mallet BA4
Sonning Common RG4
Southend-on-Sea SS1-3
Sowerby Bridge HX6
Stanford le Hope SS17
Stansted Mountfitchet CM24
Stockton-on-Tees TS
Stockton Heath WA4
Stoke-on-Trent ST
Stoke Poges SL2-3
Stourport-on-Severn DY13
Stratford-upon-Avon CV37
Sunbury-on-Thames TW16
Sutton Coldfield B72-75
Sutton in Ashfield NG17
Taff's Well CF4
Telford Dawley TF4
Ushaw Moor DH7
Virginia Water GU25
Waltham Abbey EN9
Walton-on-Thames KT12
Wath upon Dearne S63
Welwyn Garden City AL7-8
Westbury-on-Trym BS9
Weston-super-Mare BS22-24
Westward Ho! EX39
Whitley Bay NE25-26
Wide Open NE13
Wimborne Minster BH21
Woburn Sands MK17

List of places with royal patronage in the United Kingdom External

Londonderry, in Northern Ireland, is now officially known as Derry. Londonderry is still used by some of the population. The use of either name is heavily politically coloured, and care needs to be taken. Use the same version that the contact person uses.

Staines (postal code areas TW18 and TW19) became Staines-upon-Thames on 20th May 2012.

Furthermore, there is generally no hyphenation for names beginning with the following words:

   Bishop
   Castle
   East
   Far
   Great
   Greater
   High
   Higher
   Lesser
   Little
   Low
   Lower
   Market
   Mid
   Middle
   Near
   Nether
   New
   North
   Old
   St
   South
   The
   Upper
   West
   Y
   Yr

In some databases, these words may sometimes be found following the rest of the settlement name in this way:

   Tew, Great

Saint is always printed as St.

Refer to Exonyms in United Kingdom for full lists of place names in the United Kingdom in other languages.

Alternate place name forms/postal code tables can be acquired at http://www.grcdi.nl/settlements.htm External

Other language place name data can be acquired at http://www.grcdi.nl/otherlanguageplace.htm External

United Kingdom - Administrative districts

image

Administrative districts graphic

image

There have been a number of re-organizations of counties and other administrative districts within the United Kingdom in the past 25 years which has caused confusion especially in the use of these names in addresses. Counties have been merged, un-merged and had name changes. Many people still use county names in addresses, though they may use old (pre-1974) names, new names, or the name that was used in the intervening period. Some still use the names of counties which no longer exist. To add to this confusion, administrative areas which are not counties but have the same administrative rôle as counties, have been brought into being. The British Post Office have not made changes to the official way that counties are used in addresses to conform to the most recent changes.

It is not necessary to use a county in an address provided that the postal code is used. Given the problems in identifying the correct county name, it is probably best not to add them to addresses at all unless you have a good reason to do so.

For a small number of addresses, especially for those near a county boundary, the county added to the address is not necessarily that where the address is geographically situated - it may be that of the postal town.

The following list of counties provides common abbreviations in brackets. Those names followed by an asterisk (*) are newly created districts and are unlikely to be in common usage in addresses. Those followed by the symbol (†) no longer exist as counties but may still be found in address databases. Those followed by the symbol (‡) are counties or districts which were abolished in 1974 but have recently been re-incarnated. Those followed by the symbol (§) are new urban districts or unitary authorities which are unlikely to become used as county names - the old county will be used.

England

   Avon External (†)
   Bath and North East Somerset External (*)
   Bedfordshire External (Beds)
   (Royal) Berkshire External (Berks)
   Blackburn with Darwen External (*)(§)
   Blackpool External (*)(§)
   Bournemouth External (*)(§)
   Bracknell Forest External (*)(§)
   Brighton & Hove External (*)(§)
   Buckinghamshire External (Bucks)
   Cambridgeshire External (Cambs)
   Cheshire External
   City of Bristol External (*)(§)
   City of Kingston upon Hull External (*)(§)
   City of Stoke-on-Trent External (*)(§)
   Cleveland External (†)
   Cornwall External
   Cumbria External
   Darlington External (*)(§)
   Derby City External (*)(§)
   Derbyshire External
   Devon External
   Dorset External
   (County) Durham External
   East Sussex External (E Sussex)
   East Yorkshire External (E Yorks), or East Riding of Yorkshire (‡)
   Essex External
   Gloucestershire External (Glos)
   Greater London External
   Greater Manchester External
   Halton External (*)(§)
   Hampshire External (Hants)
   Hartlepool External (*)(§)
   Herefordshire External (‡)
   Hertfordshire External (Herts)
   Isle of Wight External
   Isles of Scilly External (*)
   Kent External
   Lancashire External (Lancs)
   Leicester City External (*)(§)
   Leicestershire External (Leics)
   Lincolnshire External (Lincs)
   Luton External (*)(§)
   Medway External (*)(§)
   Merseyside External
   Middlesbrough External (*)(§)
   Milton Keynes External (*)(§)
   Norfolk External
   North Lincolnshire External (*)
   North East Lincolnshire External (*)
   North Somerset External (*)
   North Yorkshire External (N Yorks)
   Northamptonshire External (Northants)
   Northumberland External (Northd)
   Nottingham External (*)(§)
   Nottinghamshire External (Notts)
   Oxfordshire External (Oxon)
   Peterborough External (*)(§)
   Plymouth External (*)(§)
   Poole External (*)(§)
   Portsmouth City External (*)(§)
   Reading External (*)(§)
   Redcar and Cleveland External (*)
   Rutland External (‡)
   Shropshire External (for a short period renamed Salop)
   Slough External (*)(§)
   Somerset External
   South Gloucestershire External (*)
   South Yorkshire External (S Yorks)
   Southampton City External (*)(§)
   Southend-on-Sea External (*)(§)
   Staffordshire External (Staffs)
   Stockton-on-Tees External (*)(§)
   Suffolk External
   Surrey External
   Swindon External (*)(§)
   Telford & Wrekin External (*)(§)
   Thurrock External (*)(§)
   Torbay External (*)(§)
   Tyne and Wear External
   Warrington External (*)(§)
   Warwickshire External
   West Berkshire External (*)(§)
   West Midlands External (W Midlands)
   West Sussex External (W Sussex)
   West Yorkshire External (W Yorks)
   Wiltshire External (Wilts)
   Windsor & Maidenhead External (*)(§)
   Wokingham External (*)(§)
   Worcestershire External (‡)
   York External (*)(§) 

Wales

   Blaenau Gwent External (*)
   Bridgend External (*)
   Caerphilly External (*)
   Cardiff External (*)
   Carmarthenshire External (‡)
   Clwyd External (†)
   Conwy External (*)
   Ceredigion External (*)
   Denbighshire External (‡)
   Dyfed External (†)
   Flintshire External (‡)
   Gwent External (†)
   Gwynedd External
   Isle of Anglesey External
   Merthyr Tydfil External (*)
   Mid Glamorgan External (M Glam) (†)
   Monmouthshire External (‡)
   Neath Port Talbot External (*)
   Newport External (*)
   Pembrokeshire External (‡)
   Powys External
   Rhondda Cynon Taff External (*)
   South Glamorgan External (S Glam) (†)
   Swansea External (*)
   Torfaen External (*)
   Vale of Glamorgan External (*)
   West Glamorgan External (W Glam) (†)
   Wrexham External (*)

Scotland

   Aberdeen City External (*)(§)
   Aberdeenshire External (‡)
   Angus External (‡)
   Argyll & Bute External
   Central External (†)
   City of Edinburgh External (*)(§)
   Clackmannanshire External (‡)
   Dumfries and Galloway External
   Dundee City External (*) (§)
   East Ayrshire External (*)
   East Dunbartonshire External (*)
   East Lothian External (‡)
   East Renfrewshire External (*)
   Falkirk External
   Fife External
   Glasgow City External (*)(§)
   Grampian External (†)
   Highland External 
   Inverclyde External (*)
   Lothian External (counties of East Lothian, Lothian, West Lothian)
   Midlothian External (‡)
   Moray External (‡)
   Na h-Eileanan Siar  (Western Isles) External   
   North Ayrshire External (*)
   North Lanarkshire External (*)
   Orkney External
   Perth and Kinross External (*)
   Renfrewshire External (‡)
   Scottish Borders External
   Shetland External
   South Ayrshire External (*)
   South Lanarkshire External (*)
   Stirling External (‡)
   Strathclyde External (†)
   Tayside External (†)
   West Dunbartonshire External (*)
   West Lothian External (‡)

Northern Ireland

   Antrim ExternalCounty Antrim
   Armagh ExternalCounty Armagh
   Londonderry ExternalCounty (London)Derry
   Down ExternalCounty Down
   Fermanagh ExternalCounty Fermanagh
   Tyrone ExternalCounty Tyrone

Note: Northern Ireland is divided into 11 divisions External, but these are not generally used in addresses.

Crown dependencies

   Alderney ExternalAlderney
   Guernsey
   Isle of Man
   Jersey
   Sark ExternalSark

Counties may be written in addresses without the word ‘shire’, especially where the county is named after a town. Thus, Gloucestershire is often written as Gloucester, Oxfordshire as Oxford, etc. This is especially the case with the old Scottish counties, where the ‘shire’ is rarely used.

If you want to use counties in addresses, it is necessary to note a number of idiosyncratic differences between the existing administrative regions and the county names that the Royal Mail prefers are used in addresses. These idiosyncrasies are as follows:

1. In Scotland, the administrative regions which replaced the old counties in 1975 are not referred to at all by the Post Office. The old county names are still used. The old Scottish counties are as follows:

    Aberdeenshire External
    Angus External
    Argyllshire External
    Ayrshire External
    Banffshire External
    Berwickshire External
    Buteshire External
    Caithness External
    Clackmannanshire External
    Dumfriesshire External
    Dunbarton External
    East Lothian External
    Fife External
    Inverness-shire External
    Kincardineshire External
    Kinross-shire External
    Kircudbrightshire External
    Lanarkshire External
    Midlothian External
    Morayshire External
    Nairnshire External
    Peeblesshire External
    Perthshire External
    Renfrewshire External
    Ross & Cromarty External
    Roxburghshire External
    Selkirkshire External
    Stirlingshire External
    Sutherland External
    West Lothian External
    Wigtownshire External

2. For London, the Post Office uses the pre-1965 boundary. So, for example, Harrow is addressed as Middlesex External, and Sidcup as Kent. Middlesex no longer exists as a county but is still used in postal addresses.

London boroughs will often be found in addresses. In order to be able to recognise these, a list of the currently existing boroughs follows:

    Barking and Dagenham External
    Barnet External
    Bexley External
    Brent External
    Bromley External
    Camden External
    City of London External
    City of Westminster External
    Croydon External
    Ealing External
    Enfield External
    Greenwich External
    Hackney External
    Hammersmith and Fulham External
    Haringey External
    Harrow External
    Havering External
    Hillingdon External
    Hounslow External
    Islington External
    RKensington and Chelsea External
    Kingston upon Thames External
    Lambeth External
    Lewisham External
    Merton External
    Newham External
    Redbridge External
    Richmond upon Thames External
    Southwark External
    Sutton External
    Tower Hamlets External
    Waltham Forest External
    LWandsworth External

Telephone numbers in the United Kingdom

image

United Kingdom normal subscriber telephone numbers have 10 or 11 digits and the area code always begins with a 0 (which is dropped when calling numbers from abroad). The aim is to make a 10 digit number standard. Mobile numbers have the area codes 71-75 and 77-79.

Tables of telephone number information/formats can be acquired – see http://www.grcdi.nl/telephone.htm External

Properties with value United Kingdom


Every effort is made to keep this resource updated. If you find any errors, or have any questions or requests, please don't hesitate to contact the author.

All information copyright Graham Rhind 2017. Any information used should be acknowledged and referenced.