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Post town

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Title: Post town  
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Subject: KA postcode area, Postal counties of the United Kingdom, Postcodes in the United Kingdom, London postal district, BT postcode area
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Post town

Post town
Category Postal administration unit
Location United Kingdom
FoundĀ 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. Currently their main function is to distinguish between locality or street names in addresses not including a postcode.[2]


  • Organisation 1
  • Usage 2
    • Locality 2.1
    • Via 2.2
    • Ambiguous post town names 2.3
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


There are approximately 1,500 post towns which are organised by

External links

  1. ^ a b Royal Mail, Address Management Guide, (2004)
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^


See also

  • Barnsley (S)
  • Belfast (BT)
  • Birmingham (B)
  • Cardiff (CF)
  • Chesterfield (S)
  • Glasgow (G)
  • Leeds (LS)
  • London (E, EC, N, NW, SE, SW, W, WC)
  • Manchester (M)
  • Mansfield (NG)
  • Nottingham (NG)
  • Redditch (B)
  • Salford (M)
  • Sheffield (S)

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:

Ambiguous post town names

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".

1 High Street
Via London
E4 1AA

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:


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.

1 Vallance Road
Bethnal Green
E2 1AA

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:

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.

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.


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.

1 Vallance Road
E2 1AA

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


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.

[3] were abolished (but not prohibited) in 1996.postal counties. This was a main reason why parish and/or traditional European statistical region, constituency, area of local government or administration (including healthcare trust), county 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 postal districts (the first part of the postcode) Each post town usually corresponds to one or more [2]

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