The notion of postal codes seems something that we are more than used to these days. However, do you actually know where the UK postcoding systems roots to and why Manchester postcode differs from a London one? We are going to try to answer these questions as briefly and simply as we can so that the next time the issue comes up, you turn out to be quite proficient in it.
The Pre-History of Postal codes in the United Kingdom
To start with, it should be mentioned that even though the Royal Mail system was practically implemented in the 70s, it was invented a long time ago. To be precise, the postcoding system was suggested in 1857 by Royal Main in London. Its primary purpose was to ensure that all the mails reached the recipients throughout the country.
How Does a Post Code Work?
When you have a look at a certain postcode, let’s say SW6 3AZ, it may seem that there is no way that you can decipher it. However, in reality, it is a lot simpler than it seems. You need to know that every code contains up to 7 letters mixed with numbers, and each has its own purpose. There are four levels that every code consists of.
The first lever defines the area. There are 124 areas in the country, and usually, the first two letters of the code point out one of the areas. In our case, SW is the area code.
After the area comes district. In case you do not know, every area has an average of 21 districts. In the example above, code 6 stands for the district.
It is obvious enough that every district has its sectors as well, where the second part of the code starts. The first number if the Inward code is a sector code. In our example, that is number 3.
Lastly, the last two letters stand for the group of houses or addresses at that point. Some larger companies and organizations have their own postcode, which ensures faster mail delivery.
Do Post Codes Change?
If you wonder whether or not postal codes are permanent, the answer would be – no. The fact is that just like any other country, the United Kingdom grows, new buildings are built, and all of them require postal codes as well. So, over time, some codes are added while others are deleted.
You shouldn’t worry that you may miss some major changes in the postcode system since Royal Mail tries not to make any changes until it is necessary. What is more, if there is a change to take place, all the residents of the affected area are warned in advance, so that there are no unpleasant surprises. Besides, usually, the new codes work together with the old ones for at least a year, so there is almost nothing to worry about.
To sum all up, it is safe to say that UK postcoding system appears quite complex at first glance, but it is not that difficult to figure out if you know what to pay attention to.