Postal counties of the United Kingdom

  • postal county
    also known as:
    former postal county
    former postal counties
    categorypostal geography
    locationunited kingdom
    createdmajor revision 1974
    abolished1996
    number116 (as of 1996)
    possible typesengland (48)
    northern ireland (6)
    scotland (54)
    wales (8)
    subdivisionspost town

    the postal counties of the united kingdom, now known as former postal counties,[1] were postal subdivisions in routine use by the royal mail until 1996.[2] the purpose of the postal county – as opposed to any other kind of county – was to aid the sorting of mail by differentiating between like-sounding post towns. since 1996 this has been done by using the outward code (first half) of the postcode instead. for operational reasons the former postal counties, although broadly based on the counties of the united kingdom, did not match up with their boundaries: in some cases there were significant differences. the boundaries changed over time as post towns were created or amended.

    according to the royal mail, the former postal county data no longer forms part of postal addresses. it was removed from the postcode address file database in 2000 and does not form part of its code of practice for changing addresses.[3] despite this, county data is routinely sold to companies, ostensibly to let them cleanse their own address data. as the former postal county data was the last to be in routine use, some organisations have continued to use this obsolete data as part of postal addresses. in 2009 the royal mail code of practice consultation included discussion of the possible replacement of the currently supplied 'alias data' with an up-to-date county information data field.[4] in 2010 the regulator advised royal mail to cease supply of county data altogether[5] and a timetable was put in place for this to occur between 2013 and 2016.[6]

  • differences
  • postal counties in operation from 1974 to 1996
  • after 1996
  • notes
  • references
  • external links

Postal county
Also known as:
Former postal county
Former postal counties
CategoryPostal geography
LocationUnited Kingdom
CreatedMajor revision 1974
Abolished1996
Number116 (as of 1996)
Possible typesEngland (48)
Northern Ireland (6)
Scotland (54)
Wales (8)
SubdivisionsPost town

The postal counties of the United Kingdom, now known as former postal counties,[1] were postal subdivisions in routine use by the Royal Mail until 1996.[2] The purpose of the postal county – as opposed to any other kind of county – was to aid the sorting of mail by differentiating between like-sounding post towns. Since 1996 this has been done by using the outward code (first half) of the postcode instead. For operational reasons the former postal counties, although broadly based on the counties of the United Kingdom, did not match up with their boundaries: in some cases there were significant differences. The boundaries changed over time as post towns were created or amended.

According to the Royal Mail, the former postal county data no longer forms part of postal addresses. It was removed from the Postcode Address File database in 2000 and does not form part of its code of practice for changing addresses.[3] Despite this, county data is routinely sold to companies, ostensibly to let them cleanse their own address data. As the former postal county data was the last to be in routine use, some organisations have continued to use this obsolete data as part of postal addresses. In 2009 the Royal Mail code of practice consultation included discussion of the possible replacement of the currently supplied 'alias data' with an up-to-date county information data field.[4] In 2010 the regulator advised Royal Mail to cease supply of county data altogether[5] and a timetable was put in place for this to occur between 2013 and 2016.[6]