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Help and advice for London Postal Districts

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London Postal Districts

This page has: Links to Maps - Description - List of Postal Districts starting E - EC - N - NW - SE - SW - W - WC

Links to Maps

London School of Economics Acommodation Map (12kb) shows Postal Districts, place names outside the Postal District area, and circles of 5 miles and 10 miles radius from LSE (which is just by Charing Cross, the point from which "distance from London" is always given.)

Pocket Atlas and Guide to London, 1900 includes map (553 kb) shows districts before numbers were added (i.e. just N, not N1 N2 N3 etc). It is a coloured map with place names and roads within the districts


Most of the information and the list here were provided by John Henley, in answer to a question on the London email list. He extracted the information from a variety of web pages. There is an addition from the The British Postal Museum & Archive.

The origins of the existing UK Postcode go back as far as the middle of the nineteenth century and arose from the rapid growth of London in the earlier years of that century. So rapid was this that the then Post Office could no longer regard the city as a single town from the viewpoint of sorting mail. Thus the division of London into Postal Districts in 1857-8 effectively divided the capital into smaller and semi-independent postal towns. Sir Rowland Hill. the designer of the first stamp and the man who introduced the uniform postal rate for the whole country, carved up London into eight such Districts. These were denoted by letters representing compass points.,The original 10 districts were EC (Eastern Central), WC (Western Central), and then NW, N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, and W. Thereafter, all mail from the rest of the country was sent directly to the appropriate office. According to the Postal History Museum NE was combined with E in 1866, but entries in the Post Office London Suburbs Directories, addresses on old letters and street name-signs show that it was being used again c1890-1917. S was abolished and divided between SE and SW in 1868. Between 1864 and 1912, cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, Dublin and Sheffield followed this lead, sometimes using numbers alone, without letters.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century in London then the world's largest city the situation became clogged again. Initially as a war-time labour-saving device, a suffix on the Postal District denoting the Sub-District was introduced formally in 1917. The allocation of the numbering was alphabetical. In each district, the sub-district nearest the centre of London was given the number 1. Others were numbered in alphabetical order of the main delivery office in each district. Thus the inner part of Eastern District became E1 whilst Bethnal Green Sub-District became E2 and Bow became E3. Numbers at the end of each alphabetical sequence are later additions. Subsequently the original Postal Districts in London became Areas and the Sub-Districts became full Districts in modern terminology.

Postal "counties" do not coincide with administrative counties, and post code districts do not map exactly onto London boroughs or "villages".

Postcodes came into being in the 1960's . Postcodes are usually of five, six or seven characters, split into two groups, in the form RM8 3HT. The old London Postal Districts were extended by the addition of a second group of three characters, e.g. NW2 6UY. In some parts of central London the first part of the postcode has an additional letter, e.g. Holborn Library is WC1X 8PA. In residential areas a postcode usually covers about ten houses. Business premises usually have their own postcode.

List of Postal Districts

East London

E1 Whitechapel, Stepney, Mile End
E2 Bethnal Green, Shoreditch
E3 Bow, Bromley-by-Bow
E4 Chingford, Highams Park
E5 Clapton
E6 East Ham (also covers Beckton)
E7 Forest Gate, Upton Park
E8 Hackney, Dalston
E9 Hackney, Homerton (includes South Hackney)
E10 Leyton
E11 Leytonstone (also covers Wanstead)
E12 Manor Park
E13 Plaistow
E14 Poplar, Millwall (also covers Isle of Dogs)
E15 Stratford, West Ham
E16 Victoria Docks & North Woolwich (also covers Canning Town)
E17 Walthamstow
E18 Woodford & South Woodford (in reality only South Woodford is covered
by E18; most of Woodford itself is covered by postcode area IG8, outside the London postal districts)

East Central London

EC1 covers the Clerkenwell, Finsbury, Barbican area
EC2 covers the north eastern (Moorgate, Liverpool Street) area of The City
EC3 covers the south eastern (Monument, Aldgate, Fenchurch St, Tower Hill) area of The City
EC4 covers the western (Fleet Street, Temple, Blackfriars, St Paul's) area of The City

North London

N1 covers the Islington, Barnsbury, Canonbury area
N2 East Finchley (includes eastern part of Hampstead Garden Suburb)
N3 Finchley Central, Finchley Church End (central Finchley)
N4 Finsbury Park, Manor House
N5 Highbury
N6 Highgate
N7 Holloway (includes Lower Holloway)
N8 Hornsey (also covers Crouch End)
N9 Lower Edmonton
N10 Muswell Hill
N11 New Southgate (also covers Friern Barnet)
N12 North Finchley, Woodside Park
N13 Palmers Green
N14 Southgate
N15 South Tottenham, Seven Sisters
N16 Stoke Newington, Stamford Hill
N17 Tottenham
N18 Upper Edmonton
N19 Upper Holloway, Archway, Tufnell Park
N20 Whetstone (also covers Totteridge)
N21 Winchmore Hill
N22 Wood Green, Alexandra Palace

North West London

NW1 covers the Camden Town, Regent's Park, north Marylebone area
NW2 Cricklewood, Neasden (also covers Dollis Hill)
NW3 Hampstead, Swiss Cottage (also covers Belsize Park)
NW4 Hendon, Brent Cross
NW5 Kentish Town
NW6 Kilburn, Queens Park (also covers South & West Hampstead, Brondesbury Park)
NW7 Mill Hill
NW8 St John's Wood
NW9 The Hyde (also covers Kingsbury & Colindale)
NW10 Willesden (also covers Harlesden & Kensal Green)
NW11 Golders Green (includes western part of Hampstead Garden Suburb)

South East London

SE1 covers the Waterloo, Bermondsey, Southwark (South Bank & The Borough) &
north Lambeth area
SE2 Abbey Wood (includes Thamesmead South)
SE3 Blackheath, Westcombe Park (also covers Kidbrooke)
SE4 Brockley, Crofton Park, Honor Oak Park
SE5 Camberwell
SE6 Catford, Hither Green (also covers Bellingham)
SE7 Charlton
SE8 Deptford
SE9 Eltham (also covers Mottingham)
SE10 Greenwich (Town)
SE11 Lambeth, Kennington
SE12 Lee, Grove Park
SE13 Hither Green, Lewisham (Town)
SE14 New Cross, New Cross Gate
SE15 Peckham, Nunhead
SE16 Rotherhithe, South Bermonsey, Surrey Docks
SE17 Walworth, Elephant & Castle
SE18 Woolwich (also covers Plumstead)
SE19 Crystal Palace, Norwood (central Norwood: Upper Norwood and Norwood
New Town)
SE20 Anerley (also covers Penge)
SE21 Dulwich (includes West Dulwich)
SE22 East Dulwich
SE23 Forest Hill
SE24 Herne Hill
SE25 South Norwood
SE26 Sydenham
SE27 West Norwood, Tulse Hill
SE28 Thamesmead (NB small parts of Thamesmead are in SE2, and in DA18 Dartford which is not in London Postal Districts)

South West London

SW1 covers the Westminster, Belgravia, Pimlico, Victoria area
SW2 Brixton (central and southern Brixton, includes Streatham Hill)
SW3 Chelsea, Brompton
SW4 Clapham
SW5 Earl's Court
SW6 Fulham, Parson's Green
SW7 South Kensington
SW8 South Lambeth (also covers Vauxhall, Nine Elms)
SW9 Stockwell (includes northern Brixton)
SW10 World's End, West Brompton (NB Brompton is coverd by SW7, SW3 and SW1)
SW11 Battersea, Clapham Junction
SW12 Balham
SW13 Barnes, Castelnau
SW14 Mortlake (also covers East Sheen)
SW15 Putney (also covers Roehampton)
SW16 Streatham, Norbury
SW17 Tooting
SW18 Wandsworth (Town), Earlsfield
SW19 Wimbledon (also covers Merton (Town) and Collier's Wood)
SW20 South Wimbledon, West Wimbledon (also covers Raynes Park and Cottenham Park)

West London

W1 covers the West End, including Mayfair, Soho and south Marylebone
W2 covers the Paddington, Bayswater, Hyde Park area
W3 Acton
W4 Chiswick
W5 Ealing
W6 Hammersmith
W7 Hanwell
W8 Kensington (central Kensington)
W9 Warwick Avenue, Maida Hill (also covers Maida Vale)
W10 Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington
W11 Notting Hill, Holland Park
W12 Shepherd's Bush
W13 West Ealing
W14 West Kensington

West Central London

WC1 covers the Bloomsbury & Gray's Inn area
WC2 covers the Holborn / Strand / Covent Garden area