Anyone in London knows roughly where you live when a postcode is shown, but there are a handful of postcodes that won’t help you.

These are non-geographic postcodes used for a handful of purposes.

Most in the UK are used for direct marketing (typically starting with BX), and PO Boxes for large areas. Girobank’s headquarters in Bootle used to have the non-geographic postcode GIR 0AA. There is also a special postcode for letters to Father Christmas, XM4 5HQ.

While it may seem odd to say that London has a handful of non-geographic postcodes, as by their very nature they don’t have a location — some non-geographical postcodes do start with London specific letters.

For example in North London, there is N81, which is exclusively used by the Electoral Reform Services to provide independent balloting and polling services to organisations conducting elections and polls. Their physical office at N8 0NW, in Wood Green.

Also in North London is N1P – a non-geographical postcode that covers PO Boxes in the area. Likewise, south of the river, there is SE1P, which is also for use by PO Boxes. West London has W1A, which is used for both PO Boxes and direct marketing suppliers. North West London has two PO Box postcodes, NW1W and NW26

In the heart of the City there’s the non-geographic postcode, EC50, which is used by the Royal Mail itself for its worldwide customers. There are also a number of PO Box postcodes though, EC1P, EC2P, EC3P and EC4P.

A former non-geographical postcode is E20, today for the Olympic Park in Stratford, but for many years, the postal district for the fictional Walford in Eastenders.

East London though has a much more interesting non-geographic postcode.

E98 is a rare thing – a postcode dedicated to a single company, in this case it’s the former News International printing presses in Wapping. Although they are now based at London Bridge, within the SE1 postal district, News Corp, which publishes The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun newspapers still uses E98 postcodes.

In a way, it can be said that Rupert Murdoch has his own private postal district. Not even the Queen has that.

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7 comments on “London’s non-geographic postcodes
  1. Charlie Weeks-Bell says:

    Was there not an SE99 or something for one of the breakfast TV studios at one point? I seem to recall whenever they gave out their address for competitions and such, it was So-and-so studios, London, SE99 1ZZ or something.

    You say the Queen doesn’t have her own private postal district…. What is interesting is that wherever Royal Mail have a sorting office (or even sometimes smaller post offices), the postcode suffix is (almost) always 1AA. However, Buckingham Palace is SW1A 1AA, so if there’s a post office in SW1A, its postcode suffix will be relegated! And it can’t go the other way, since the Houses of Parliament are SW1A 0AA.

  2. Dai Vaughan says:

    Outside of London, SA99 is dedicated to DVLA forms. Each form/department has their own postcode. The actual office is SA6 7JL.

  3. Didn’t many Royal Mail buildings used to have postcodes that ended in “ER”. As I recall many BT offices uses to be old post-office sites, such as “BN1 2ER”?

  4. John Watkins says:

    There is also CR9, which is Croydon’s “business” postcode

  5. Harry says:

    I banked with Girobank for many years, always assuming its postcode was actually G1R 0AA, before realising that G1 would have been Glasgow not Bootle.

  6. Gerry says:

    Many Business Reply post paid envelopes have postcodes ending in BR.

  7. Barry S says:

    For reference, the N81 prefix for Electoral Reform Services came about because the volume of mail would have overwhelmed the old Hornsey Sorting Office in Tottenham Lane (opposite Hornsey railway station), so it was sorted at the Northern District Office in Upper Street (N1) instead.

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