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.