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Be County-Wise and get to know the Historic Counties!

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Postal data for your address look-ups and applications

Many businesses and organisations already use the postal data the Association of British counties provides free-of-charge. The Historic Counties Postal Directory is essentially a list of the historic county for each post town of the UK. From this the historic county for any UK address can easily be determined. The Directory can be searched on-line or the data can be downloaded for use in your own applications.

Although under the Royal Mail’s Flexible Addressing Policy there is no need to include any kind of “county line” in UK postal addresses, there are good reasons to continue to do so:

  • they add invaluable geographical information to an address, making it instantly clear approximately where a particular address is located. There are around 1600 Post Towns in the UK. Few people could locate more than a small minority of these from memory. Most businesses, organisations and individuals will want to use a form of postal address from which their location is instantly clear. The county element is vital in this context.
  • the county information can be critical in enabling a determination of the full postal address on those millions of letters posted everyday where the postcode and/or Post Town names are missing or incorrect.

The historic county names can be used in any UK postal address. In postal addressing, it is clearly desirable to use a fixed geographical framework: one divorced from the very changing names and areas of administrative units but, instead, rooted in history, tradition, public affection and understanding. The historic are the only sensible choice to use as the county element in postal addressing.

The Directory provides advice on

[arrow go=”directory”]Visit the Historic Counties Postal Directory[/arrow]

[arrow go=”directory” path=”download”]Download a copy of the postal data[/arrow]