HC Deb 02 July 1968 vol 767 c218W
Sir R. Russell

asked the Postmaster General what is the significance of the letters which appear after the names of certain cities such as Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Norwich and Nottingham in postal addresses; and if, for sorting purposes, they render superfluous any other part of the address.

Mr. Stonehouse

The groups of letters and numerals are Postcodes. A Postcode is a condensed form of the address which, when copied by a Post Office operator on a keyboard, can be translated into machine language. This can be read by high speed sorting machines which are now undergoing operational trials.

The Postcode is in two parts. The first indicates the mechanised centre through which the letter will pass and the second refers to the street or to an address which receives a large volume of mail.

When we are introducing Postcodes we do what we can to shorten addresses, and our customers are told of their minimum address to which the code should be added. Postcodes do not, however, replace addresses. This would not be practicable because of errors in copying and poor handwriting.