Royal Mail explains why London towns still have Essex, Kent and Surrey postcodes

There’s always been a big debate about certain towns that are on the outskirts of the capital and if they technically are London.

Places like Croydon and Kingston are sometimes deemed Surrey, Bromley and Orpington incorrected labelled Kent and Epping Forest and Dagenham referred to as Essex.

During these heated debates many of those of the opinion that these places aren’t London use the postcode argument – if they’re in London why don’t they have a London postcode?

For more news and features about London directly to your inbox sign up to our newsletter here

It’s a fair question, even if you don’t take it as evidence of Croydon being in Surrey.

We asked the Royal Mail why this was the case, and the answer makes a lot of sense.

Firstly, those first one or two letters of the postcode, called the Postcode Area, is totally independent of political boundaries, and postal addresses use the name of the relevant Post Town, rather than county names.

The short answer about why these areas aren’t part of the SW, NE etc. groups is history.

Royal Mail said: “The Postcode System is based on the mail delivery network across the UK rather than local or national council geography.

“So, when Greater London was formally created in 1965, and when county boundaries were changed in 1974, the General Post Office had already established an independent system for defining the UK’s Postcode Areas to ensure the efficient sortation of mail.”

Download the MyLondon app

Download the MyLondon app for the latest news and breaking updates

Get the latest London news straight on your phone without having to open your browser – and get all the latest breaking news as notifications on your screen.

The MyLondon app gives you all the stories you need to help you keep on top of what’s happening in the best city ever.

You can download it on Android here and Apple here.

Basically the Post Office had a system in place and just because the definition of London changed didn’t mean it was going to reorganise itself – fair enough!

So next time someone tells you Kingston is in Surrey just point out it’s a London Borough and the KT postcode doesn’t mean anything other than where the post is sorted.


My London – Local News