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Profile Chris SProject donor
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Message 1552576 - Posted: 5 Aug 2014, 11:48:53 UTC

As a West London Co-ordinator I have just spent two days trying to find an IT volunteer to visit a disabled person in W7. I tried someone on my list in W6 (logically next door) then someone in W8, (logically also next door) only to get the same response, it was too far away. Then I looked at the postcode map.




How is anyone supposed to know that W13 is stuck between W7 and W5? For a start, it would have made sense to swop W13 with W6 surely. But apparently the London post codes were allocated in alphabetical order of postal districts London post codes and not by number.

I have now found a volunteer in W13 who can help, but I am very cross. Don't stand in front of me I am spitting nails, you may well get impaled upon the nearest fence!!!

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Message 1552582 - Posted: 5 Aug 2014, 12:35:34 UTC - in response to Message 1552576.
Last modified: 5 Aug 2014, 12:41:44 UTC

Welcome to the wacky world of the Post Office!

Personally, find no problems with London's postal areas.

Just a teeny weeny sidenote: -

I mentioned this several months ago...

...do you recall your response?

Edit: Too busy falling off my chair to spell correctly :-)
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Message 1552596 - Posted: 5 Aug 2014, 13:30:01 UTC

Our Zip code system isn't much better and the only one who uses it is the postal service. Should we need one to mail something, we have Zip code maps or look it up online. If we need service, often we will be ask for a cross street - meaning the crossing of two major streets near our location. Phoenix's road system was constructed with a 1 square mile grid but as many streets are numbered instead of named, you can often have a cross street that's much closer.

With an area as big as the Los Angles areas, you need to add the city into the mix because street names and addresses aren't consistence across city boundaries. Much of this is because the cities started small and separate but over the years, their boundaries grew together.
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Message 1552609 - Posted: 5 Aug 2014, 14:08:45 UTC - in response to Message 1552596.

Our Zip code system isn't much better and the only one who uses it is the postal service. Should we need one to mail something, we have Zip code maps or look it up online. If we need service, often we will be ask for a cross street - meaning the crossing of two major streets near our location. Phoenix's road system was constructed with a 1 square mile grid but as many streets are numbered instead of named, you can often have a cross street that's much closer.

With an area as big as the Los Angles areas, you need to add the city into the mix because street names and addresses aren't consistence across city boundaries. Much of this is because the cities started small and separate but over the years, their boundaries grew together.

Or in Los Angeles' case, many tiny cities got annexed as Loa Angeles had secured a water supply. Hills, rivers and other boundaries that aren't straight always toss curves in. Somewhere, no matter how you assign codes, they have to meet back up so there will be a big jump in numbering.
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Message 1552712 - Posted: 5 Aug 2014, 21:56:31 UTC

Actually, the first 2 digits of the zip code make some sense.

First digit is a group of states that are all contiguous (with the exceptions of 0, and 9. These include some locations not on the continental USA.

The second digit is allocated to a particular state (with the exception of a few states with really low populations that share the second digit and are distinguished in the third.

The third digit is supposed to be a contiguous area as is the fourth. I have less data on these though.
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Message 1552738 - Posted: 5 Aug 2014, 23:07:33 UTC

None of it makes logical sense in the UK, even without government decreed boundary changes. There are places in one county with post codes and telephone codes of the county next door. So that parts of Gtr Manchester are in Lancashire, and parts of Cheshire are in Gtr Manchester. And parts of East Sussex are in Kent and BT will send you bills etc addressed to Kent, also they refuse to change it. So I've told them I don't live in Kent so this bill isn't for me and I'm not paying it. Plus they spelt my name wrong, again, uneducated heathens.

Telephone codes are supposedly alphabetical, so how come
01253 - Blackpool
01254 - Blackburn

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Message 1552753 - Posted: 6 Aug 2014, 0:51:38 UTC - in response to Message 1552609.

Or in Los Angeles' case, many tiny cities got annexed as Loa Angeles had secured a water supply. Hills, rivers and other boundaries that aren't straight always toss curves in. Somewhere, no matter how you assign codes, they have to meet back up so there will be a big jump in numbering.

Chicago once had a similar problem. As smaller towns were annexed, the city came to have multiples of any number of street names. So, a hundred and I-don't-know-how-many years ago, they hired a guy to fix it. He sat down with a map of the city and changed names all over the place so there were no multiples. The city council was so impressed, they only made one change: they named a street for him. I wish I could remember his name.

As some people know, before Zip Codes, large American cities had postal codes. An address might be 1234 Something St., Chicago 21, Illinois; or 5678 Other Ave., New York 38, New York. When Zips came along, these codes were adopted and just had appropriate prefixes added. So that same address in Chicago is now 60621.

Here in the Chicago suburbs, all towns south of a line (probably Chicago's 0 North/South line, Madison St.) are 605xx and north of it are 601xx. Naperville was 60540 for about 20 years. Then they decided it needed more, but the consecutive numbers were already assigned. So, the rest of the city is now 60563-60567.
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Message 1552754 - Posted: 6 Aug 2014, 0:59:50 UTC - in response to Message 1552738.

None of it makes logical sense in the UK, even without government decreed boundary changes. There are places in one county with post codes and telephone codes of the county next door. So that parts of Gtr Manchester are in Lancashire, and parts of Cheshire are in Gtr Manchester. And parts of East Sussex are in Kent and BT will send you bills etc addressed to Kent, also they refuse to change it. So I've told them I don't live in Kent so this bill isn't for me and I'm not paying it. Plus they spelt my name wrong, again, uneducated heathens.

Telephone codes are supposedly alphabetical, so how come
01253 - Blackpool
01254 - Blackburn

Seems to me I read somewhere that British county lines are periodically moved. Perhaps the postal and phone codes align with the old county lines?

As for Blackburn and Blackpool, perhaps they were assigned by someone with poor spelling skills? (Kind of like the entry for Earth coming under the one for Eccentrica Gallumbits...)
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Message 1552764 - Posted: 6 Aug 2014, 1:28:42 UTC - in response to Message 1552754.

Seems to me I read somewhere that British county lines are periodically moved. Perhaps the postal and phone codes align with the old county lines?

The Sussex/Kent border hasn't changed in the last 50 years.

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Message 1552773 - Posted: 6 Aug 2014, 1:44:37 UTC - in response to Message 1552764.

Seems to me I read somewhere that British county lines are periodically moved. Perhaps the postal and phone codes align with the old county lines?

The Sussex/Kent border hasn't changed in the last 50 years.

When were the phone codes set up?
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Message 1552791 - Posted: 6 Aug 2014, 3:34:16 UTC - in response to Message 1552773.
Last modified: 6 Aug 2014, 3:36:32 UTC

Seems to me I read somewhere that British county lines are periodically moved. Perhaps the postal and phone codes align with the old county lines?

The Sussex/Kent border hasn't changed in the last 50 years.

When were the phone codes set up?

started late 1960's I think, but not finished until 1980's.

But I remember calling my Sussex grandparents in the early 70's and it was still manual connection to their village extn 19.

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Message 1552819 - Posted: 6 Aug 2014, 5:12:13 UTC - in response to Message 1552712.

Actually, the first 2 digits of the zip code make some sense.

First digit is a group of states that are all contiguous (with the exceptions of 0, and 9. These include some locations not on the continental USA.

The second digit is allocated to a particular state (with the exception of a few states with really low populations that share the second digit and are distinguished in the third.

The third digit is supposed to be a contiguous area as is the fourth. I have less data on these though.

As I recall, (anybody want to hunt down the wiki?) The 1st digit is, as John M says, a Regional code. The 2nd and 3rd digits identified a major Postal Distribution Center within that region, and the last 2 identified a City or Post Office within that City, served by tha Distribution Center. City codes were usually assigned alphabetically.

My Zip Code is 93291 (originally 93277, but the city grew).
9 = West Coast Region, California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii & Pacific Islands.
32 = Bakersfield, California Distribution Center (now closed, my mail comes out of Santa Clarita CA.)
91 = Visalia downtown Post Office, serving the area north of SR-198 and west of Santa Fe Avenue.

Post Office boxes sometimes have their own zip codes, separate from the Post Office that houses them. Ex: P.O. Boxes at the Downtown Visalia Post Office (the original 93277, now 93291) have Zip Codes 93278. P.O. Boxes at the new Main Post Office (current 93277) are 93279. Only a government efficiency project...
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Message 1552835 - Posted: 6 Aug 2014, 8:57:02 UTC
Last modified: 6 Aug 2014, 9:08:53 UTC

To be fair, it is really all about knowing your own patch well enough to be aware of the geographical layout of it. Now that I know that the post codes are in alphabetical postal district/area order and not numerically, I can allow for that. I can go to the map and see the adjacent post codes to the location requiring help. For example, for someone in W2, they are bounded by W8, W9 & W11. For someone in W6 they are bounded by W4, W12, & W14.

Actually UK postcodes are quite clever, and I have posted before about them, but it was some time ago and I can't find it. Take a UK typical post code outside London of RH1 7PG. The first part is the inward code for mail coming in from outside the area, and the second part is the outward code from the sorting office to the address.

The first two letters refer to the postal area where the main sorting office is based, there are 121 of them in the UK, in this case RH is Redhill in Surrey. The 1 refers to the postal district with a sub sorting office, usually 20 per area. The outward code 7 is sector 7 with about 300 addresses per sector, the PG is the street or streets code with about 15-20 houses. Large houses, blocks of flats, or businesses often have their own codes. In theory you could address a letter to John Smith RH1 7PG, post it anywhere in the country, and it would get to within 20 houses of him, then the individual postman would rely on local knowledge to deliver it. Post codes are essential to use automatic sorting machinery. Postcode history

Official Postal addresses can be a minefield! Before 1965 we had the London County Council (LCC) so you had London postcodes and urban postcodes. Then they politically enlarged the boundaries of it to form the Greater London Council (GLC). This was changed into the Greater London Authority (GLA)in 2000 with a Mayor. The Post office decided in 1965 that it would be too costly to re-program all their sorting machinery so they left the London postcode system as it was. This means that someone who was in the north of the County of Surrey bordering south London, still has an official postal address of Surrey, but pay their Council tax to a London Borough, and their roads are upkept by Transport for London (TfL).

Also Councils come and go! In 1965 the county of Middlesex was also abolished with the creation of the new GLC, having been there since 1889. Parts went to the London boroughs and other bits to Herffordshire and Surrey. But the official address of Twickenham stadium the famous Rugby shrine, is still as before, RFU, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW2 7BA. Old counties

Telephone codes are a different matter. I'll write later about them.

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Message 1552866 - Posted: 6 Aug 2014, 12:24:42 UTC
Last modified: 6 Aug 2014, 12:29:56 UTC

Before 1959, London used a 3L-4N system, unlike USA cities with their 2L-5N system. Exchange names and phone numbers were called on an alphanumeric dial. I lived in Sutton south London in 1956 and we were on the VIGilant (642) exchange. Other friends were on FAIrlands (644) in Cheam, LIBerty (542) in Wimbledon etc. The most famous of course was Scotland Yard on WHItehall 1212. But with the advent of the Subscriber Trunk Dialling system (STD) all exchanges were allocated numbers in the late 1960's. Old exchange names

01 London
021 Birmingham
031 Edinburgh
041 Glasgow
051 Liverpool
061 Manchester

But in the case of London, demand for telephones outstripped supply. And in 1990 the London 01 code was split into 071 for inner London, and 081 for outer London. By 1995 they were running out of numbers again, so they brought in 0171 for inner London and 0181 for outer London. Then in 2000 demand was still rising so London became 020. 0171-xxx xxxx numbers changed to (020) 7xxx xxxx, and 0181-xxx xxxx numbers became (020) 8xxx xxxx. As a result, there is now "officially" a widespread misconception that 0207 and 0208 are the dialling codes for parts of London!

RUBBISH! They are! So here is where I give two fingers up to BT!! When I verbally quote my telephone number I do so in blocks of 4-3-4 i.e 0208 xxx xxxx it is easier to say, and easier to write down. yet the "official" way to quote it on letter heads etc is (020) xxxx xxxx. Apparently the single code 020 created capacity for 100 million telephone numbers, but, here we go again, starting in 2005, phone numbers beginning with 3 were issued alongside those beginning 7 and 8. Doesn't BT realise that every change in phone numbers costs British Businesses millions of pounds in reprinting stationery, business cards, and sign painting vehicles? Apparently not.

The problem has been that demand for telephone numbers has spiralled beyond all predictions that have been made. Businesses wanted 1/2 a dozen land lines, fax lines, Internet etc. in the last 20 years working from home to avoid commuting has become a practicable proposition given modern Internet availability. Many residential customers want an incoming business line, an outgoing business line, a private residential line, and (surprisingly) still a dedicated fax line. The truth is that BT hasn't kept pace with the introduction of new technology and keeps getting caught on the hop. Technically they are fine but their management has to be called into question.

So to sum up this post and my previous post :-

I may live "politically" in a London Borough, and pay my taxes to it, and yes I am grateful for the London Freedom Pass which saves me megabucks each year. But as far as I'm concerned I still live in the county of Surrey and I always quote that on any correspondence. And I'm fed up with various governments that come and go, tinkering with the system for political purposes. The Local Government Act 1972 brought in Metropolitan and unitary authorities to complicate matters even further. And oh yes if the Tories had not reneged upon the Coalition agreement for reform of the House of Lords, we would have had Constituency boundary changes, which would have carved up the country into even more different areas than Councils and postcodes. But the next boundary review now won't be until 2018.

So, I live in SURREY and my phone number is 0208 XXX XXXX and if the government, the Post Office, or BT don't like it, then all of them can shove their paperwork up where the sun doesn't shine :-)))

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Message 1552870 - Posted: 6 Aug 2014, 12:52:42 UTC - in response to Message 1552866.

The best political rant seen from you to date. So what is the problem?

People know how to contact you & know where you live so regardless of what number or postcode you have, they call or arrive...

...job done!
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Message 1552902 - Posted: 6 Aug 2014, 14:44:29 UTC - in response to Message 1552870.
Last modified: 6 Aug 2014, 14:45:29 UTC

The best political rant seen from you to date. So what is the problem?

People know how to contact you & know where you live so regardless of what number or postcode you have, they call or arrive...

...job done!

But sometimes they don't.

I was supposed to get a large item delivery one day, between 13:00 and 17:00, a couple of months ago. When it didn't get here I phoned the company and they said it was on the truck and thought it should have been delivered well before 19:00. Luckily they managed to contact the driver, who's excuse was "He got to the sign saying he was entering Sussex, and knowing the address post and telephone codes were for a Kent town, thought he was going in the wrong direction" The delivery got to me about 20:30, with a driver who didn't have enough hours left to return home.
Why he didn't call me I will never know.

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Message 1552906 - Posted: 6 Aug 2014, 14:51:06 UTC - in response to Message 1552902.

Why he didn't call me I will never know.

Very good point. That's not yours or the company's fault but the driver's. As for running out of driving time, again down to the driver.

Before the days of mobile phones, we had to carry a supply of 10p pieces. Any problems call the depot or the customer[Ah they were the good old days)...

...again, job done!
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Message 1553041 - Posted: 6 Aug 2014, 21:25:24 UTC

"He got to the sign saying he was entering Sussex, and knowing the address post and telephone codes were for a Kent town, thought he was going in the wrong direction"

WK, are we saying that the driver did not have a Sat Nav? And in any case Sussex is now in two parts, West Sussex and East Sussex, so it depends from where he was coming from as to which one he hit, probably West Sussex.

Historically, Sussex was the home of the South Saxons, as Essex was to the East Saxons, and Wessex was to the West Saxons, and Middlesex was to the Middle Saxons. The North Saxons lived in Nosex which is why they died out.

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Message 1553047 - Posted: 6 Aug 2014, 21:33:50 UTC - in response to Message 1553041.

Historically, Sussex was the home of the South Saxons, as Essex was to the East Saxons, and Wessex was to the West Saxons, and Middlesex was to the Middle Saxons. The North Saxons lived in Nosex which is why they died out.


Good one!


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Message 1553174 - Posted: 7 Aug 2014, 6:05:24 UTC - in response to Message 1553041.

East Sussex from Kent, Seven Oaks area, if I remember correctly.

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