• A
  • A
  • A
List of Principal Streets in London.

March 1917.

Showing in each case the initials of the Postal District and the number of the Office of Delivery.

'To accelerate further the delivery of mail in London, Sir Rowland Hill proposed a solution which involved dividing the capital into 10 separate postal districts. The districts would be denoted by the compass points, and an office established for each district. The original 10 districts – EC (Eastern Central), WC (Western Central), and then NW, N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, and W – were contained within a circle of 12 miles’ radius from central London. The public were asked to add the districts’ initials to the end of an address.

Hill’s plan was authorised in 1856 and implemented during 1857 and 1858. The scheme accelerated the circulation of London’s mail, particularly local letters which could now be sorted in the local office instead of having to be taken to the Chief Office in the centre of London.

In 1917, during the First World War, the London system was further refined by dividing the districts into sub-districts, still in use today. These were introduced to assist women sorters who had largely taken over sorting work from the men who had gone to war and so did not have the knowledge and experience those men had acquired over the years. The sub-districts were each given a serial number (such as SW6 for Fulham). These formed a suffix to the district’s initials and were allocated in sequence. For example, the Eastern District Office was E1, Bethnal Green was E2, Bow was E3, and so on.' (Compiled extract from the Postal Museum)

The booklet below shows the principal streets of London in 1917, numbered with the new postcodes, with a very practical introduction on how to used it. This item was kindly provided by Norman Bar, a private book collector.

Give us your feedback

Please tell us what you think to help us develop and progress this vital resource

London Jews in the First World War - We Were There Too

Follow us on social media:

© London Jewish Cultural Centre 2018

Website : beachshore