Postal addresses: a little history and a lot of photos

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright February 2014, Chris Downer; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.


The OX area is predictably enough based on Oxford, and covers the county of Oxfordshire, except for FARINGDON (which is under SN) and HENLEY-ON-THAMES (under RG). The numbering has changed a lot since the original codes were set up, as detailed below, explaining the absence of OX6 and OX8.

OX1-4 – postal address OXFORD
OX5 – postal address KIDLINGTON, Oxon.
(separated from OXFORD in June 1991)
SP5106 : The Radcliffe Camera in Radcliffe Square by Steve Daniels SP4805 : Oxford Southern Bypass Road (A34) at Botley by David Dixon SP5407 : Old Headington, Oxford by David Hallam-Jones SP5303 : Annesley Road, Rose Hill by Des Blenkinsopp SP4814 : South Oxford Canal, Langford Lane Moorings by Wendy Scanlon

OX7 – postal address CHIPPING NORTON, Oxon.
(separated from OXFORD in June 1991)
OX9 – postal address THAME, Oxon.
OX10 – postal address WALLINGFORD, Oxon.
OX11 – postal address DIDCOT, Oxon.
OX12 – postal address WANTAGE, Oxon.
SP3127 : Chipping Norton market place by Jonathan Billinger SP7005 : Cornmarket, Thame by David Lally SU6089 : Morris Dancers in the Market Square, Wallingford by John Salmon SU5191 : Didcot Power Station from Woodway by Steve Daniels SU3987 : Wantage Market by Rose and Trev Clough

OX13-14 – postal address ABINGDON, Oxon.
OX15-17 – postal address BANBURY, Oxon.
SU4098 : Bend in Oxford Road, Kingston Bagpuize by andrew auger SU4997 : Abingdon - County Hall by Colin Smith SP4235 : Church Street, Bloxham by David Stowell SP4646 : The Oxford Canal from Cropredy Bridge by Steve Daniels SP4540 : Banbury Cross by Philip Halling

OX18 (part) – postal address BAMPTON, Oxon.
(OXFORD, OX8 until June 1991)
OX18 (part) – postal address BURFORD, Oxon.
(OXFORD, OX8 until June 1991)
OX18 (part) – postal address CARTERTON, Oxon.
(OXFORD, OX8 until June 1991)
OX20 – postal address WOODSTOCK, Oxon.
(separated from OXFORD, OX7 in June 1991)
OX25-27 – postal address BICESTER, Oxon.
(OX6 until 2000)
SP2512 : High Street, Burford by Dave Hitchborne SP4416 : Town Hall Before the Storm by Des Blenkinsopp SP4725 : A popular view in Steeple Aston by Humphrey Bolton SP6026 : Mill Lane, Stratton Audley by Kurt C SP5822 : Market Square - Bicester by Colin Babb

OX28-29 – postal address WITNEY, Oxon.
(separated from OXFORD in June 1991 and from OX8 in 2000)
OX33 – postal address OXFORD
(separated from OX3 in c.1990)
OX39 – postal address CHINNOR, Oxon.
(separated from OXFORD in May 1992 and from OX9 in 2000)
OX44 – postal address OXFORD
(separated from OX4 in c.1990)
OX49 – postal address WATLINGTON, Oxon.
(separated from OXFORD in May 1992 and from OX9 in 2000)
SP3509 : Corn Street/Market Square, Witney by Brian Robert Marshall SP4309 : High Street, Eynsham by Kurt C SP5905 : Wheatley - Crown Square by Roy Parkhouse
SP7500 : Chinnor shops by Richard Dorrell SU6098 : The Village Pond by D'Oyley's Farm by Steve Daniels SU6894 : Watlington Town Hall by Steve Daniels


The PA area is centred on Paisley, although one cannot say 'centred' in the literal sense because Paisley is in the southeastern extremity of this very large area. It covers Renfrewshire (and SKELMORLIE in Ayrshire), Argyll (except the Ardnamurchan peninsula), Bute and the southern Hebridean islands.

It used to be even bigger, including the Outer Hebrides until they were given their own postcode area, HS, in 1995. It also decreased in size in December 1999 when PA39 and PA40 became PH49 and PH50.

Numbering starts in central Paisley and ascends through Renfrewshire (and SKELMORLIE) to 19, before continuing from 20 on the Isle of Bute and upwards to 38 across mainland Argyll and into the 40s on the Isle of Islay. The numbers then jump to 60 on Jura and from there reach 78 on Coll, via Colonsay, Mull, Iona and Tiree. Finally, the district PA80 was created in 2009 for the Morvern peninsula, which had previously been part of PA34.

We have already seen that the place-name post towns on some of the islands – Bute, Islay, Jura, and Tiree – were changed to the island names, ISLE OF..., in the same way as for Mull in the 1970s.

(At local government reorganisation in 1974, the old Scottish counties, unlike many in England and Wales, were not substituted by the Post Office, so the old county names remain correct for postal purposes.)

PA1-3 – postal address PAISLEY, Renfrewshire
PA4 – postal address RENFREW
PA5-6 – postal address JOHNSTONE, Renfrewshire
NS4863 : Paisley from Saucel Hill by Thomas Nugent NS4761 : Braehead Road by Mary and Angus Hogg NS4766 : Glasgow Airport (2) by Jim Smillie
NS5067 : Canal Street from Station Road by Thomas Nugent NS4362 : Beith Road by Thomas Nugent NS3868 : Country Road past Little Witchmoss Wood by wfmillar

PA7 – postal address BISHOPTON, Renfrewshire
PA8 – postal address ERSKINE, Renfrewshire
PA9-10 – postal address JOHNSTONE, Renfrewshire
(PA9 was HOWWOOD and PA10 was KILBARCHAN until c.1980)
NS4371 : Maxwell Road by Thomas Nugent NS4670 : Park Mains, Erskine by wfmillar NS3960 : Howwood by Richard Webb NS4063 : Weaver's Cottage, Kilbarchan by wfmillar

PA11 – postal address BRIDGE OF WEIR, Renfrewshire
PA12 – postal address LOCHWINNOCH, Renfrewshire
PA13 – postal address KILMACOLM, Renfrewshire
PA14 – postal address PORT GLASGOW, Renfrewshire
NS3865 : Main Street, Bridge of Weir by Thomas Nugent NS3558 : High Street, Lochwinnoch from The Cross by Alan Reid NS3569 : Town centre, Kilmacolm by Stephen Sweeney NS3274 : Doon The Watter - 25th June 2011 : Newark Castle and Shipyard, Port Glasgow by Richard West

PA15-16 – postal address GREENOCK, Renfrewshire
PA17 – postal address SKELMORLIE, Ayrshire
PA18 – postal address WEMYSS BAY, Renfrewshire
PA19 – postal address GOUROCK, Renfrewshire
NS2876 : Greenock Waterfront by Thomas Nugent NS2776 : View over Greenock from P&O's Adonia, docked at the Ocean Terminal - 1 by Terry Robinson NS1967 : Skelmorlie from the sea by Thomas Nugent NS1969 : Houses on Wemyss Bay Road by Thomas Nugent NS2477 : MV Jupiter in Gourock Bay by Thomas Nugent

PA20 – postal address ISLE OF BUTE
(ROTHESAY, Isle of Bute until Dec. 2000)
PA21 – postal address TIGHNABRUAICH, Argyll
PA22 – postal address COLINTRAIVE, Argyll
PA23 – postal address DUNOON, Argyll
NS0864 : Rothesay and Loch Ascog from the air by Thomas Nugent NR9772 : Tighnabruaich from Auchenlochan by Craig Paterson NS0374 : Colintraive and the Bute ferry by Oliver Dixon NS1776 : Harbour at Dunoon by Christine Matthews

PA24-27 – postal address CAIRNDOW, Argyll
(PA24 was LOCHGOILHEAD, PA25 was ST. CATHERINE'S and PA27 was STRACHUR until 1981)
NN1901 : Lochgoilhead by Richard Webb NN1207 : Jetty at St Catherine's by J M Briscoe NN1710 : Ardkinglas House, near Cairndow on Loch Fyne by Elliott Simpson NN0801 : Row of houses, Strachur by Richard Webb

PA28 – postal address CAMPBELTOWN, Argyll
PA29 – postal address TARBERT, Argyll
PA30-31 – postal address LOCHGILPHEAD, Argyll
(PA30 was ARDRISHAIG until 1981)
PA32 – postal address INVERARAY, Argyll
PA33 – postal address DALMALLY, Argyll
NR7120 : Campbeltown: Main Street by Chris Downer NR8668 : Tarbert Harbour by Mark Percy NR8585 : Crinan Canal - Lock No 1 and Ardrishaig harbour by John M
NR8687 : Lochgilphead: view from across Loch Gilp by Chris Downer NN0908 : Inveraray and Loch Fyne by Geoff Gartside NN1327 : Kilchurn castle by Dan

PA34 – postal address OBAN, Argyll
(includes the isles of Lismore, Kerrera and Luing)
PA35 – postal address TAYNUILT, Argyll
PA36 – postal address BRIDGE OF ORCHY, Argyll
PA37 – postal address OBAN, Argyll
(was CONNEL until c.1990)
PA38 – postal address APPIN, Argyll
NM8530 : Oban From The Bay by Mary and Angus Hogg NN0032 : Taynuilt: looking inland along Kelly’s Pier by Chris Downer NN2939 : Bridge of Orchy by Nigel Brown NM9134 : Connel Bridge by Alan Partridge NM9247 : Portnacroish: Castle Stalker and the hills of Mull by Chris Downer

PA41 – postal address ISLE OF GIGHA
NR6548 : Gallochoille jetty by Bob Jones

PA42-49 – postal address ISLE OF ISLAY
Until December 2000 these were:
PA42, PORT ELLEN, Isle of Islay
PA43, BOWMORE, Isle of Islay
PA44, BRIDGEND, Isle of Islay
PA45, BALLYGRANT, Isle of Islay
NR3645 : Port Ellen: Loch Leòdamais by Chris Downer NR3159 : Bowmore: Main Street by Chris Downer NR3362 : Islay House Square by Peter Church NR3966 : Ballygrant by Andrew Abbott

PA46, PORT ASKAIG, Isle of Islay (one word, PORTASKAIG, until c.1970)
PA47, PORTNAHAVEN, Isle of Islay
PA48, PORT CHARLOTTE, Isle of Islay
PA49, BRUICHLADDICH, Isle of Islay
NR4369 : Port Askaig: view from the ferry by Chris Downer NR1652 : Houses along the shore at Portnahaven by Gordon Hatton NR2558 : View of Port Charlotte by Andrew Abbott NR2661 : Bruichladdich Distillery by Andrew Wood

PA60 – postal address ISLE OF JURA
(CRAIGHOUSE, Isle of Jura until Dec. 2000)
PA61 – postal address ISLE OF COLONSAY
NR5267 : Craighouse: view over village by Chris Downer NR3993 : Isle of Colonsay: view over Scalasaig by Chris Downer

PA62-75 – postal address ISLE OF MULL
Until c.1978 these were:
PA62, LOCHBUIE, Isle of Mull
PA63, CROGGAN, Isle of Mull
PA64, LOCHDON, Isle of Mull
PA65, CRAIGNURE, Isle of Mull
NM6024 : Lochbuie by david stowe NM7027 : Croggan shore by Andy Waddington NM7233 : View over Loch Don, looking North East, Isle of Mull by Michael Jagger NM7237 : Craignure Bay by Chris McAuley

PA66, FIONNPHORT, Isle of Mull
PA67, BUNESSAN, Isle of Mull
PA68, GRIBUN, Isle of Mull
PA69, TIRORAN, Isle of Mull
PA70, PENNYGHAEL, Isle of Mull
NM3023 : Houses at Fionnphort by M J Richardson NM3821 : Bunessan beyond Loch na Lathaich by Richard Dorrell NM4534 : Balnahard and Staffa Cottage by Anne Burgess NM4928 : Old quay near Killiemore House by Bob Jones NM5126 : Pennyghael Bridge by Ian Capper

PA71, GRULINE, Isle of Mull
PA72, AROS, Isle of Mull
PA73, ULVA FERRY, Isle of Mull
PA74, TORLOISK, Isle of Mull
PA75, TOBERMORY, Isle of Mull
NM5439 : Gruline by Richard Webb NM5544 : Old bridge at Aros by Alan Stewart NM4439 : Ulva: ferry departure by Chris Downer NM4144 : Grassy Fanmore field with tilted fence by C Michael Hogan NM5055 : Tobermory: a seagull on the central pier by Chris Downer

PA76 – postal address ISLE OF IONA
PA77 – postal address ISLE OF TIREE
(SCARINISH, Isle of Tiree until Dec. 2000)
PA78 – postal address ISLE OF COLL
PA80 – postal address OBAN, Argyll
(was part of PA34 until 2009)
NM2824 : St Mary's Abbey, Iona by Karl and Ali NL9740 : View east across Tiree from Carnan Mor by iamthehughes NM2256 : Loch Eatharna by Euan Nelson NM6744 : Lochaline by Anne Burgess


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