A few of my previous blog posts have been about quirks in the UK postal address system. As a result of these posts being moderately popular, people have contacted me to tell me about other such quirks. This pleases me greatly – I like quirks.
Also, since finding the HM Land Registry property sales data, I’ve discovered some other vaguely interesting stuff, so I thought that I’d collate all this information into one big blog post of address-based quirky goodness.
I promise this will be the last address-related thing for a while. If I discover more quirks, I’ll just edit them into this post.
PS. If you’ve not read my previous posts, The HM Land Registry property sales data is a list of most residential property sales in England and Wales since 1995. It’s not a comprehensive list of every house in the UK, so the findings below are not comprehensive.
Highest House Number
In the HM Land Registry property sales data, the highest house number is 9156, which belongs to a house near Beccles in Suffolk. However there are no other houses on the same road, nor in fact anywhere nearby, which are numbered above 2000. I assume that, in the same way that you can give your house a name, you must also be able to give it a number as a name. There can’t be any other reason why a house on a street with fewer than 10 other houses would be number 9156. Or why a house in Owls Green, a village of about 20 houses near Ipswich, would be numbered 2820 (cute).
If we only include streets where the house numbers increment more or less continuously upwards, according to the HM Land Registry there are five streets in England and Wales with legitimate house numbers above 2000 (with the number of the highest house in brackets):
- Bristol Road South, B45 9JL (2022)
- Hessle Road, HU13 9NN (2063)
- Warwick Road, B93 0EF (2111)
- Coventry Road, B26 3PX (2599)
- Stratford Road, B94 5NH (2679)
Four of these streets have Birmingham postcodes.
Anyway, it means that the highest numbered house is: 2679 Stratford Road, B94 5NH.
Lowest House Number
Yes, you heard me.
You might assume that the lowest house number would be 1, but there are quite a few houses numbered zero. Here are some (but probably not all) of them:
- 0, Victoria Road, Ellesmere Port
- 0, Hill Brow, Hove
- 0, North Castle Street, Stafford
- 0, Baker Street, Middlesbrough
- 0, Albany Street, Middlesbrough
- 0, Angle Street, Middlesbrough
- 0, Egmont Road, Middlesbrough
- 0, Roseberry Road, Middlesbrough
- 0, Sotheron Street, Goole
- 0, Coxes Road, Selsey
- Zero, Colney Heath Lane, St. Albans
- Zero, St. Andrew’s Drive, Seaford
- Zero, Greetwell Road, Lincoln
- Zero, Ash Grove, Hayward’s Heath
- Zero, Gauden Road, Lambeth
There are even some houses which go into negative numbers:
- Minus One, Kingsway, Orpington
- Minus One, College Road, Clacton-On-Sea
- Minus One, Mill Lane, Oxted, RH8 0TJ
- Minus One, Cross Road, Romford
- Minus One, Friday Street, Horsham
- Minusone, Priory Road, Newbury
There’s a good chance, however, that the lowest house number is this:
Non-integer House Numbers
The usual thing to do if you’re putting a new house in between two existing houses with consecutive numbers, is to add a letter: 10a, 17b, etc. But there are a surprising number of houses with fractions in their house numbers.
Here are some of the “halfway” houses:
- 99 & A Half, Western Road, Brighton, BN1 2AA
- 10 And A Half, Preston Park Avenue, Brighton, BN1 6HJ
- 38 & A Half, Copperkins Lane, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 5QP
- Ten & Half, Watcombe Circus, Nottingham, NG5 2DU
- One & A Half, Hamilton Drive, Nottingham, NG7 1DF
- 1 & A Half, Praeds Lane, Marazion, Penwith, Cornwall, TR17 0AT
- 19 & A Half, Old Elvet, Durham, County Durham, DH1 3HL
- 11 & A Half, Front Street, Quebec, Durham, DH7 9DF
- 44 & A Half D, Claypath, Durham, DH1 1QS
- 24 & A Half, Gilesgate, Durham, DH1 1QW
- 91 & A Half, Hawthorn House, Rothbury Road, Durham, DH1 5QE
- 3 & Half, St Martins Lane, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1UD
- 44 & A Half, The Mint, Rye, Rother, East Sussex, TN31 7EN
- Five & A Half, Albion Hill, Loughton, Epping Forest, Essex, IG10 4RA
- Three & Half, Weeley Road, Great Bentley, Colchester, Tendring, Essex, CO7 8ND
- 13 & A Half, Spaniards End, Barnet, Greater London, NW3 7JG
- 60 & A Half, Scotts Lane, Bromley, Greater London, BR2 0LX
- 2 & A Half, Edward Road, Biggin Hill, Westerham, Bromley, Greater London, TN16 3HL
- Two & A Half, Ospringe Road, Camden, Greater London, NW5 2JE
- One And A Half, Woodchurch Road, Camden, Greater London, NW6 3PL
- 12 & A Half, St Vincent Street, City Of Westminster, Greater London, W1U 4DE
- One & A Half, Fairdene Road, Coulsdon, Croydon, Greater London, CR5 1RD
- 68 & A Half, Sandringham Road, Hackney, Greater London, E8 2LL
- 1 1/2, Disbrowe Road, Hammersmith And Fulham, Greater London, W6 8QG
- 34 & A Half, Clarence Road, Wood Green, Haringey, Greater London, N22 8PL
- 15 & A Half, Jacksons Lane, Haringey, Greater London, N6 5SR
- Fifty Two & A Half, Arundel Drive, Harrow, Greater London, HA2 8PR
- 21 & A Half, Carnforth Gardens, Hornchurch, Havering, Greater London, RM12 5DJ
- 18 & A Half, Sekforde Street, Islington, Greater London, EC1R 0HL
- 18 & A Half, Cloudesley Square, Islington, Greater London, N1 0HN
- 24 And A Half, Richmond Crescent, Islington, Greater London, N1 0LZ
- 6 & A Half, Yeate Street, Islington, Greater London, N1 3EW
- 64 & A Half, Englefield Road, Islington, Greater London, N1 3LG
- 65 And A Half, Northchurch Road, Islington, Greater London, N1 3NU
- 73 And A Half, Northchurch Road, Islington, Greater London, N1 3NU
- 27 And A Half, Gerrard Road, Islington, Greater London, N1 8AY
- 30 & A Half, Cheverton Road, Islington, Greater London, N19 3AY
- The Red House 32 & A Half, Bickerton Road, Islington, Greater London, N19 5JS
- 1 & A Half, Manor Mount, Lewisham, Greater London, SE23 3PY
- 25 & A Half, Wickham Road, Lewisham, Greater London, SE4 1PL
- 53 & A Half, Tressillian Road, Lewisham, Greater London, SE4 1YA
- 40 & A Half, Valmar Road, Southwark, Greater London, SE5 9NG
- 136 & A Half, Narrow Street, Tower Hamlets, Greater London, E14 8BP
- 45 & A Half, Hazlewell Road, Wandsworth, Greater London, SW15 6LS
- 1 & A Half, Linden Avenue, Old Basing, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG24 7HG
- 8 And A Half, Bank Street, Bishops Waltham, Southampton, Hampshire, SO32 1AN
- 30 & A Half, Fordington Avenue, Winchester, Hampshire, SO22 5AW
- 27 & A Half, St Swithun Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 9HU
- Beechbrook 16 & A Half, Colebrook Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 9LH
- 27 & A Half, Court Chambers, Friar Lane, Leicester, LE1 5RB
- 48 & A Half, Wolverton Road, Leicester, LE3 2AH
- 1 & A Half, Oakley Road, Leicester, LE5 3NJ
- Forty Seven & A Half, Cambridge Road, Cosby, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE9 1SJ
- 31 & A Half, Hungate, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN1 1ET
- 33 & A Half, Hungate, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN1 1ET
- 60 & A Half, Bailgate, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN1 3AR
- 19 And A Half, St Josephs Way, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG3 6HN
- Two & A Half, Faringdon Road, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX13 5BH
- 81 & A Half, Marmion Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, PO5 2AX
- 2 & A Half, Portland Street, Southampton, SO14 7EB
- Six & A Half, Fen Street, Hopton, Diss, Suffolk, IP22 2RF
- Six & A Half, Westbury Street, Sunderland, Tyne And Wear, SR4 6EF
- 75 & A Half, Roker Avenue, Tyne And Wear, SR6 0HP
- 12 & A Half, Old Place, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, PO21 3AU
- 6.5, St Peter’s Grove, York, YO30 6AQ
Likewise, the house marked with the purple arrow has the name Windsor Cottage on its name plate, but again it seems that officially it is 1¼.
There’s also 1¼ Woodchurch Road, Camden, London.
And on the High Street, Earl Shilton, Leicestershire, there are five consecutive houses which are numbered: 75, 75a, 75b, 75½, 75¾
Weird Numbering Schemes
The widely stated ‘fact’ that all you need to provide is a house number and postcode for your post to reach the right address is not always true. There are many instances of different buildings having the same number and postcode. For example…
- 1-4 Jubilee Cottages, Warwick Road, B94 6AZ and 1-4 Cedar Cottages, Warwick Road, B94 6AZ
- 1-3 Weymouth Street, BA1 6AG and 1-3 Riverside Mews, Weymouth Street, BA1 6AG, and 1-3 Weymouth Court, Weymouth Street, BA1 6AG
- 1 The Chase, HA5 5QP and 1 Rose Cottages, The Chase, HA5 5QP and 1 Park Cottages, The Chase, HA5 5QP and 1 Leamington Cottages, The Chase, HA5 5QP
The postcode CV12 8UE seems to cover Gatehouse Lane, Emes Walk, Bucklers Yard, Homers Yard, Lye Corner, Sleets Yard, and Old Penns Yard – which all share house numbers in various combinations. This must be super confusing – I can’t work out where most of these are on a map!
They all appear in the Royal Mail’s address finder.
The postcode HD7 5UZ in Huddersfield also covers about seven different roads.
Dual Named Streets
Those streets have a tiny barrier down the middle, making them dual carriageways, but Shay went one better with two streets in Gateshead where each side of a single-carriageway road has a different name. Cambridge Terrace / Oxford Terrace and Ashgrove Terrace / Richmond Terrace. The second of these has separate sets of numbers on each side of the street, so 1 Richmond Terrace faces 1 Ashgrove Terrace, on the same road. Some of the mapping sites struggle with this, just showing one of the names.
Scotty points out a similar thing with Queen Street / Grosvenor Terrace in Carlin How, North Yorkshire – except in this case both sides of the street have matching sets of only even numbers. Google Maps has transferred the name Grosvenor Terrace to the back-alley running behind the houses.
A similar thing also exists with St Marks Road / Vine Place in Ealing, West London. St Marks Road seems to have been given dominance on the road sign, but Google Maps calls them Vine Place. Again, each side of the road has its own set of numbers.
There’s also Croft Parade / Croft Avenue in Cheltenham, each with its own set of numbers. About halfway down the street both sides become Croft Gardens.
Anthony notes that the houses on the west side of Lainey’s Close, Marlborough SN8 1BS, actually have the address Chiminage Close, which is a road running to the north. On one map I found, and in fact in real life as well, it looks as if Chiminage Close extends round and becomes the pavement of Lainey’s Close!
Ralf points out a strange phenomenon in Stevenage where entire estates, including the main road and all the spur roads, share the same name. So there’s Wisden Road, Jessop Road, Archer Road, Ripon Road, and others.
There are over 600 streets called The Street, and over 400 called New Street. There are almost 1000 roads called New Road, but oddly not a single road just called The Road.
In Cumbria there is a road simply called Street.
There are almost 2500 streets called High Street, and many more which are <name of town> High Street, but there are only 59 streets named Low Street!
Apparently, the shortest address in Royal Mail’s address database is:
Elba, Duns, TD11 3RY
The longest address in their database is on the Isle Of Man, so not actually in the UK. It’s a government department where two thirds of the address is just the name of the department and the building it’s in.
There are at least three celebrities who have been named after UK streets:
Single Word Roadnames
And finally, inspired by Paul’s comment, I took a list of single-word streetnames, and cross-referenced it with the SOWPODS Scrabble dictionary to find a list of street names which are real words. Here are just a few of the most random ones…
Fairyland, Chemistry, Tweed, Football, Solid, Dolphins, Goldilocks, Playground, Hobgoblin, Countryside, Dart, Badgers, Panorama, Antlers, Chapter, Dungeon, Loan, Bohemia, Flush, Groats, Hide, Jesters, Valentines, Drawback, Sixpence, Viking, Side, Paris, Equilibrium, Liberty, Tranquility, Butts, Butts, Butts, Bottoms, Bottoms, Sprays, Swallows, Butts.