London, England

Postcodes in the UK are pretty specific — a postcode such as “SE1 6AD” will often identify one or a few specific
buildings, unlike countries where a postcode represents an entire neighbourhood.

This leads to an interesting question: how short can you get an address and still have Royal Mail deliver post there?

To figure this out, I decided to find the most minimal way to write my home address, send myself a letter using that
address, and see what happens. To avoid doxxing myself, I’ve carefully changed the address readers see.

This is how I would normally write my address:

Flat 2


20 Harper Road


SE1 6AD


London

In my building, mail for all flats gets delivered to the same postbox, so we don’t need the flat part.

20 Harper Road


SE1 6AD


London

Writing “London” is also definitely not necessary — the outward code part of my postcode, “SE1”, already says
“south-eastern London”, that’s what “SE” stands for.

This leaves us with:

20 Harper Road


SE1 6AD

Can we get more minimal than this? We can — Harper Road is the only road in the “SE1 6AD” postcode, so there is no use
writing the road name.

Our final address is:

20


SE1 6AD

We can’t get the address any shorter than this, because there are multiple house numbers in my postcode, and without the
house number it would not be clear which house to deliver to. I am sure some postcodes only contain one house number, in
which case you could use just the postcode as your address, which would be quite cool. Anyway, this is good enough for
me.

I wrote myself a letter, headed to the nearest postbox, and posted it.

Me putting the letter into the postbox
Me putting the letter
into the postbox

A couple of days later, I was very happy to find this in my postbox!

The letter I received, on my desk
I got the letter!

Read More