It may not have occurred to you that the way we address letters is counterintuitive. The sequence of information is not very helpful, and a lot of it is superfluous to requirements. If you wanted to write something logical, you’d pretty much invert the running order and lop out the dead wood. Take, as an example, the following wholly fictitious address, which is based on an old rugby song.

Ms Ivy Likes

The Cock Inn

Tillit

Herts.

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At least you’re a fine upstanding citizen and have included the postcode. Though the Royal Mail has an admirable track record of delivering poorly addressed letters, in the normal course of events the postcode is what they go for. It specifically identifies a road or street and town, and in some cases identifies individual buildings. The postcode is going to be the first port of call. In that case, why do we put it at the end? It’s in entirely the wrong place.

Working on this principle, the address should start with the postcode and work down. We can also forget all the town and county malarkey, because it’s not needed on voyage, is it? Hence we should put the postcode at the top, next the number or name of the building, and finally the addressee. Thus we get to

AA11 1AA

The Cock Inn

Ms Ivy Likes

Now the postie knows exactly where he’s heading, and frankly the name of the addressee is a matter of supreme indifference to him, but is of interest to the recipient. Easypeasy.

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