Return to sender

Royal Mail

This week, a Christmas card reappeared in my mailbox – a card I had sent on Dec. 3 to friends in the U.K.

Nearly two months later to the day, it was sent back with a simple “Addressee unknown,” even though the address was technically correct. The only things missing were the post code and county (but honestly, Royal Mail workers are usually amazing super sleuths. I’ve heard stories of mail getting to its correct location in the U.K. with little more than the person’s name, the house name (Brits love to name their house! Things like “Woodlynch” and “Swallow’s Peak” and really anyone can name their house anything in the world they like! Imagine that!) and the post code.

Not sure what happened this time around, but disappointing nonetheless!


Posted on 7, February 2013, in British and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. That is an incredible story, this is, after all, the Royal Mail you’re speaking about it. Check your facebook page; if those three friends have ‘defriended’ you in the last three months, then…..! 😦 Nameless houses do also pose a significant problem.

  2. We’ve noticed some weirdness with transatlantic mail recently; a few things coming in this direction have taken ages to get here. I think both the Royal Mail and USPS are in big trouble; I don’t wish them any ill, but it’s hard to see that they have a long term future…

  3. When I was 9 or 10 I used to deliver mail from my dad’s company around the town in the school holidays. Houses that had names were a pain – took ages to find them. In the end my dad and I went out one evening with a Dictaphone to record the house names in order, which my dad then typed up into a list for me.

    Also – have you ever thought it strange that in the US letters are delivered by the mailman who works for the Postal Service, and in the UK letters are delivered by the postman who works for the Royal Mail?.

    • Interesting! I wonder why the house naming thing hasn’t caught on in the U.S. I’d quite like to name my house!

      • In the US, house numbering follows a strict block-system, so it is easy to find any house number. In the UK it is much more random. Generally it is odd numbers on one side, even on the other. But no account is made for larger or smaller plot sizes, or non-building lots, or side streets so the houses on each side soon don’t tally. So 63, 65, 67 could quite easily be opposite 124, 126, 128. Then there are streets that don’t follow this pattern at all. And it’s not unusual to have some numbers omitted completely, or to have a house address on what appears to be a completely different street.

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