Brits to the rescue

This is a discussion on Brits to the rescue within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Originally Posted by Beatles Help ! When I was younger, so much younger than today I never needed royal british ...

  1. #1
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    Brits to the rescue

    Quote Originally Posted by Beatles
    Help !

    When I was younger, so much younger than today
    I never needed royal british mail in any way
    But now these days are gone I'm not so self assured...

    ok, enough of that *g* As you can see, it's all about those pesky englishmen and their nutty postal system

    Admit it, who is from the UK, living there temporarily, been there on vacation or had a near-death out-of-body experience, stepped into the light and came out in an english post office ?


    In Germany, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands ( countries we are working with so far ) an address consists of streetname, housenumber ( or name ), city and zipcode. In different variants and languages. Well, enter Britain.

    In the UK, you can have a street, housenumber( or name ), city and zipcode. Plus you need a dependent city ( smaller part of the city ) if the street isn't unique to the city you gave, until it is unique to the cities you have cited. As the zipcode references less then 100 households this makes little sense, but manages to break our existing database design that would probably work for all of continental Europe

    The first question that popped up in my head is: How the hell do you get to know your own postal address ? Imagine I just moved into 1a Smith Street in London. How am I supposed to know if there is a second Smith Street in London so I can inquire about the next smallest city part I have to put onto my letter instead ?

    What is printed on your personal documents ? My passport doesn't even have a line for more than one city. To make matters worse, we got a complete telephone register from the UK... but only with the simple addresses. Without the dependant or double dependant localities or streets. Formatted just like any German or Dutch or Spanish address. Huh ?

    I have asked 4 english partners so far and as you can guess, everyone had it's own oppinion about what is needed. I even got two different answers from the royal mail, which really should know.


    So is there anyone out there who can enlight me ?

    What is really needed ?
    How do I get to know my own address, especially the dependant parts ?

    From out of the blue, we have to be ready for UK addresses by the end of the next month. So if you know anyone I can bribe or bully to change their postal system to a normal version, let me know their address ( ugh... ) I will take the next plane.
    hth
    -nv

    She was so Blonde, she spent 20 minutes looking at the orange juice can because it said "Concentrate."

    When in doubt, read the FAQ.
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    Yes, my avatar is stolen anonytmouse's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Supermassive black hole cboard_member's Avatar
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    (Most of) My address:

    2 The Crescent
    <??>
    Neath
    SA10 ???

    Very simple. Well actually, in <here> there are two number 2's in The Crescent; it goes as follows:

    1 1a 1b 2 2 2b 2c 3 4 etc

    The Welsh are strange.
    Good class architecture is not like a Swiss Army Knife; it should be more like a well balanced throwing knife.

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  4. #4
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    It's only in places like Birmingham or London that you'd need so much information in the address, due to poor, centuries old street planning.

    My address is four lines excluding my name and including the postcode.

    The thing about post codes is that they aren't being used properly in Royal Mail. Many sorting staff aren't educated well enough about them and so rely on street information before dumping mail into the "correct" pigeon-hole.

    There was a TV program on Channel 4 last week called "Third Class Post". Someone went undercover into RM in London as a postman and was told to do some shocking things with other peoples' letters.

    Royal Mail says that de-monopolization would kill them. I can only say that that would benefit the country significantly.

  5. #5
    Me -=SoKrA=-'s Avatar
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    Oh, come on, it's not that hard. Look at a map, if it says in big bold letters the name of the neghbourhood (no, they're not independent cities[2]), you're probably better off putting it. People use it as well to say, eg, where they live.
    The postcode is relatively easy, albeit a pain in the ass. The first part is the city, and the second, well, a smaller division. I'm not sure how that's calculated.

    In Germany, there is also extensive use of these neighbourhoods (Stadtteilen) even when speaking to people. When asked where you live, just answer with your Stadtteil.
    Some of them do look like independent cities[0]. Looking at the map, you'll see the name of the Stadtteil and to whom it belongs (zu xxx). The postcode changes with your Stadtteil as well, although it's not used with the mail (at least I never needed using it)

    In Spain, we also have them, but aren't used as often as in the other two countries. I've never seen them on a map.
    A postcode will tipically cover a whole city, except for small villages.
    For example, where I live (when I'm not in one of the other countries, that is) we share a postcode between three villages. This is also a pain in the ass, because many companies will not look at the name of the villa I HAVE TOLD THEM, and instead look it up in the registry.
    Of course the first name to appear (in alphabetical order) is the wrong one. Luckily the postman knows everybody and can correct. The problem comes when another form of delivery appart from Correos (y Telégrafos del Estado, the monopoly and (ex-?)government-owned company) is used, where a guy (never seen a female do this) with a Van will try to find our house.
    The postcode consists of 5 numbers. The fist two are from the province (provincia)[1], the third one is the area of said provincia (Comarca). The last two denote the city (or group of villages, as in my case).

    [0] I could describe Halle, Sachsen, but that's another rant.
    [1] Ceuta and Melilla are more-or-less independent cities and also have one each, I think.
    edit:
    [2] Although you will find signposts that say something to the effect of "You are leaving Bolton and entering Farnworth", which I found quite bizarre.

    FYI, I'm currently in England and will most likely be for the rest of the summer (he!, summer in England, like there's such a thing, I'm freezing.), have spent the last year in Germany (both freezing and melting) and usually live in Spain, where I was born (or so they tell me), where I'll spend the better part of the next two years (except when I manage to scape to Germany to visit some friends).
    Last edited by -=SoKrA=-; 07-22-2005 at 08:46 AM. Reason: Adding a bit of info
    SoKrA-BTS "Judge not the program I made, but the one I've yet to code"
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  6. #6
    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    > The first question that popped up in my head is: How the hell do you get to know your own postal address ?
    If you're buying, it's on the title deeds of the house
    If you're renting, ask the landlord.

    > due to poor, centuries old street planning.
    For example, picking two out at random, Camden and London were seperate small villages (then towns) separated by say half a day's walk. Obviously at that point, the "high street" was obviously going to be locally unique.
    A few centuries of creeping building, and all the green bits have gone. Now all those once isolated villages are merely districts or boroughs within the metropolis called Greater London.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
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    Yeah, but they could've taken the initiative when the urban sprawl wasn't quite as dense as it is now and renamed the Camden one "Camden High Street" so as to make it unique again.

    Foresight (a.k.a planning) is the method by which this would've been achieved.

  8. #8
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    I don't mind historically grown cities. We have the same "problem" in Germany. In Berlin for example exist 14 (!) Goethe streets. However, the don't share a zipcode. So the "Stadtteil" or dependent location is not postally required and never given, because city, zip and steetname is unique. In the UK, the zipcode references an even smaller area than in Germany. And yet, it obviously isn't even used properly when delivering mail, because the dependent part has to be present. Darn brits, how dare they challenging our database model

    I knew there was something wrong when the royal mail, unlike their colleagues in Germany or Spain, delivered a perfectly structured, normalized database for referencing. Best database I have seen and they aren't using it properly. How ironic is that ? Being a consultant for european postal systems must be a multi-billion dollar job. Or a good step into developing suicidal tendencies.

    The full address is probably printed on your rent contract or house deed, should have thought of that

    That newscientist helped a lot, thanks !

    The next meeting will be monday morning, I'll go get a wall to bang my head on...
    hth
    -nv

    She was so Blonde, she spent 20 minutes looking at the orange juice can because it said "Concentrate."

    When in doubt, read the FAQ.
    Then ask a smart question.

  9. #9
    Supermassive black hole cboard_member's Avatar
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    nvoigt is German?!?!?
    Good class architecture is not like a Swiss Army Knife; it should be more like a well balanced throwing knife.

    - Mike McShaffry

  10. #10
    the hat of redundancy hat nvoigt's Avatar
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    Aye, I'm a Kraut
    hth
    -nv

    She was so Blonde, she spent 20 minutes looking at the orange juice can because it said "Concentrate."

    When in doubt, read the FAQ.
    Then ask a smart question.

  11. #11
    Supermassive black hole cboard_member's Avatar
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    Cool.

    Anyone here read Masters of Doom?
    Good class architecture is not like a Swiss Army Knife; it should be more like a well balanced throwing knife.

    - Mike McShaffry

  12. #12
    It's full of stars adrianxw's Avatar
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    The house number and post code should be sufficient. When I lived in England, I had a friend post me a letter addressed to...

    10
    GU17 0PX

    ... and it did arrive. My "Full postal address" was...

    10 Maple Close,
    Blackwater,
    Camberley,
    Surrey.
    GU17 0PX

    ... although I actually lived in Darby Green, which is near Blackwater and like Blackwater, is in Hampshire, not Surrey. Camberley is in Surrey, and GU postcodes are associated with Guildford, the county town of Surrey.

    I believe the Canadian postal system is set up on the same lines. My friends in Vancouver have an equally preposterous address and cryptic post code.

    Here in Denmark it is...

    <House number> <Street Name> <Floor> <t.v. or t.h.>
    <Post number> <Post Town>

    ... works, but then we have a lot less addresses then the UK. <Floor> and <t.v. or t.h.> are only applicable in appartment buildings. In appartment buildings, we put "stairwell number" in <House number>. Floor number is obviously the floor which will be "St" for the ground floor, (stue etage), or "1" for the first floor above the "stue" etc. Each stairwell has appartments on the left, (til venstre), or right, (til højre), so the address contains tv or th.

    For houses which are not apparment blocks, the Floor and tv/th are dropped of course.
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    Your postcode is unique to your street. If I gave you 6 and my postcode you could find my exact address.

    So beaten.
    Last edited by Brian; 07-26-2005 at 11:05 AM.

  14. #14
    www.entropysink.com
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    Ditto the above.

    AFAIK any combination of house number (or name) and postcode will be unique, regardless of the size of the city.
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