Saturday 24 January 2009

Royal Mail or royal fail?

We've been chasing post boxes again, using the list from Royal Mail to help us find the boxes. To avoid issues with copying the list, I only put post boxes on the map that I've found, and only add its reference code if I saw it at the time, usually because we photograph the front panel.

The Royal Mail list just gets worse. If this is an example of their understanding of addresses in the UK then it's a surprise anything gets delivered. Of course, if they have a perfectly good list and they sent a poor one out in response to an FOI request then the Information Commissioner might take a very dim view of that. My previous dealing with the ICO make me believe they have teeth and like to use them.

We have chased down some of the boxes in HU15, but only through local knowledge and guesswork. The best mistake is a box in HU15 labelled as West End Cottingham. Cottingham is in HU16. There is a box in West End, South Cave in HU15, which is correctly placed in the list with its correct reference code (HU15 8). There is a West End Road in Cottingham, which does have a post box on it and is on the HU16 list, but the post code for the box MUST be wrong because all of the Cottingham area have a post code HU16 4xx or HU16 5xx yet this box is HU16 2EX. The box in West End, South Cave has a code HU15 2EX, which I estimate to be correct. If you're confused, you try to work it out (hint three entries for two boxes and the post codes are mixed up).

The HU15 area covers about 35 square km, being about 12 km between its furthest points. It covers twelve villages and yet five of the descriptions for the location of the box is a single road name. One of the descriptions is Ring Beck, South Cave but the box is on Ring Beck Lane in Ellerker. The best bit is that we haven't finished HU15 yet, oh well ....


Anonymous said...

You should hang around collection time and 'happen to be' passing the box when the van pulls up. Say hi to the worker and ask if he had trouble finding postboxes when first starting the round.

It may be that his first trip was done with someone who already knew the round.
It may be that he says, oh it was easy with detailed instructions of a route to take. (in which case, additional FOI request, or report to the ICO!).

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of my adventure in matching Canadian postal codes to surveyed community mail boxes in Saint-Émile. My conclusion was that clearly the boxes in the new estate north of my home matched more than one post code (although I was able to match those south of my home with surprising precision, in fact the postcodes revealed several that I had at first missed),