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Job title known

If you do not know the name of the person you are writing to, but know their job title, you can use that, e.g. The Sales Manager, The Finance Director, in the inside address.

Department known

Alternatively, you can address your letter to a particular department of the company, e.g. The Sales Department, The Accounts Department.

In both these cases an organisation name should be included as part of the address, as the address to which you are writing could be home to a several companies, situated in the same building and using a communal post room; therefore there could be several, say, personnel managers. So the correct form would be:

Mr John Smith

Personnel Manager

Avco Tools plc.

Company known

Finally, if you know nothing about the company and do not know which person or department your letter should go to, you can simply address the letter to the company itself, e.g. Compuvision Ltd, Messrs Collier, Clark & Co.

The organisation’s name should be given as the version used in your correspondent’s letterheading, including any designation of status, such as Ltdorplc. If writing to a partnership the form‘Messrs Price & Green’is correct.

Order of inside address

This should be copied carefully from the previous correspondence if available and should be the same as the address to be used on the envelope. Avoid using abbreviations for road or town names, although it is acceptable to use the standard county abbreviations. After the name of the person and/or company receiving the letter, the recommended order and style of addresses in the UK is as follows:

  1. Name of house or building. Avoid using just a house name if possible, and do not use inverted commas round house names.

  2. The house or building number (and a flat, chamber or office number if appropriate) and the name of street, road, avenue, etc. No comma is needed after the number.

  3. The village name, or a district of a town if there are several streets of the same name in a town.

  4. The postal town (officially called the post town). This is the town where letters are sorted for local delivery. The Post Town name should be given in capital letters.

  5. The county – unless the town is a major city or shares the name with the county (for example: Gloucestershire should not follow Gloucester).

  6. The postcode. This consists of two blocks of letters and numbers, the first block indicating a major area of the postal town, the second identifying the address down to a group of 15 or so houses, or even in some cases an individual firm’s offices. There should be no punctuation in postcodes.

  7. If international, the country name, in English.

Each of these parts of an address is normally given an individual line and they should be given in the order listed above. However, inside the letter the district and town names, or town and county names may share a line (separated by a comma or extra space), or, more commonly, the postal town and postcode, or county and postcode, share a line (separated by between two and six spaces).

In foreign addresses both the postal town and the county/state are usually capitalised, and zip or postal codes should always, of course, be included.

Industrial House

34-41 Craig Road


BL4 stf


In other European countries, the number of the building may be placed after the name of the street. It is also common to substitute the name of the country with an initial before the district code number. These two examples are from Italy and Germany respectively.

Facoltà di Medicina

Via Gentile 182

1-70100 Bari

Lehrschule für Bodenkunde


D-8oooo München 40

It is simplest to follow the above order and style, though variations are possible: for example the name of the county, e.g. Lancashire, may, if known, be included on the line below the name of the town or city; the postcode may be written on a separate line; the name of the town, as well as the country, may be in capital letters.

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