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I'm Confused.com: Why are house numbers even on one side of the road, odd on the other?

A colourful display of house numbers

Q: Why are house numbers odd on one side of the road, and even on the other?

A: Well, they aren’t always. But where they are, odd numbers tend to be on the left as you face away from the nearest town centre. And the numbers go up the further from the town centre you get.

And how is a town centre defined? Well, in this instance, it’s the location of the post office. So effectively this system makes things easier for the posties when they’re out on their rounds.

But wait... What about streets which go in sequence?

There are, of course, streets where the numbers go up sequentially on one side, and come back down on the other side. Downing Street is one example. And house numbers tend to go up clockwise around squares.

The problem for sequential streets is: what happens if planners wish to extend them? When house numbers are odd on one side and even on the other, the solution is simple.

Fun Fact: Some streets even have a missing number 13, thanks to triskaidekaphobic* local authorities.

Is your thirst for knowledge not yet quenched? Check out this article to find out Britain’s unluckiest house number.

Do you have any issues you're Confused.com about? We want to hear from you. Perhaps you want to know why bubbles are round? Maybe you want a definitive answer as to whether the chicken or the egg came first? Send your questions to iwantanswers@confused.com.

*Keep an eye peeled for the future I’m Confused.com answer to the question ‘Is the number 13 really unlucky?’ (Plot spoiler: it isn’t.)



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Owe Carter

Owe Carter

Owe Carter has been a consumer interest writer for Confused.com since 2007. His career as a scribe began in local press, which saw him hunting ghosts, taking challenges from readers, living as B.A. Baracus for a week, and seeking out Pembrokeshire’s happiest dog.

Twitter: @ConfusedOwe
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