Vehicle Registration Number Area Codes and Format - Prior to September 2001
1903 - First series of number plates was issued, consisting of a one or two letter code followed by numbers from 1 to 9999.
The one or two letter codes indicated the local authority in whose area the vehicle was registered. The 1901 census was initially used to allocate these in order of the population size in England and Wales (ie A = London, B= Lancashire etc)
The year below indicates the year the one letter codes were used up,
A - London - 1905 B - Lancashire - 1919 C - Yorkshire - 1912
D - Kent - 1913 E - Staffordshire - 1925 F - Essex - 1915
G - Glasgow - 1921 H- Middlesex - 1912 J - Durham - 1922
K - Liverpool - 1914 L - Glamorgan - 1921 M - Cheshire - 1919
N - Manchester - 1913 O - Birmingham - 1913 P - Surrey - 1913
R - Derbyshire - 1923 S - Edinburgh - 1920 T - Devon - 1920
U - Leeds - 1921 V - Lanarkshire - 1922 W - Sheffield - 1919
X - Northimberland - 1921 Y - Somerset - 1921
The two letter codes then followed.
These area codes were used up until the change in 2001 to the current format.
As can be seen in the tables below, some of the two letter area codes did change to different areas. Most of the changes appeared to take place in 1963, 1974, 1980 and 1981.
All of the information has been obtained from the DVLA and other internet sources. All of the information is believed to accurate. If you believe that any of the information is incorrect, or you can give us additional information to add, please contact us.
The number plate above 'CDE 1' would have been issued in Haverfordwest.
The 'DE' letters identify this.
The above two plates are similar, but the plate on the left would have been issued between February 1963 and December 1963. The plate on the right would have been issued between August 1983 and July 1984.
Both would have been issued in Leicester. The second and third letters - 'BC' identifies this.
This number has one letter code.
The 'L' indicates that it was issued in Glamorganshire
This number plate was randomly selected to use. If it is yours and you would like
us to remove it, please let us know.
These number plates were randomly selected to use. If any of them are yours and you would like us to remove it, please let us know.