Royal mail provides detailed address data for the UK in a format called PAF. You can download sample PAF data here.

Most of the field definitions can be found in the official documentation here, but when you download the actual data, there are four extra fields on the end of each line, which are not defined. The screenshot below is from the publically available PAF sample data:

Screenshot from Royal Mail Sample Data showing extra four fields

What are these four fields (Thing One, Thing Two, Thing Three, & Thing Four) used for?

  • 1
    Are those field names ("Thing One" etc) in the header of the CSV? – Spacedman Mar 17 '19 at 19:17
  • The columns don't have names in the CSV, I named them based off the documentation, and added placeholders for the four unknowns. @Spacedman – LittleDude Apr 27 '19 at 11:20
  • 3
    Have you considered contacting the data provider? They should correct either the documentation or the data. – Mike T Apr 29 '19 at 22:40

I contacted Royal Mail about this, the additional fields (in order are):

  1. Address Key
  2. Organisation Key
  3. Number of Households
  4. Locality Key

More information about Address and Organisation Keys can be found in the “Structure of the PAF® database” section of the Programmers Guide (page 22) at https://www.poweredbypaf.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Latest-Programmers_guide_Edition-7-Version-6.pdf.

Number of Households field contains multi-occupancy information. When equal to one it indicates that there is one household at the address, when greater than one the field contains the number of households present

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