Why is SW5 so small?

Andy Wardley abw at wardley.org
Fri Aug 15 07:26:26 BST 2008

Kake L Pugh pondered thusly:
> It's tiny.  Why is it so small?  It's not like it's densely populated
> or anything.

I guess it's because Earls Court was one of the more densely populated areas
of London in the latter half of the 19th century when the postcodes were first

Wikipedia says (so it must be true):

     The construction of the Metropolitan District Railway station, in 1865-9,
     was a catalyst for development. In the quarter century after 1867 Earl's
     Court was transformed into a densely populated suburb with 1,200 houses
     and two churches

The London postal codes were introduced in 1857 and reformed several times
over the next few decades.  By the end of WW1, they were pretty much fixed.

Apparently SW5 has a current population of just under 10k, while the much
larger SE1 has a population of 55k.  Given the relative sizes, SW5 is
certainly more densely populated (to look at just one example that WP
happened to have the figures for).


The UK census information is available online from the Office of National


I'm sure they must have a chart or table somewhere that lists population by
postcode, but it's probably buried 17 layers deep on their web site and I
can't find it.

I bet it wouldn't be too hard to write a Perl program to parse the census
data and generate a population density per-postcode chart....

(Just in case anyone out there has nothing better to do today :-)

Do I win SW5 pounds?


More information about the london.pm mailing list