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UK Registration Plates

UK Registration Plates

The first registration marks were made up of one letter with one number, the first (A1) being issued by London County Council in 1903.

Later formats were comprised of two letters and four numbers. These series were replaced as and when they were exhausted. So, whilst the Liverpool series KA lasted for only two years between 1925 and 1927, the series SJ was still being issued by Bute Council in 1963.

By the mid 1930s, the two letter/four number series of registration marks were exhausted in some areas, and new three letter/three number series were introduced. AAA 1 was issued (by Hampshire County Council) in 1934 through to AAA 999 and the commencement of the BAA series in 1936.

3 letters 3 numbers.jpg

This process continued until the mid 1950s when marks were reversed to three numbers/three letters.

3numbers3letters.jpg


Suffix letters (1963-1983)

Between 1963 and 1965 councils began to issue "suffix" registration marks - three letter/three numbers and a year suffix. The registration year ran from 1 January - 31 December until 1967, when the suffix change was moved to 1 August.

Up to 1st January 1975, vehicles were fitted with number plates with the Black background with silver letters.

Black Suffix.png

From the 1st January 1975 the White or Yellow background with black letters came into force, as below, no vehicle after this year can legally use the black background plates in the UK.

suffix Number Plate.jpg



A February 1963 to December 1963
B January 1964 to December 1964
C January 1965 to December 1965
D January 1966 to December 1966
E January 1967 to July 1967
F August 1967 to July 1968
G August 1968 to July 1969
H August 1969 to July 1970
J August 1970 to July 1971
K August 1971 to July 1972
L August 1972 to July 1973
M August 1973 to July 1974
N August 1974 to July 1975
P August 1975 to July 1976
R August 1976 to July 1977
S August 1977 to July 1978
T August 1978 to July 1979
V August 1979 to July 1980
W August 1980 to July 1981
X August 1981 to July 1982
Y August 1982 to July 1983

Old style prefix letters (1983 to 2001)

NumberPlateDimensions Prefix.gif

A August 1983 to July 1984
B August 1984 to July 1985
C August 1985 to July 1986
D August 1986 to July 1987
E August 1987 to July 1988
F August 1988 to July 1989
G August 1989 to July 1990
H August 1990 to July 1991
J August 1991 to July 1992
K August 1992 to July 1993
L August 1993 to July 1994
M August 1994 to July 1995
N August 1995 to July 1996
P August 1996 to July 1997
R August 1997 to July 1998
S August 1998 to February 1999
T March 1999 to August 1999
V September 1999 to February 2000
W March 2000 to August 2000
X September 2000 to February 2001
Y March 2001 to August 2001

Note: ‘Q’ plates are issued to vehicles of indeterminable age, e.g. kit conversion vehicles which are built of major components from more than one donor vehicle, or imported vehicles where the date of first registration cannot be established.

New style prefix letters (2001 to date)

example.jpg

Local Memory Tag
The first two letters of the current registration mark format form a local memory tag showing the region where a vehicle is first registered. These local memory tags are designed to help with the recall of number plates and the identification of vehicles. The letters I, Q and Z are not used in the Local Memory Tag. The first letter represents the region, the second letter relates to a DVLA Local Office. In the example above ‘AB’ shows that the vehicle was first registered in Anglia (A) at the Peterborough office (B).

Age Identifier
The two numbers indicate the age of the vehicle (see table below). In the example above ‘51’ represents the 6 month period from September 2001 to February 2002.

Random Letters
The last three letters give a unique identity to a vehicle. Letters ‘I’ and ‘Q’ along with letter combinations that may be considered offensive, are not used. However the letter ‘Z’ is used in this element of the number plate.

51 September 2001 to February 2002
02 March 2002 to August 2002
52 September 2002 to February 2003
03 March 2003 to August 2003
53 September 2003 to February 2004
04 March 2004 to August 2004
54 September 2004 to February 2005
05 March 2005 to August 2005
55 September 2005 to February 2006
06 March 2006 to August 2006
56 September 2006 to February 2007
07 March 2007 to August 2007
57 September 2007 to February 2008
08 March 2008 to August 2008
58 September 2008 to February 2009
09 March 2009 to August 2009
59 September 2009 to February 2010
10 March 2010 to August 2010
60 September 2010 to February 2011
11 March 2011 to August 2011
61 September 2011 to February 2012
12 March 2012 to August 2012
62 September 2012 to February 2013
13 March 2013 to August 2013
63 September 2013 to February 2014
14 March 2014 to August 2014
64 September 2014 to February 2015
15 March 2015 to August 2015
65 September 2015 to February 2016
16 March 2016 to August 2016
66 September 2016 to February 2017
17 March 2017 to August 2017
67 September 2017 to February 2018
18 March 2018 to August 2018
68 September 2018 to February 2019

Military Plates

The armed services have there own number plate system consisting of either two letters, two numbers and two letters as below, or two numbers, two letters and two numbers. These will be white/silver on a black background as below. These are not legal for use on any civilian owned vehicle, though often at shows owners will display show plates.

Military Numberplates.jpg
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