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Entries / Address System (general article)

Address System (general article)

Categories / City Administration/Administrative-territorial Division

ADDRESS SYSTEM, the system of giving addresses to city objects and registration of city buildings and citizens. From the beginning of the 18th century, registration of citizens and gathering information about those entering the city was done by the police. The houses were named after surnames of their owners or after neighbouring objects, with indication of the police unit (Admiralteiskaya, Liteinaya, Vasilievskaya etc.). The majority of streets had no names. In 1768 Empress Catherine II gave an order to give names to all the streets of St. Petersburg and to hang special plates with street names. After the introduction of City regulations of 1782 continuous numeration of houses and land sections was initiated in St. Petersburg (with the exception of regiment settlements on the outskirts). In 1791 there were houses with numbers from 1 to 4554 in St. Petersburg. Tin tablets with the number were fixed over the gates. At the beginning of the 19th century houses were numbered also in every police unit separately, but with taking in account the number of the land plot section. In 1834 houses in St. Petersburg got the continuous unified numeration (numbers began from major waterways); even numbers were on the right side of the street, odd numbers - on the left side. In 1836, numeration on the basis of 11 police units was initiated. The houses received two numbers: "the police number" and "the city number". In 1858, even and odd sides of the streets were changed around. The tradition of indicating the address by the surname of the house-owner and of the closest reference point survived up to the middle of the 19th century (for example, through the late1830s the house of V. V. Engelgardt was indicated as located “near Kazansky Bridge.” With the purpose of registering citizens in the 1830s, the Address Office was established. The office had existed up till 1917; at the end of the 19th - early 20th centuries it was located at 58 Sadovaya Street). The Address Bureau, which gave residence permits to people coming to St. Petersburg was also incorporated in the Address system (it was set up in 1809; from 1839 it was called the Address Dispatch Office). In 1879 obligatory police registration for citizens was introduced in the city. Numeration was put in order many times. As a rule it was land sections that got the number (for example, the Trade House of the Guards' Society, known today as the House of Leningrad Trade, at the end of the 19th century was located in sections 21 and 23 in Bolshaya Konyushennaya Street). At the end of the 19th century during construction of a new building in the street or when neglected grounds appeared, they were numbered with "letters" ("А", "Б" etc.). In 1887 double numbers of buildings and grounds were abolished. After 1917, the previous Address system was retained, numeration of reconstructed buildings was changed (Chkalovsky Avenue, Murinsky Avenue, etc.). The continuous numeration of flats along with the number of the house was used in addresses of new housing areas. Before the 1960s, the system of "letters" was used for new buildings. In the 1960s the "section" system of numeration was introduced (buildings situated behind the building facing the street were numerated as sections of the main or “senior” building), yet “letters" are still being used today. In the 1920s, registration of citizens at a certain address was introduced in Leningrad that limited the mobility of residents and made it difficult for non-residents to settle in the city. From the end of the 1940s Leningrad became the city of "closed residence permits" (a permission of highest authorities was necessary for getting the residence permit). From 1991, the so-called registration of citizens was introduced, and it became easier to settle in the city.

Reference: Высоцкий И. П. Санкт-Петербургская столичная полиция и градоначальство, 1703-1903: Краткий ист. очерк. СПб., 1903. С. 84-85.

Y. N. Kruzhnov.

Catherine II, Empress
Engelgardt Vasily Vasilievich

2nd Murinsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Chkalovsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Sadovaya St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 58

Высоцкий И. П. Санкт-Петербургская столичная полиция и градоначальство, 1703-1903: Крат. ист. очерк. СПб., 1903