HC Deb 06 August 1850 vol 113 cc885-8

rose to call attention to the great public inconvenience caused by the present mode of transmitting the mails between Dublin and London. At present, the mails left daily between Dublin and London. One left Kingstown at 12 o'clock in the morning, and the other at half-past 7 in the evening. It was to the latter that he wished to call attention. The time was seventeen and a half hours, and he thought it possible that the transmission might take place in fourteen and a half hours, being a saving of three hours. In support of that assertion, he might state that the mail which left Euston-square station at 5 o'clock in the afternoon reached Kingstown Harbour at 6 o'clock the following morning, being a period of thirteen hours. If that could be done between London and Dublin, he did not see why it should not be done between Dublin and London. He had felt it to be his duty to bring the matter under the consideration of the noble Lord at the head of the Post Office department; but although he (Mr. Reynolds) succeeded in proving that a substantial grievance existed, and the noble Lord expressed his willingness to apply a remedy, it appeared that the noble Lord worked with such imperfect machinery that he was unable to control it. He would now show the manner in which the time occupied between Dublin and London was taken up. The departure took place at half-past seven o'clock, and five hours forty minutes were allowed for crossing between Holyhead and Dublin. Twenty minutes were allowed for landing the mails, making six hours as the time occupied in crossing the Channel. There was a margin allowed at Holyhead for irregularities in the arrival of the packets; and the mail did not start from that point till two o'clock in the morning. The train arrived at Chester at forty minutes past four o'clock, where the mails were detained one hour and fifty minutes. The train again started at half-past six o'clock, and arrived at London at one o'clock. This was equal to seventeen hours London time. He was prepared to propose a plan by which the mail would arrive at a quarter past ten in the morning, thus enabling a delivery of Irish letters to take place at twelve o'clock, and not at half-past four or five o'clock, as at present. From Kingstown the departure should be at five minutes past seven (equal to half-past seven English time); five and a half hours should be allowed for crossing; twenty minutes allowed for the landing at Holyhead. The train should start at twenty minutes past one o'clock, and it would be due at Chester at four o'clock. On arriving at that point, there ought to be no delay; but the mail should proceed to Blisworth, and then to London, where the arrival would be at a quarter past ten o'clock. This would enable letters to be answered the same evening by the nine o'clock express train. He understood that the cause of the detention at Chester was for the accommodation of Liverpool and the northern parts of England. He would do as much as any man to serve a neighbour, but he could not go so far as to sacrifice the correspondence with Ireland for the sake of accommodating the people of Liverpool, and of the north of England. The delay at Chester would be removed were the Government to incur the expense of a special train between that town and Blisworth; and he thought that ought to be done. He should conclude by moving for a copy "of any Regulations which may have been made by the Postmaster General relating to the Transmission of the Mails between London and Dublin."


said, that the present arrangements had been adopted upon the most mature and impartial consideration of the best mode of balancing different conveniences and inconveniences. There could be no question that the facilitation of communication between London and Dublin was a very important object; but, on the other hand, the suggestion of the hon. Gentleman would involve considerable expenditure. The Postmaster General, however, would, he was sure, continue to pay the closest attention to the subject, and be ready to adopt any practicable improvement.


expressed a hope that the improvement would be brought into effect at the earliest possible moment, for the present arrangements were most embarrassing to Irish correspondents.


said, that even if the mails were transmitted more rapidly from Dublin to London, it would be impossible to deliver them any sooner than at present, except by an entire reconstruction of the sorting arrangements. The letters from Dublin were delivered at the same time with letters from the north of England and Scotland.


said, it would be a very great convenience to have an intermediate mail from Dublin, enabling persons who had received letters from London by the five o'clock mail from that city to despatch the business to which they referred and return an answer accordingly, without having a whole day's delay intervene.


concurred in the statement that the present arrangements with reference to Chester were most inconvenient.


said, it was absurdly incongruous on the part of a Government which had only the other day justified the withdrawal of the Lord Lieutenant from Dublin on the specific ground of having established a more rapid communication between the two capitals, to permit the subordinates of the Post Office actually to impede that communication by their bungling arrangements.


said, if the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Mayor had just cause of complaint at the great public inconvenience caused by the present mode of transmitting Her Majesty's mails between Dublin and London, how much more legitimate cause of complaint had they in the south of Ireland? After the arrival of the mails in Dublin, they were uselessly detained for four or five hours in the post-office there; and he almost doubted if his assertion would gain credence in the House, when he said a passenger coming from Holyhead in the same boat that conveyed the mails could actually reach the south of Ireland thirteen hours before the letters. He need not say any more to impress the House with the conviction that an alteration of such an evil was necessary.

Motion agreed to.