HC Deb 11 March 1886 vol 303 c434
SIR RICHARD PAGET (Somerset, Wells)

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether he will be good enough to arrange with the Meteorological Council of the Royal Society, for the transmission daily to the General Post Office, of weather forecasts; if he will then cause so much of such forecasts to be telegraphed daily to every Postal Telegraph Station in the United Kingdom as is applicable to the district in which the station is situated; and, if he will further issue instructions, that such forecasts shall be posted up daily, in a conspicuous position outside the several stations, so as to be available for general information in the respective localities?


This matter of forecasts of the weather by Postal Telegraph was very carefully considered by Mr. Fawcett, who, on several occasions, in reply to Questions in this House, explained that it was not possible for the Post Office to distribute weather forecasts, either gratuitously or otherwise; because, if the Post Office became a purveyor of news, it would be acting in opposition to the understanding under which the Telegraph Acts were passed. It was contemplated that the Post Office should confine itself to the transmission of telegrams. Mr. Fawcett pointed out, at the same time, that the desired object might easily be secured, because the Meteorological Office is willing to supply the forecasts at a nominal charge to anyone who is willing to pay the expense of telegraphing, which need scarcely be more than 6d. for each message. If the persons interested in forecasts in each town or district jointly subscribed, the expense to each would be inconsiderable. To the exhibition of forecasts at the local post offices there is no objection, provided space is available, if the persons to whom the telegrams are addressed desire them to be so exhibited instead of being delivered.