§ MR. CAUSTON (Southwark, W.)
asked the Postmaster General, Whether his attention has been called to the extreme inconvenience and loss which lately resulted from the breakdown of telegraphic communication in New York; whether it is true that nearly 70 per cent of all the telegrams of the United Kingdom pass through St. Martin's-le-Grand, the apparatus being all under one roof, and that the two top floors are above the high pressure of the water mains; whether it is true that not long since the whole building was jeopardized by a fire which raged in Paternoster Row; whether consideration has been given to the great risk run by present arrangements; and, whether it is in tended to duplicate the Department on the land lately acquired in Aldersgate Street?
§ THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)
In reply to the hon. Member, I have to say that I have no official information of the inconvenience and loss which have resulted from the breakdown of telegraphic communication in New York; but I understand that the breakdown was caused by a snowstorm, which damaged the wires. About 50 per cent of the telegrams of the United Kingdom pass through the Central Telegraph Office in St. Martin's-le-Grand. Only on the top floor of that building are the fire hydrants not supplied from the street mains; they are supplied from tanks on the roof containing 28,000 gallons of water, pumped up from the artesian well on the premises. It is not true that the building was in any danger from a fire in Paternoster Row. The present arrangements have been made after mature consideration, and there is no intention to establish a duplicate Central Telegraph Office. The building, I may add, is fireproof throughout.