HC Deb 09 April 1889 vol 335 cc15-6
MR. PROVAND (Glasgow, Blackfriars, &c.)

I wish to ask the Postmaster General if it is the case that, while in the Post Office, directories may be referred to by the clerks in cases of insufficiently addressed letters, postcards, or newspapers, in Telegraph Offices the clerks are forbidden to refer to directories in cases of insufficiently addressed telegrams, the owners of which cannot be found; and, whether he will explain the reason for the different treatment of mail matter and telegrams?


At page 310 of the Post Office Guide, paragraph 46, the public are informed that the addresses of telegrams should be sufficiently full to enable the Department to effect delivery without difficulty and without reference to directories. The distinction between letters and telegrams is that insufficiently addressed letters can be set aside for search to be made in a directory without their being appreciably delayed or the general treatment of the mails interfered with, whereas telegrams cannot be carried to directories without delay to themselves and also to those which have been fully addressed by the senders. Perhaps I may point out that the sender of a letter has no inducement to shorten the address, and is therefore supposed to do his best; whereas experience shows that the addresses of telegrams are purposely shortened to save expense. I have, however, given orders that, where a sender of a telegram has obviously done his best the Directory is to be searched to complete the address and every effort made to deliver the message. If instructions were given that Directories were to be searched in every case, I fear that telegrams generally would be insufficiently addressed, and that great delay would result to the senders as well as additional expense and loss of revenue to the Post Office.