HC Deb 16 March 1893 vol 10 cc239-40
MR. SCOTT MONTAGU (Hants, New Forest)

I beg to ask the Postmaster General if he could state to the House how many times during the last year mails were unable to be embarked or disembarked at Queenstown owing to stress of weather, and also at Plymouth, and what approximate delay was occasioned by the mail vessels being obliged to proceed to the next ports; and whether any such delays have ever arisen at Southampton in connection with embarking or disembarking the mails?


May I also ask whether, in comparing the relative merits of the two ports—Queens-town and Southampton—he will inquire, as far as Southampton is concerned, how many times the mails have been delayed by fogs in the Channel?


I will inquire as to that. In reply to the question on the Paper, I have to say that there was only one instance in which an outward steamer was prevented by stress of weather from calling at Queenstown. The mail which she should have taken is computed to have lost nearly five days by having to wait for the next steamer. There were five occasions on which homeward steamers were prevented by the same cause from landing mails at Queenstown. The effect of this was not the same for all destinations. Some letters were delayed, while others gained considerably. No similar case is on record in connection with mails intended to be landed or embarked at Southampton or Plymouth.


I beg to ask the Postmaster General if he could state to the House what is the quickest time on record for the delivery of mails from the General Post Office, New York, to the General Post Office, London, viâ Queenstown and viâ Southampton respectively?


The best information which I can give the hon. Member on the subject of these passages is to be found in the Return moved for by the hon. Member for Dundee for throe consecutive years. The Return for 1892 will shortly be laid before Parliament. The transit times, however, are taken from embarkation at the port of departure to receipt by the Post Office at the port of arrival. I have no record of the transit times from the New York Post Office to that of London.