HC Deb 28 February 1896 vol 37 cc1377-8

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that in the autumn of last year the Post Office authorities informed Messrs. Charles Letts and Co. that a pocket book, with a pencil attached by means of a sheath or loop running outside down the back, could be sent by pattern post in response to an order; whether large numbers of such pocket-books were so sent, but that the officials stopped and surcharged several of these books because the covers had been inadvertently marked "B post" (for book post); whether, for many years, publishers of pocket-books had been allowed to send tuck diaries, containing a pencil in the bend of the tuck, by book post; and whether, having regard to the wording of the pattern post and book post regulations respectively, and the fact that the pencil is in many cases specially prepared for writing on the paper of the book, he will in future allow such a book, fitted with pencil, to be transmitted by book post?


Messrs. Letts and Co. were no doubt informed that a pocket-book with a pencil attached could be sent by pattern post, but strictly as a pattern and not in fulfilment of an order. If any of the packets were marked "Book post" the inference would be that they were not sent as samples, and they would then be correctly surcharged. Pencils or other writing materials, even when attached to a book, do not come within the definition of a book-packet, but packets of the kind may have escaped the notice of the taxing officers. The Postmaster General cannot see his way to allow pencils or other writing materials to pass by book post.