HC Deb 19 June 1896 vol 41 cc1428-9

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General—(1) whether, while five figures, as for instance 55555, can be telegraphed as one word, 5a is counted as two words, and a/c or c/o as one word; (2) whether M.P. in capitals is charged for as two words, but m.p. if written in small letters as one word; and, (3) whether, as Charing Cross is still charged for as two words, De Vere Gardens as three words, and De la Rue as one word, he will now reconsider the rule he has laid down on the subject, and charge compound words of names of places as one word?


The answer to the first paragraph of the hon. Member's Question is in the affirmative. The assumption in the second paragraph is incorrect, "M.P." even if written in small letters, would be charged as two words in the address. The statement that "De Vere Gardens" counts as three words is also incorrect; it is treated as two words on the same principle as that on which De la Rue is counted as one word. Charing Cross is treated as two words in accordance with the rule that only the names of towns and villages are treated as one word. As regards the question of reconsidering the rule as to the counting of compound words, the hon. Member is referred to the answer I gave to the same question on August 23 last. That answer was as follows:— The Postmaster General fears that it is impossible in a matter of this kind to avoid some inconsistencies, but the broad rule at present in regard to inland telegrams is that all compound words which are to be found in recognised dictionaries, and which are written as such by the senders, are to be charged for as one word. The names of towns and villages in this country are also so charged; but the Postmaster General is not prepared to allow compound names of other places or of persons to pass as single words.