HC Deb 02 February 1897 vol 45 cc1037-8

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, if the mails for the Continent which should have left Dover on Saturday night the 23rd January were detained their till 10.30 a.m. on the 24th in consequence of the difficulty of entering Calias Harbour; and, if so, why they were not sent to Folkestone for shipment to Boulogne as on a previous occasion.


It is the case that the night mails for the Continent on the occasion referred to were delayed through difficulty in entering Calais Harbour during the storm; but the circumstances were not identical with those of the previous case referred to by the hon. and gallant Member. Arrangements have been concerted with the contractors and the French Post Office to meet the case of an accumulation of mails at Dover through protracted bad weather; and such an accumulation was avoided on the previous occasion by using the Boulogne route. But in cases where it is uncertain whether the Calais route will not be practicable after a short, delay, the expense of diversion from the regular route is not considered justifiable in order to avoid the chance of delay to one mail only. In the particular case of the 23rd ultimo considerable uncertainty existed, and, as it turned out, the Saturday night and Sunday morning mails were taken to Calais together on Sunday morning.