HC Deb 03 June 1897 vol 50 cc154-5
MR. E. BOND (Nottingham, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether the officials of a telegraph office have a right to detain or withhold telegrams on the ground of insufficient address, when letters similarly addressed are delivered without question; and whether directions will be given that an address recognised as sufficient to insure delivery of letters shall be recognised as sufficient to insure delivery of telegrams?


The Postmaster General is advised that he is under no obligation to treat telegrams and letters in a precisely similar manner as regards delivery, the conditions of delivery in the two cases being widely different. A telegram is an urgent communication, and it is of its essence that it should have prompt delivery. Consequently it is delivered by special messenger, and not by a postman on his round; and it is the universal rule that the address should contain the necessary particulars to insure delivery without difficulty, and without inquiries or references to directories. Although this is the rule, the Department does take trouble to deliver telegrams the addresses of which appear to be defective by accident and not by design, but it would be contrary to the interests of that public that it should allow its officers' time to be spent in procuring the delivery of telegrams which are systematically sent with insufficient addresses. Not only would the telegrams in question be delayed, but telegrams bearing sufficient addresses would also be delayed, and the whole character of the service would be altered for the worse. In the circumstances the Postmaster General is not prepared to give the directions which the hon. Member suggests.