HC Deb 21 May 1897 vol 49 c1033

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether, as he has consented by special official notification to charge "sha'n't" as one word and "mother-in-law" as one word, he will so far relax the rule as to permit "Charing Cross" to go as one word in telegraphing and whether he is aware that "Kentish Town," a postal and telegraph office, is charged two words in a telegram, but "Woodford Green" is charged as one word?


The anomalies which the hon. Member so frequently points out are the result of concessions. One of the words he has quoted as anomalous— "mother-in-law"—was, I believe, first dealt with as one word at the urgent request of my hon. Friend himself. [Laughter.] I think that the rule which refers to the names of places is a reasonable one. It is that the names of all separate towns and villages are treated as one word. Of course, neither Kentish Town nor Charing Cross is the name of a town or village. If that rule were departed from, it is difficult to say what might not be treated as a local name and claim the privilege.


May I ask why is "stepfather" charged as two words and "grandmother" one? [Laughter.]