HC Deb 13 June 1910 vol 17 cc1028-9

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that important telegrams, addressed to the Atlantic Transport Company, Limited, at their offices. No. 38, Leadenhall-street, in the City of London, in reference to the position of a large steamship owned by that company and then stranded on rocks, were received in London on the morning of Sunday, 24th April, and that such telegrams were not delivered until Monday, 25th April; whether such non-delivery was due to some regulation or instruction that telegrams are not to be delivered in the City of London at night or on Sundays unless special request is made for delivery by the addressees; whether the existence of such regulation or instruction is made known to persons and companies in the City of London; whether persons in the provinces handing in telegrams on Sundays are informed of the rule; and whether it is possible to disregard the rule where the contents of a telegram disclose its urgency?


The hon. Member has correctly stated the rule. It has been in operation since 1877, and it has been found to work well by preventing the loss and delay of business telegrams, which previously not infrequently occurred through their being overlooked or mislaid after delivery at places of business which were closed. The public are notified of the rule at page 84 of the "Post Office Guide." As the rule does not apply in the case of firms who have requested that telegrams may be delivered immediately on their arrival, no useful purpose would be served by specially notifying the rule to persons in the provinces handing in telegrams on Sundays, since those tele- grams might be addressed to such firms. I may add that the company in question have now made formal request for delivery on Sunday. In reply to the last part of the hon. Member's question I would say that it is possible to disregard the rule where the contents of a telegram disclose its urgency or where it is marked "Urgent" or "Immediate." I am making arrangements for telegrams addressed to offices in London and other large towns at night or on Sundays to be examined with this object in view, and I trust this will prevent the recurrence of such an incident as the hon. Member has kindly brought to my notice.