HL Deb 29 March 1892 vol 3 cc141-2

I beg to ask Her Majesty's Government whether for the more certain and more rapid transmission of letters, they will adopt the system of stamping the hour of collection on letters as is already done in Canada, Australia, and America, and was once the custom in this country?


The answer I have to give to the noble Lord is to the following effect:—The adoption of the system of stamping the hour of collection in figures upon all letters passing through the post would not tend to greater certainty or rapidity in the transmission of the letters, and would not be more effective than the present system of postmarks in enabling the Post Office to trace delays; nor would it show the actual hour of posting or the course of the letter, which might have to pass through several offices. It could only show the hour at which the letters were brought into the office at which the first stamping took place. Figures were, it is true, at one time introduced into the London postmarks, but the practice was found to give rise to a good deal of misunderstanding on the part of the public, and to lead to complaints which had no foundation. It was on this account eventually abandoned.