Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/198

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for packets not exceeding 2 oz. in weight. The length of a packet must not exceed 2 ft., while 1 ft. is the limit in width or depth. Any printed or written matter not in the nature of a letter may be sent by the halfpenny post, but every packet must be posted either without a cover or in an unfastened envelope, or in a cover which can be easily removed. The number of halfpenny packets delivered in 1906-1907 was 933,200,000.

Year. England and
Scotland. Ireland. United
Number. Inc. %
Number. Inc. %
Number. Inc. %
Number. Inc. %
1872 .  87,000,000 - 12,000,000 - 10,000,000 - 109,000,000
1875 93,345,600 2.3 13,819,100 4.5 13,884,700 10.2 121,049,400 3.4
1881–1882 108,651,700 5.7 15,477,300 2.4 16,660,100 4.7 140,789,100 5.2
1884–1885 110,700,000 7 16,900,000 0.9 16,100,000 0.5 143,700,000 0.7
1889–1890 126,600,000 6.1
16,700,000 0.6
16,000,000 -dec. 259,300,000 4.9dec.
1894–1895[1] 117,500,000 9.5
17,300,000 2.3
27,000,000 2.3
151,800,000 7.9
1899–1900 125,000,000 5.9 19,300,000 7.8 19,100,000 4.9 163,400,000 6


1900–1901 127,800,000 2.2 19,300,000 - 20,700,000 8.4 167,800,000 2.7

The inland parcel post began on the 1st of August 1883. No parcel might exceed 7 lb in weight, 3% ft. in length, of 6 ft. in Inland length and girth combined. The rates were: not p, , me, s exceeding 1 lb, 3d.; exceeding 1 lb, but not exceeding exceeding 5 lb, but not exceeding 5 lb, 9d.; exceeding 5 lb, but.not exceeding 7 lb, 1s. The following table shows the number of parcels delivered in the United Kingdom:-

Year ending 31st March. Number of Parcels.
1884 14,000,000
1885 22,910,040
1890 42,852,600
1895 57,136,000
1900 75,448,000,
1905 97,231,000

Arrangements were made with the railway companies, under which they receive 55% of the postage on each parcel sent by train. This arrangement, which was to hold good for 21 years, proved, however, an onerous one, and on the 1st of lune 1887 the post office started a parcel coach between London and Brighton. The coach, replaced in 1905 by a motor van, travelled by night, and reached Brighton in time for the first delivery.' The experiment proving successful, other coach and motor services were started at different dates between London and other places in the provinces, the mail services performed by motor vans amounting in 1906 to nearly forty. Nearly 11% millions of parcels were conveyed by the post office in 1900-1901 without passing over a railway.

On the 1st of May 1896, the maximum weight was increased to II lb, and the postage rates were reduced: not exceeding Ill), 3d.; for each succeeding lb, Iéd.; the charge for a parcel of II lb was thus IS. 6d. New rates were subsequently introduced and the rates for parcels now are: not exceeding 1 lb,1%d.; 2 lb, 4d.; 3 lb, 5d; 5 lb, 6d.; 7 lb, 7d.; for each succeeding up to II lb, Id. The length of a parcel must not exceed 3 ft. 6 in.; length and girth combined must not exceed 6 ft. By the Post Office (Literature for the Blind) Act 1906, the postage on packets of papers and books impressed for the use of the blind was greatly reduced, the rates being fixed at: not exceeding 2 oz., éd.; exceeding 2 oz. and not exceeding 2 lb, Id.; not exceeding 5 lb, Iéd.; not exceeding 6 lb, 25 .

The number of letters registered by the public in the United Kingdom in 1884-1885 amounted to II,365, I5I. In the next ten years the numbers oscillated between 10,779,555 Registered 1 .

me, .s (1886-1887) and 12,132,144 (1892-1803); but since 1894-1805, when 11,958,264 letters were registered, the number steadily increased, until it stood at 19,029,114 for 1903-1904. It decreased, however, 2.8% in 1904-1905, in increased .7 in the following year, but declined again by .8% in 1906-1907. It has been surmised[2] that the introduction of postal orders checked the growth of registered letters for some years after 1880. In 1886 a system of insurance for registered letters was adopted. The ordinary registration fee entitled the owner, in case of loss, to recover compensation from the post office up to a limit of £2. For an additional insurance fee of rd. the limit was raised to £5, and for 2d. to £10. Various changes have since been made, and the separate insurance system has been abolished. At present a registration fee of 2d. entitles to compensation up to £5, 3d. £20, and each additional penny to a further £20 up to a maximum of £400. The system of registration has also been extended to parcels.

On the 1st of February 1891 the railway letter service came into operation. At passenger stations on principal railways a letter not exceeding 4 oz. in weight may be handed in at the booking office for conveyance by the next train. A fee of 2d. is payable to the railway company as well as the ordinary postage of 1d. The letter may be addressed to a railway station to be called for. If it bears any other address it is posted on arrival at its proper station. The number of packets so sent is about 200,000 a year.

The express delivery service dates from the 25th of March 1891. A private company formed for the purpose of supplying the public on demand with an express messenger to execute errands was found to be infringing the postmaster-general's monopoly both as regards the conveyance of letters and the transmission of communications by electricity. The services of the company were, however, much appreciated by the public. The government accordingly authorized the post olhce to license the existing Company to continue its business, on the payment of royalties, till 1903,[3] and to start an express service of its own. Messengers can be summoned from the post office by telephone, and arrangements can be made with the post office for the special delivery of all packets arriving by particular mails in advance of the ordinary postman. The sender of a packet may have it conveyed by express messenger all the way, or may direct that, after conveyance by ordinary post to the terminal post office, it shall then be delivered by special messenger. The fees, in addition to ordinary postage, were originally fixed at 2d. for the first mile, gd. for the second mile, and Is. a mile additional when the distance exceeded 2 m. and there was no public conveyance. Under the present regulations the fee is 311. for each mile covered by special messenger before delivery. No charge is made for postage in respect of the special service, but if the packet is very weighty or the distance considerable, and no pubic conveyance is available, the sender must pay for a cab or other special conveyance.

Letters and parcels to or from a number of foreign countries and colonies may also be marked for express delivery after transmission by post; and residents in London, not having a delivery of ordinary letters on Sunday, may receive on that day express letters from home or abroad which have come to hand too late for express delivery on Saturday nights. The total number of express services in 1905-1906 was 1,578,746. In many cases one of these services included the delivery of batches of letters, so that in London alone 1,010,815 express services were performed, including 47,601 deliveries in advance of the postmen.

There are various central depots for dealing with “dead” or returned letters. The principal office is in London. In the year 1905-1906 10,868,272 letters were received at Returned

the various returned letter offices, of which 1,008,017 Lmem could neither be delivered to the addresses nor returned to the rsenders. Such of these as contain nothing of

value are at once destroyed, and no record of them is kept. The

  1. See note to table of Letters Delivered.
  2. Thirty-second Report of Postmaster-General.
  3. Afterwards extended to the 31st of March 1922.