Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/204

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the City of London in that year. The history of the telephone service and the growth of the industry are set out in the article Telephone.

Post Office Staff.

The staff of the post office on the 31st of March 1906 amounted to 195,432. Of these 41,081 were women, a proportion of over one-fifth of the staff. The postmasters numbered 875 (including 10 employed abroad), and the sub-postmasters 21,027. The total number of offices (including branch offices) was 22,088. The unestablished staff, not entitled to pension, made up chiefly of telegraph boys, and of. persons who are employed for only part of the day on post office business, included 87,753 out of the grand total, and almost the whole of the sub-postmasters. The pay and prospects of almost all classes have been greatly improved since 1884, when the number stood at QI,184. The principal schemes of general revision of pay have been: 1881, Fawcett's scheme for sorting-clerks, sorters and telegraphists (additional cost £210,000 a year), and for postmen, 1882, £1 10,0001 Raikes's various revisions, 1888, chief clerks and supervising officers, £6230; 1890, sorting-clerks, sorters and telegraphists, £179,600; 1890, supervising force, £65,000; 1890, London sorters, £20,700§ 1891, London overseers, £Q400; 1891, postmen, £125,650: Arnold Morley, 1884, London overseers, £1400, and rural auxiliaries, £,20,000. A committee was appointed in June 1895 with Lord Tweedmouth as chairman, to consider the pay and position of the post office staff, excluding the clerical force and those employed at headquarters. The committee reported on the 15th of December 1896 and its recommendations were adopted at an immediate increased expense of £139,000 a year, which has since risen to £500,000 In 1897 additional concessions were made at a cost of £100,000 a year. In July 1890 a number of postmen in London went out on strike. Over 450 were dismissed in one morning, and the work of the post office was carried on without interruption. The men received no sympathy from the public, and most of them were ultimately successful in their plea to be reinstated. A quasi-political agitation was carried on during the general election of 1892 by some of the London sorters, who, under the plea of civil rights, claimed the right to influence candidates for parliament by exacting pledges for the promise of parliamentary support. The leaders were dismissed, and the post office has upheld the principle that its officers are to hold themselves free to serve either party in the State without putting themselves prominently forward as political partisans. Parliament, has been repeatedly asked to sanction a parliamentary inquiry to reopen the settlement of the Tweedmouth Committee, and the telegraphists have been especially active in pressing for a further committee. The rates of pay at various dates since 1881 are set out with great fullness in the Parliamentary papers (Postmen, No. 237 of 1897; Sorters, Telegraphists, few., No. 230 of 1898, and Report of the Select Committee on Post Office Servants, 1907; this latter contains important recommendations for the removal of many grievances which the staff had been long agitating to have removed).

In November 1891 an important change was made in the method of recruiting postmen, with the object of encouraging military service and providing situations for those who after serving in the army br navy are left without employment at a comparatively early age. In. making appointments to the situation of postman, preference was given to army, navy and royal marine pensioners, and men of the army reserve. Due regard was paid to the legitimate claims of telegraph messengers or other persons who had prospects of succeeding to these situations. In August 1897 the government decided to reserve one-half of all suitable vacancies for ex-soldiers and sailors, as postmen, porters and labourers, and preference has been shown to them for employment as lift-attendants, caretakers, &c.

Finance.-The following table shows the financial working of the post office:-

Year. Revenue. Expenditure. Net
Value of
to other
Total. Sites and
and other
Wages, &c.
ance of
P. O.
£ £ £ £ £ £ £ £ £ £ £ £ £ £
1884–1885  7,808,911  382,002  198,336  8,389,249  72,464  80,234  150,742  2,829,210  1,154,211  728,413  515,892  136,999  5,668,268  2,721,084 
1889–1890  9,467,165  36,279  218,037  9,721,481  70,900  79,840  153,921  3,359,563  1,249,821  664,342  553,910  142,788  6,275,085  3,446,396 
1894–1895  10,748,014  277,446  11,025,460  12,597  175,390  188,919  4,597,355  1,395,282  729,813  677,524  178,464  7,955,344  3,070,116 
1899–1900  13,192,020  202,315  23,394,335  115,294  169,098  269,092  5,963,399  1,474,118  759,307  719,944  213,747  9,683,999  3,710,336 
1900–1901  13,776,886  218,584  13,995,470  81,949  175,000  286,238  6,277,275  1,516,859  764,804  726,101  236,677  10,064,903  3,930,567 
1905–1906  16,823,349  24,363  216,311  17,464,023  75,759  250,127  377,131  7,737,010  1,822,758  687,209  604,927  295,191  11,849,012  5,540,897 

Postage Stamps.

For all practical purposes the history of postage stamps begins in the United Kingdom. A post-paid envelope was in common use in Paris in the year 1653. Stamped postal letter-paper (carta postale bollata) was issued to the public by the government of the Sardinian States in November 1818, and stamped postal envelopes were issued by the same government from 1820 until 1836.[1] Stamped wrappers for newspapers were made experimentally in London by Charles Whiting, under the name of “go-frees,” in 1830. Four years later (June 1834), and in ignorance of what Whiting had already done, Charles Knight, the well-known publisher, in a letter addressed to Lord Althorp, then chancellor of the exchequer, recommended similar wrappers for adoption. From this suggestion apparently Rowland Hill, who is justly regarded as the originator of postage stamps, got his idea. Meanwhile, however, the adhesive stamp was made experimentally by James Chalmers in his printing-office at Dundee in August 1834.[2] These experimental stamps were printed from ordinary type, and were made adhesive by a wash of gum. Chalmers had already won local distinction by his successful efforts in 1822, for the acceleration of the Scottish mails from London. Those efforts resulted in a saving of forty-eight hours on the double mail journey, and were highly appreciated in Scotland.

Rowland Hill brought the adhesive stamp under the notice of the commissioners of post office inquiry on the 13th of February 1837. Chalmers made no public mention of his stamp of 1834 until November 1837.

Rowland Hill's pamphlet led to the appointment of a committee of the House of Commons on the 22nd of November 1837, “to inquire into the rates and modes of charging postage, with a view'to such a reduction thereof as may be made without injury to the revenue.” This committee reported in favour of Hill's proposals; and an act was passed in 1839, authorizing the treasury to fix the rates of postage, and regulate the mode of their collection, whether by prepayment or otherwise. A premium of £200 was offered for the best, and £100 for the next

best, proposal for bringing stamps into use, having regard to

  1. Stamp-Collector’s Magazine, v. 161 seq.; J. E. Gray, Illustrated Catalogue of Postage Stamps, 6th ed., 167.
  2. Patrick Chalmers, Sir Rowland Hill and James Chalmers, Inventor of the Adhesive Stamp (London, 1882), passim. See also the same writer's pamphlet, entitled The Position of Sir Rowland Hill made plain (1882), and his The Adhesive Stamp: a Fresh Chapter in the History of Post-Office Reform (1881). Compare Pearson Hill’s tract, A Paper on Postage Stamps, in reply to Chalmers, reprinted from the Philatelic Record of November 1881. Pearson Hill has therein shown conclusively the priority of publication by Sir Rowland Hill. He has also given proof of James Chalmers’s express acknowledgment of that priority. But he has not weakened the evidence of the priority of invention by Chalmers.