16. Post and Telegraph Offices. Parcels Companies.
Post Office. The English Post Office undertakes the trans¬
mission of letters, newspapers, book-packets, patterns and samples,
printed or lithographed circulars or notices, and telegrams. The
General Post Office is in St. Martin's le Grand (p. 83). The
Paste Restante Office is on the S. (right) side of the Great Hall
(p. 83), and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Letters are delivered
to applicants on the production of their passports or other proof
of identity, but it is better to give correspondents a private
address. Letters addressed to persons who have not been found are
kept for a month, and then sent to the Dead Letter Office for return
to the writer, or for destruction. The value of enclosures in such
letters amounts in some years to more than 200,000/.
Unprepaid letters are charged double postage, but maybe refused
by the addressee. The postage for the whole of Great Britain, Ireland,
and the islands in the British seas, is Id. for letters not exceeding
1 oz. ; registration fee 2d. (special registered-letter envelopes 2d.
each, to which the ordinary postage must be added). For letters
to the United States and the greater part of Europe (all the countries
included in the postal union) the rate is 2y2<L for letters under
1/2 oz. Newspapers are transmitted to any part of Great Britain and
the adjoining islands for '/W. each. For Book Packets, Patterns, and
Samples ilod. per 2oz. is charged for Great Britain; double for the
countries of the postal union. No packet may exceed 18 in. in
length and 9in. in width, or 15/6. in weight. Post-cards for use in the
British Islands are issued at S/^d. each, or 7d. or 8d. per dozen (thin
and thick) ; for countries included in the postal union, at l^d. each.
The number of daily deliveries of letters in London varies from
six to twelve according to the distance from the head office at St.
Martin's le Grand; on Sundays there is neither delivery nor col¬
lection. Letters for the evening mails may be posted in the branch
post-offices or in the pillar boxes at any time before 5.30 p.m. ; at
the branch offices up to 6 p.m. on payment of Id. extra ; at the Gen¬
eral Post Office up to 6.45 p.m., or, on payment of 2d. extra, till
7.30 p.m. See, however, for latest intelligence, the, British Posted
Guide, published quarterly (6d.).
London is divided into eight Postal Districts, — the Eastern,
Northern, North AVestern, AVestern, South Western, South Eastern,
Elast Central, and West Central, — which are designated by the
capital letters E., N., N.AV., and so on. Each has its district post-
office, from which letters are distributed to the surrounding district.
At these chief district offices letters may be posted about 1/2 hr.
later than at the branches or pillars. The delivery of London letters
is facilitated by the addition to the address of the initials of the
postal district. The passer-by will notice that these initials are