Parliamentary Notice Rates from 1848

1872: 1d postage + 6d Parliamentary Notice rate (not normal 4d registration)

Standing orders of Parliament required certain notices relating to forthcoming business to be served on or before 15th December each year -- generally to landowners whose holdings would be affected by new local or private legislation. The Railway Mania of the 1840s produced a large number of such notices! Originally, they were served personally on landholders and occupiers by the solicitors of the railway companies at the rate of one guinea per notice.

From 1848, these Parliamentary Notices could be posted registered at specified towns, no later than 12th December. Their treatment differed from normal registered letters given their legal importance, the fact that normal delivery did not extend to every house at the time, and that they were usually posted in bulk. Receipts were also given in bulk on duplicate address lists. Postmasters were not to mix them with ordinary registered letters, could delay the despatch as long as they would arrive by the legally required time, and special wrappers and delivery slips were used.

The words "Parliamentary Notice" had to appear on the cover, but the word "registered" was prohibited, as were blue lines when these were introduced on registered letters in 1878. However, from 1875 any Money Order Post Office could accept notices for posting, and from 1884 blue lines were to be applied at the office of origin.

The original 6d fee was the same as the standard registration fee, but it was not changed when the latter was reduced to 4d in 1862 and again to 2d in 1878. Finally, in 1885 the fee was equalised at 2d, and Parliamentary Notices were to be marked as any other registered letter (with blue lines and the word "registered"), although other special procedures remained unchanged. From 1885 onwards the fees appear to have been the same as the current registration fee.

From 1894 the words "Parliamentary Notice" were no longer required on the wrapper. Possibly because of this, and because of the decline in local and private Acts, Parliamentary Notices marked as such are not often seen after the Edwardian period, although postal staff continued to get yearly reminders of "notice season" in the Post Office Circular (Post Office Gazette from 1969).

The charges below were added to postage at the normal letter rate.

Date Rate Date Rate Date Rate
(27 Nov)
6d 1885
(9 Dec)
2d and from
then on
Same as basic registration fee