Post Office Act 1891
(54 & 55 Vict c.46, 5th August 1891)

An Act to amend the Post Office Acts and to make provision for the Service of the Post Office.
[5th August 1891.]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

Inland Postal Regulations.

Regulations as to circulars and documents, and words on registered newspapers.

1. A warrant of the Treasury under section four of the Post Office Act, 1875, made after the passing of this Act may determine–

(a) what circulars or what commercial, legal, and other similar documents; and
(b) what marks, or indications referring to the contents of a registered newspaper, when written or printed on the newspaper or on the cover thereof,

shall not be charged with rates of postage as letters.

Modification of 33 & 34 Vict. c. 79. s. 6 as to supplements to newspapers.

2.–(1.) A warrant of the Treasury under section four of the Post Office Act, 1875, may modify the provisions of section six of the Post Office Act, 1870, respecting the supplement of a newspaper, so far as they apply to a supplement which consists wholly of engravings, prints, or lithographs illustrative of articles in the newspaper.

(2.) There shall be repealed so much of the said section six as requires the supplement to a newspaper to be unstitched, but all sheets of a supplement shall be put together at some one part of the registered newspaper, whether gummed or stitched up with the newspaper or not.

(3.) There shall further be repealed so much of the said section six as requires the supplement to a newspaper to have the date of publication of the newspaper printed at the top of every page, sheet, or side on which any engraving, print, or lithograph appears.

Re-direction of postal packets.

3. A warrant of the Treasury under section four of the Post Office Act, 1875, may make regulations respecting, the re-direction of postal packets and the transmission of postal packets so re-directed, either free of the charges now imposed by law, or at such rates of postage as may be specified in the warrant.

Certificates of posting and delivery.

4. Section three of the Post Office Act, 1875, which provides for regulations respecting the giving of a receipt for a postal packet and the sum to be paid for such receipt, shall extend to the giving and obtaining of certificates of posting and delivery of any postal packet in like manner as if a reference to 'giving receipts for any postal packet,' included a reference to giving and obtaining certificates of the posting or delivery thereof.

Power to Postmaster-General to authorise collection and delivery of letters otherwise than by post.

5. The Postmaster-General, with the consent of the Treasury, may, either generally or in the case of any particular person, authorise–

(a) letters or other postal packets to be sent, conveyed, and delivered otherwise than by post, and
(b) the collection otherwise than by an officer of the Post Office of any letters or postal packets, whether to be so sent or to be sent by post,

but the authority shall be subject in every case to such regulations, conditions, prohibitions, and restrictions as are specified in a warrant of the Treasury made on the representation of the Postmaster-General.


Consent of Treasury to dealings with land by Postmaster-General need not be proved.

6. A person dealing with the Postmaster-General in respect of land, or rights in or over land, either as vendor, lessor, purchaser, lessee, or otherwise, shall not be bound or entitled to inquire whether the consent of the Treasury has been given to such dealing, or whether the dealing is in fact authorised by any Post Office Act.

Power for local authority to contribute land or money towards new post office.

7. Where the council of any borough or the urban sanitary authority authority of any district consider that it would be beneficial to the inhabitants of such borough or district that any new post office should be on a more expensive site, or of a larger size, or of a more ornate building, or otherwise of a more expensive character, than the Postmaster-General would otherwise provide, such council or authority may contribute towards such new post office, either by a grant of money or, with the consent of the Local Government Board, or in Ireland with the consent of the Local Government Board for Ireland, by the appropriation of land belonging to the council or authority, or by the purchase of land for the purpose, and any costs incurred under this section may be paid in the case of a borough out of the borough fund or borough rate, and, in case of any urban sanitary district not a borough, out of the rate out of which the general expenses of the sanitary authority under the Public Health Act, 1875, are defrayed.

The council of any borough may borrow for the purposes of this section under section one hundred and six of the Municipal Corporations Act, 1882, and any enactment amending the same, and any other urban sanitary authority may borrow for thepurposes of this section in like manner as if those purposes were purposes of the Public Health Act, 1875, and the provisions of that Act with respect to borrowing shall apply accordingly.

Power to rural authorities to undertake to pay loss occasioned by extra postal facilities.

8. Where any rural sanitary authority consider that it would be for the benefit of any contributory place or places within their district that any post or telegraph office should be established or any additional facilities (postal or other) provided by the Postmaster-General in such place or places, such authority may undertake to pay to the Postmaster-General any loss he may sustain by reason of the establishment or maintenance of such office or the provision of such facilities, and any costs incurred by the authority under such undertaking may be defrayed as special expenses legally incurred in respect of such contributory place or places, and shall be apportioned between such places if more than one and sections two hundred and twenty-nine, two hundred and thirty, and two hundred and thirty-one of the Public Health Act, 1875, and sections two hundred and thirty-two and two hundred and thirty-three of the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878, shall apply accordingly.


Exemption of officer of Post Office from offices, juries, &c.,

9. Section twelve of the Post Office Management Act, 1837, (which exempts the Postmaster-General and the officers of the Post Office from serving certain offices and from serving on any jury or inquest or in the militia), shall have full effect in Scotland, notwithstanding any subsequent enactment.

Criminal diverting of letters from addressee.

10. Any person not in the employment of the Postmaster-General who wilfully and maliciously, with intent to injure any other person, either opens or causes to be opened any letter which ought to have been delivered to such other person, or does any act or thing whereby the due delivery of such letter to such other person is prevented or impeded, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds, or to imprisonment not exceeding six months.

Nothing in this section shall apply to a person who does any act to which this section applies where he is parent or in the position of a parent or guardian of the person to whom the letter is addressed.

A prosecution shall not be instituted in pursuance of this section except by direction of the Postmaster-General.

A letter in this section means a post letter within the meaning of the Post Office (Protection) Act, 1884, and any other letter which has been delivered by post.

Forwarding of articles for analysis.

11. In section sixteen of the Sale of Food and Drugs Act, 1875, respecting an article forwarded to the analyst through he Post Office the words 'registered parcel' shall be substituted for the words registered letter.



12.–(1.) In this Act–

The expression 'postal packet' has the same meaning, as in the Post Office Act, 1875, as amended by the Post Office (Protection) Act, 1884, and includes such postal packets as are defined by regulations of the Treasury to be parcels, and includes a telegram.

The expression 'registered newspaper' means a newspaper registered by the Postmaster-General for transmission by inland post.

Other expressions have the same meaning as in the Post Office (Offences) Act, 1837.

(2.) This Act shall be deemed to be a Post Office Act within the meaning of the Post Office (Offences) Act, 1837.


13. The enactments specified in the schedule to this Act are hereby repealed from and after the commencement of this Act to the extent specified in the third column of that schedule.

Short title.

14. This Act may be cited as the Post Office Act, 1891.



Session and Chapter. Short Title. Extent of Repeal.
3 & 4 Vict. c. 96. The Post Office (Duties) Act, 1840. Sections fourteen and eighteen.
26 & 27 Vict. c. 43. The Post Office Lands Act, 1863. Section three.