telegrams then and now

Adam Sampson ats at
Tue Apr 13 04:37:29 CDT 2010

David Griffith <dgriffi at> writes:

> I was wondering if anyone had any information on what a same-day
> telegram cost way back when. may be of interest.

In 1870, when sending a letter anywhere in the UK cost 1d (roughly 30p
today, based on's RPI calculator), sending a 20-word
telegram at the biggest UK telegraph companies' standard rates cost 6d
(£1.78) within London, 1s 0d (£3.57) within 100 miles, 1s 6d (£5.35)
within 200 miles, and 2s 0d (£7.13) beyond 200 miles. Cheaper bulk rates
were available for frequent users.

Delivery was typically much faster than just the same day; the author
gives the example of a farmer telegraphing his wife to tell her that the
weather was poor and she shouldn't bother coming to the market.

Adam Sampson <ats at>                         <>

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