§ MR. W. T. HOWELL (Denbigh Boroughs)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that Mr. Airey, of the Railway Clearing House, has for some years past been publishing maps of different parts of England, giving the official distances between the various stations and siding; on the various lines of railway, to the great convenience of traders; and that 1446 lately the railway companies have withdrawn from Mr. Airey the power to publish these maps; and, whether the President of the Board of Trade can take any measures to secure the publication of such maps in the future?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. C. T. RITCHIE,) Croydon
I am informed that Mr Airey, clerk in the Railway Clearing House, has been allowed to compile, publish, and sell various maps relating to the railways of the United Kingdom; that in 1894 it was considered by the committee of the Clearing House undesirable that such business should be carried on by a clerk without control, and the Committee, therefore, by mutual arrangement, took over from Mr. Airey his plant and paid him a considerable sum for the loss of his business, which is now the property of the Clearing House. I am also informed that the Committee do not propose in the future to publish for public use any maps beyond those of England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. If this decision of the Committee is adhered to, I shall regret the loss of information which is of decided advantage to the public, for, although the distances between stations are continually subject to variation by the alteration of a junction of the opening of new routes, stations, or junctions, and, although distance tables are prepared by all companies in compliance with their obligations, the advantage to the public of such practical and intelligible maps as have hitherto been published by Mr. Airey must be considerable. I have no control, however, over the decision of the Clearing House Committee.