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The Corps of Commissionaires

The Corps of Commissionaires, Office, Exchange Court, 419A, Strand, W. C. The Commissionaire system, established in February 1859, is now in operation in the following places : London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Chester, and Limerick. The Corps is composed of soldiers and sailors who have served their country in various parts of the world; and, from the wounds they have received, are precluded from ordinary occupations, but qualified for the occupation contemplated by the institution as messengers. Messages are forwarded from the Barracks, Exchange Court, Strand, at any time during the day or night. The number of men who have joined since its first formation amounts to more than two hundred, all of then acting under the same rules and tariff. It is hoped that the character of the men, and their previous service, combined with a strict discipline and moderate tariff, will ensure a continuance of that support which has placed them in an independent condition. The institution is entirely self-supporting, its members have not received pecuniary assistance in any shape, they are dependent on their own exertions, each man retaining his own earnings. From the existing organization, commissions of every kind can be executed in the principal cities of the United Kingdom at a uniform charge. On application to the Adjutant, a Commissionaire will be sent either permanently or by the day to any part of London or the United Kingdom; and, for the convenience of employers, a scale of wages has been especially arranged for permanent or temporary engagements, a printed form of which may be obtained at the office.

Tariff.—By distance, 2d. half-a-mile or under; 3d. one mile and over half-a-mile. By time, 6d. per hour, or 2d. per quarter of an hour. When taken by time, the Commissionaire is to do 2 miles per hour, if walking. Should the employer pay the fare of the Commissionaire by rail, boat, or omnibus, he may require him to execute his duty by the time tariff. This will be calculated according to the time actually consumed in his going from and returning to his post.

Delivery of Circulars and Visiting cards.—Circulars, when fully addressed, and their distribution unrestricted to any particular district of town, will be delivered at a rate of 4s. per 100. In London, this rate is restricted to a three mile radius from Charing Cross. Delivery from house to house, 1s. per 100. Special arrangements made for large orders or periodical service.

SOURCE: The Charities of London, by Samuel Low, Jun., London: Sampson Low, Son,
and Marston, Milton House, Ludgate Hill. 1861.