HC Deb 13 June 1828 vol 19 cc1354-6

Mr. R. Gor- don moved, that the Petitions praying for the removal of Smithfield Market be referred to a Select Committee.

Mr. Alderman Wood

objected to the motion. If a bill for the alteration of this market should be brought in next session, he would cheerfully support it. The contemplated measure would affect nearly 5,000,000l. of property, and should not be lightly undertaken. The petition was, he believed, entirely the work of jobbers. Ten bills for the alteration, and two for the removal of the market, had been already brought in, and rejected, so that the Corporation had not been indifferent to the subject. If the measure should be postponed, the Corporation would next session apply for a bill, either to enlarge or alter the market. He should, therefore, move as an amendment, that the further consideration of the subject be adjourned to next session.

Mr. Benett

thought, that the establishment of a market at the west end of the town would be most beneficial to the interests of the metropolis.

Mr. Lennard

insisted on the necessity of a change, and enlarged on the disgusting spectacle which Whitechapel-market presented on slaughter-days.

Mr. Alderman Waithman

said, that the printed statements were entirely fallacious. He must say, that this attempt to remove Smithfield-market was a job for the advantage of a few individuals. He denied that the evils were of the nature stated by those who called for the removal. Great odium was thrown on the city, because it did not provide adequate space; but every thing that could be done for that purpose had been since done. As to the state of the slaughter-houses, none in Paris or elsewhere could be cleaner than those in Newgate and Leadenhall-markets. These were under the control of the Corporation, who had spent thousands in improving them. When the city asked the sanction of the House for the removal of this market, partial interests interfered, and the bill was successfully opposed, after it had passed that House. Another time, when the city proposed the enlargement of the market, the bill was thrown out in the Lords, because some peers, who happened to be governors of the Charter-house, were afraid that the annoyance of the cattle would be brought too near that seminary. The Corporation; had since expended 25,000l. out of their own funds; yet the House was told, that the state of the market was much worse than it used to be. The conduct of the market had been of late years so improved, that when Mr. Martin's act was enforced, the detections only applied to the ill-treatment of jack-asses, and casually of horses. The drovers were obliged to wear badges; and, if guilty of acts of wantonness, were instantly apprehended. Though not fond of Joint-stock companies, he pointed out, with approbation, the establishment of one to erect convenient slaughter-houses. The Corporation had given their sanction to the undertaking, as well as a site of valuable ground near the market. When people called for another market, he would only ask them where they could go, without incurring the inconveniences at present complained of? With respect to the question of health, consumptive people were in the habit of passing through it for the sake of their health. Indeed, that excellent comedian, Mr. Parsons, who was asthmatic, walked there regularly every market-day, for the benefit of its effluvia. The Corporation were anxious to have the markets cleanly and healthful, and had spared neither pains nor expense to effect that object. If a new plan could be devised, why not let them have it; and then it could receive proper consideration? At present he hoped that no precipitate step would be taken.

Mr. Secretary Peel

said, he was no anxious to see any measure precipitated which might affect vested interests of so much magnitude; more particularly when the representatives of the city declared their readiness to give the fullest consideration to any plan for the improvement of the market. The master-butchers of Smithfield had once applied to him, when he was represented as having intended the establishment of abattoirs. He assured them, that he would not embark in any such project without giving the deepest consideration to all the interests likely to be affected by the change. He thought the best course would be, to appoint the committee, merely to lay down the basis of an inquiry for next session.

The amendment was withdrawn and a committee appointed.