HC Deb 23 August 1833 vol 20 cc866-8
Colonel Evans

presented a petition from the householders of Castle-street, St. Martin's Westminster, complaining of the length of time the business of that part of the metropolis had been obstructed by the erection of the new buildings in the vicinity of Charing-cross, and praying that if a national gallery was built in Trafalgar-square, some communication might be left in a direct line between Castle-street and Charing-cross.

Mr. Spring Rice

said, his noble friend (Lord Duncannon) had used his best endeavours to remedy the evil complained of by the petitioners. It had been intended to have given a passage even when the national gallery should be built. He assured the hon. Member, that every attention would be paid to the suggestions of the petitioners.

Mr. Hill

took that opportunity to ask if it was the intention of his Majesty's Ministers to afford any additional privileges to the Royal Academy, or grant them any new rooms for their accommodation in the National Gallery? He thought nothing could be more injurious than an extension of the privileges they at present enjoyed, as they exerted them very unfairly towards their brother artists.

Mr. Spring Rice

said, that no new privileges were intended to be given to the Royal Academy. It was only intended to give them, not as a gift, but in a way of occupation, as they had at Somerset-house, the use of some rooms in the gallery, in order that the Government might concentrate all their offices in Somerset-house which would be the means of greatly increasing the convenience and lessening the public expense.

Mr. Todd

said, it was to be regretted that the discussion on that subject had not taken place while the noble Lord at the head of the Woods and Forests was in his place. He must complain much of the manner the Bill on this subject had been smuggled through the House, and also as a parishioner of St. Martin's, of the delay which had taken place in the erection of the public buildings in Trafalgar-square. He likewise expressed his regret, that the public had not been admitted to the interior of Regent's Park, and wished to know the reason of their exclusion from such a healthful spot.

Mr. Spring Rice

declared, that Government had carried no Bills through the House in the morning that were not known to be unopposed. The one more particularly referred to by the hon. Member had proceeded as far as the third reading, without any kind of opposition. The delay, therefore, complained of in the erection of the National Gallery could not fairly be attributed to the Government. The vote of 10,000l. had been pressed upon the Government by the House, which being found insufficient, they had been compelled to delay the erection of the building. He was unable exactly to inform the hon. Member when the Re gent's-Park would be opened to the public.

Lord Ormelie

expressed his disapprobation of the exclusive right given to the Royal Academy, and thought that, unless it was fairly open to the whole body of artists, it could not be called a National Gallery.

Mr. Warburton

regretted that Whitehall Chapel had not been made use of for the purpose of a National Gallery. It would effect a direct saving of 80,000l. a-year. He defended the Royal Academy, and was of opinion that there ought to be some board to decide what pictures should be hung up.

Mr. Cobbett

objected to the whole population of the country being taxed to pay for the erection of metropolitan buildings. It was a subject that ought to be more closely watched by the county Members.

Petition laid on the Table.

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