HC Deb 29 June 1835 vol 29 cc7-8
Mr. Oswald

presented a Petition from Watermen engaged on the River Thames, praying for the adoption of measures to prevent Steam Vessels from proceeding with such dangerous rapidity below London Bridge, which occasioned continual danger and repeated loss of life. He observed that the Petition well deserved the attention of the House. From his own personal knowledge he could confirm the statements of the petition.

Mr. Alderman Wood

reminded the House that a measure had repeatedly been before them to effect the object contemplated by the Petition. The Bill had gone through Committee, and was lost, he believed, from unwillingness on the part of the House to legislate in the matter. It was time that there should be something done on the subject. Within the last three months there had been sixteen lives lost, owing to the rapidity of pavigating these vessels below bridge. The Thames Police Magistrates had done their utmost to stop these proceedings, but the long purses of the steam vessel companies defied all such penalties. They cared nothing about 5l. penalties; and they frequently transferred the cases to the Sessions, thereby deterring prosecutions.

Mr. Thornley

suggested that the best course would be that the boats below bridge should be built upon a larger scale, with higher bulwarks.

Lord Sandon

said, he had been a Member of the Committee on the Bill, and had so arranged it as to meet the views and objects of all parties. Unfortunately, however, at a late hour in the morning, and when few of the friends who had the management of the Bill were present, an hon. Member moved that the Bill be further proceeded with that day six months, which was carried, and the Bill lost. If a similar Bill were brought in now, he was sure that it would be carried.

Mr. Alderman Wood

observed that it would cost large sums to alter the boats as had been suggested. There were 1,000 watermen below bridge, and their boats on the average cost 25l. each.

Petition to lie on the Table.

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