HC Deb 26 March 1838 vol 41 cc1290-1
Sir F. Trench

then rose, to bring under the consideration of the House an alteration in the position of the Houses of Lords and Commons, which, he contended, without any important derangement of the general plan, would very much contribute to the comfort and health of the Members of both Houses. He said that he should occupy a few moments in stating his views, the more especially as the House was now so thinly attended. The simple question which hon. Members would, in effect, have to consider was, whether they would choose an artificial ventilation of the House, in preference to a natural ventilation. The former would, according to the plan which was already proposed, be necessarily adopted, while if they should give their assent to the proposition which he should have to make, they would select the latter, which appeared to him to be the more reasonable. The hon. Member then proceeded to describe minutely the alteration which he proposed should be made in the positions of the two Houses of Parliament, his principal object being to secure the Houses a position by which a free ventilation might be secured on all sides, a consideration which he contended was most important, but which would not be secured by the plan which had been adopted, by which lofty buildings would be placed on each side of the Houses, which would exclude the free current of air. Having made his proposition, he begged to leave it in the hands of the House and of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests. If he should hereafter feel it desirable or necessary to move for the reappointment of the Committee to consider the subject, he should do so, desiring most anxiously that his name should, among others, be omitted. His object was—and he could not too strongly impress it on the House—to use the present Houses as houses of experiment, in order that the expense of improvements in the new Houses might be avoided, for if a new system of ventilation should be introduced which should be found unsuccessful, great expense must necessarily be incurred in order to remedy the defect and to secure a better plan. However good and useful a system of artificial ventilation might appear, and however ingenious it might be, he still was clearly of opinion, that the natural atmosphere was preferable to any artificial means of ventilation that could be produced. If the new House of Commons were placed between two buildings, the one 100 feet in height, and the other 90 feet, it was impossible that it should be healthy; and it would, in fact, be quite immaterial, so far as the ventilation was concerned, whether the House carried on its proceedings in a cellar under ground. He should leave the subject in the hands of the House, reserving to himself, if he should see fit, the right of moving for the re-appointment of the Committee.—Subject dropped.