HC Deb 18 June 1839 vol 48 cc440-2
Mr. Slaney

rose to move, "That it is the duty of the Commons' House of Parliament to take measures to provide Public Walks in the immediate vicinity of large and populous towns, calculated to promote the health and comfort of the middle and humbler classes." He was aware how anxious the House was to proceed to the important question to be brought forward by the hon. Member for London, and therefore he could assure them that he would be as brief as possible in his statement. ["Oh, oh."] The population of this country had entirely changed its character within the last thirty-five or forty years — many who were then engaged in agricultural pursuits were now congregated in large manufacturing towns, the population congregated in which now a-mounted to between three and a half and four millions of people, mostly of the humble classes. They were badly lodged, being cooped up all the week in cellars and small rooms, situated in narrow lanes— they had no day for enjoyment but the Sundays, and upon that day they were deprived of the benefit of country air from the want of public places in their neighbourhood. It was to provide such recreation for them that he pressed his motion.

Lord J. Russell

perfectly agreed in the necessity of public walks and open spaces for the working classes in the neighbourhood of large towns, but the resolution before the House did not advance the object, as it pointed out or provided no means.

Sir R. Inglis

hoped the hon. Member would not press his motion, as it was so indefinite that many must oppose it who agreed in the principle.

Mr. Mark Phillips

agreed, that the resolution would not effect the object they had in view, although he was almost at a loss to know in what shape the subject could be properly brought forward. He thought Crown lands might be exchanged for land in the neighbourhood of Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, and other places for the purpose of establishing public walks there.

Sir Robert Peel

begged to join the expression of his wish to what appeared to be the general wish of the House, that the hon. Gentleman would not press his motion to a division. He thought public aid might be given in assistance to liberal local contributions, and that it would go far towards providing some means of recreation, would contribute to the public health, and would also gratify those who had the greatest means of annoyance, if they felt they were neglected.—Motion withdrawn.

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