HC Deb 12 March 1840 vol 52 cc1158-61
Lord Eliot

would not obtrude at any very great length on the time of the House; but as he was about to request the House, if not to rescind a resolution which they had recently come to, at least to recede from a previous determination, he thought he was bound to give a sufficient reason for asking the House to reconsider this question. Mr. Gurney had presented a petition relative to the Bude light, which had already been adopted by the Trinity House. The Bude light was the invention of Mr. Gurney, and consisted of passing a stream of oxygen gas through an Argand burner, and the light was so brilliant that the Trinity House adopted it. Mr. Gurney offered to light the House with the Bude light, and to be at the expense of the experiment. The right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, however, had objected to this being done at Mr. Gurney's expense, but had granted 100l. towards making the experiment, which had been conducted under the superintendence of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests. This experiment had proved so satisfactory that the House had appointed a select committee to consider the subject. On the committee which had been appointed he (Lord Eliot) had been a member, and he certainly admitted, that, knowing the abilities of Mr. Gurney, and from his experience of the Bude light, he was pre-disposed in its favour, yet not so much as to be unalterably prejudiced against any evidence. Even this slight pre-disposition, however, could not be alleged against any other Gentleman on the committee, who were entirely disinterested either way. The committee had examined Professor Faraday, Sir D. Brewster, Dr. Ure, and Dr. Arnot, and not one of them expressed an unfavourable opinion of the light; nay, they were decidedly in its favour. They, however, stated, that there was a great necessity for adopting some means to improve the ventilation of the House, and that this light would afford facilities for that object, by giving opportunity for having a descending current: at all events, an improvement of the ventilation would prevent the annoyance of dust through the chinks in the floor of the House. The noble Lord had stated further, that many practical gentlemen, such as Mr. Rixon (of Hancock and Rixon's), had declared that a finer light than the Bude never was witnessed. The chandeliers now in use weighed several hundred weight each, with the massy shades (many yards in circumference), and that, suspended to a small chain, their safety was at least questionable—indeed, a day or two ago one had fallen and grievously injured a workman Then, as to the expense of the Bude light, it had cost some 700l., but that included a stock which would last through the Session, and the chandeliers had already cost upwards of 500l., and divers decorations had been added by the gallant Officer (Colonel Sir F. Trench.) He considered that the experiments with the Bude light had not been fully and fairly made, and that, therefore, the wishes of the committee and the orders of the House had not been complied with. He trusted, therefore, that the House would accede to his motion, and if, after a fair trial, the House should be convinced, under all the circumstances, that the present mode of lighting was preferable to the Bude light, he, for one, would not again venture to become its advocate. The noble Lord concluded by moving, that opportunities for further experiment be afforded to Mr. Gurney.

Mr. James

seconded the motion. He did not believe, that there was any Member in that House who suffered more from defective sight than he did, and he must confess, that he experienced the greatest possible relief when the unseemly chandeliers were taken away and the Bude light substituted, and which he hoped soon to see restored.

Sir F. Trench

said, the only object he had in view was, that hon. Members should have that light that was most agreeable to them. He would not say one word in favour or against either mode of lighting, as hon. Members were competent from the experiments that had been made, to form their own opinions. There was one circumstance, however, to which he was anxious to call the attention of the House. It had been stated that an accident had occurred on Monday, in consequence of the weight of the chandeliers. Now in consequence of that, he had taken the trouble to obtain an account of the weight of different chandeliers in public buildings. The lustres in the National Gallery weighed 17 cwt.; those of the Opera House, 14 cwt.; Covent-garden theatre, 18 cwt.; in Drury-lane theatre, 7 cwt.; and in some public show room, 15 cwt. The lustres of the House, with shades and chains, amounted to 6 cwt. only. The shades, too, could be formed of lighter material, so as to render them less cumbrous. With respect to the expense of candles, there was an error in the calculation made by the noble Lord, because the 6l. which had been quoted as the expense each night, did not extend to the candles used in the House merely, but to lights consumed in the coffee room, reading room, and other apartments also. The experiments on the Bude light, which had cost the country already 750l., had been fairly tested, and found insufficient.

Sir C. Lemon

considered that the experiments which had been made respecting the Bude light afforded a safe guide to the lighting of the future Houses of Parliament which were in the course of construction. At the commencement of the Session, he had been struck with the appearance of the interior of the House, by the introduction of that light; but since the introduction of these domestic lights, the wax candles, with the overhanging opaque bodies, flanked on one side with a petticoat, and on the other with an apron, the whole architectural beauty of the House had been destroyed. He would support the motion.

Mr. Goulburn

agreed with the hon. Member, who said, that this was a question of feeling and not of argument, and he must confess, that he saw better by the wax lights than by the new light. The hon. Member had spoken of the experiment being made with reference to the future houses of Parliament; but he must protest against being made the corpus vile of such experiments.

Sir Thomas Acland

said, that the half-perfected Bude light had been found superior to the wax lights, and for that reason, he would support the motion.

The House divided:—Ayes 136; Noes 86: Majority 50.

List of the AYES.
Acland, T. D. Forester, hon. G.
Aglionby, H. A. Gisborne, T.
Aglionby, Major Goring, H. D.
Alston, R. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Archbold, R. Guest, Sir J.
Baines, E. Hamilton, Lord C.
Barnard, E. G. Harland, W. G.
Barron, H. W. Hawes, B.
Berkeley, hon. C. Heathcote, J.
Bewes, T. Hector, C. J.
Brabazon, Sir W. Hill, Lord A. M. C.
Bramston, T. W. Hindley, C.
Bridgeman, H Hobhouse, T. B.
Briscoe, J. I. Hope, H. T.
Brodie, W. B. Horsman, E.
Brotherton, J. Howard, F. J.
Brownrigg, S. Howard, P. H
Buller, C. Hume, J.
Busfeild, W. Humphrey, J.
Clay, W. Hutchins, E. J.
Clive, E. B. Hutt, W.
Cole, Viscount Hutton, R.
Collier, J. James, W.
Courtenay, P. Knight, H. G.
Craig, W. G. Langdale, hon. C.
Cripps, J. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Currie, R. Lemon, Sir C.
Curry, Mr. Sergeant Lincoln, Earl of
Denison, W. J. Lister, E. C.
Divett, E. Loch, J.
Dundas, C. W. D. Lushington, C.
Dundas, F. Lynch, A. H.
Du Pre, G. Macaulay, rt. hon. T.
Easthope, J. M'Taggart, J.
Egerton, W. T. Martin, J.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Maule, hon. F.
Ellice, E. Melgund, Viscount
Ellis, W. Milnes, R. M.
Evans, Sir De L. Morpeth, Viscount
Evans, W. O'Connell, J.
Ewart, W. O'Connell, M. J.
Feilden, W. O'Conor Don
Fielden, J. Ord, W.
Fenton, J. Paget, F.
Palmer, R. Style, Sir C.
Palmerston, Viscount Thornely, T.
Parker, J. Townley, R. G.
Patten, J. W. Tufnell, H.
Pattison, J. Turner, E.
Pendarves, E. W. W. Verney, Sir H.
Phillips, M. Vernon, G. H.
Pigot, D. R. Vigors, N. A.
Pigot, R. Vivian, J. H.
Price, Sir R. Vivian, rt. hn. Sir R.
Protheroe, E. Wall, C. B.
Pusey, P. Wallace, R.
Rickford, W. Warburton, H.
Roche, W. Ward, H. G.
Rundle, J. White, A.
Seymour, Lord Wilbraham, G.
Sharpe, General Williams, W.
Slaney, R. A. Williams, W. A.
Somerville, Sir W. M. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Stanley, hon. E. J. Worsley, Lord
Stansfield, W. R. Wyse, T.
Staunton, Sir G. T. Yates, J. A.
Steuart, R.
Stuart, Lord J. TELLERS.
Strickland, Sir G. Acland, Sir T.
Strutt, E. Eliot, Lord
List of the NOES.
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Hope, hon. C.
Ashley, Lord Hope, G. W.
Baker, E. Houstoun, G.
Baring, H. B. Hurt, F.
Baring, hn. W. B. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Blackstone, W. S. Irving, J.
Bradshaw, J. Jones, J.
Broadwood, H. Lambton, H
Castlereagh, Viscount Lockhart, A.
Chapman, Sir M.L.C. Mackenzie, T.
Chapman, A. Mackenzie, W. F.
Chute, W. L. W. Mackinnon, W. A.
Clive, hon. R. H. Mahon, Viscount
Copeland, Mr. Ald. Maunsell, T. P.
Corry, hon. H. Miles, P. W S.
Dalrymple, Sir A. Morris, D.
Darby, G. Nicholl, J.
De Horsey, S. H. Palmer, G.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Peel, J.
Duncombe, hon. W. Pemberton, T.
Ellis, J. Polhill, F.
Farnham, E. B. Powerscourt, Visct.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Rae, rt. hon. Sir W.
Gaskell, J. M. Reid, Sir J. R.
Gladstone, W. E. Richards, R.
Gordon, hn. Captain Rose rt. hon. Sir G.
Gordon, R. Salwey, Colonel
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Scrope, G. P.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Grimsditch, T. Smith, R. V.
Grimston, Viscount Somerset, Lord G.
Hastie, A. Stanley, Lord
Henniker, Lord Sugden, rt. hn. Sir E.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Surrey, Earl of
Herbert, hon. S. Sutton, hn. J. H. T. M.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. Tancred, H. W.
Hodgson, F. Turner, W.
Hodgson, R. Vere, Sir C. B.
Holmes, hon. W. A. Villiers, Lord
Waddington, H. S. Wrightson, W. B.
Walsh, Sir J. Young, J.
Whitmore, T. C.
Williams, R. TELLERS.
Wodehouse, E. Fremantle, Sir T
Wood, Colonel Trench Sir F.