HC Deb 18 March 1847 vol 91 cc186-8

, in moving for— A Select Committee to inquire into the necessity for the removal of Smithfield market, as a nuisance in the centre of the British metropolis, to some appropriate site comprising an area of not less than 12 acres, and the establishment of abattoirs in the vicinity of London,"— said he was happy to inform the House that it would not be necessary for him to trespass on their attention, as his Motion was not opposed. He had been requested, however, by the Members of the city of London, to postpone the nomination of the Committee; and in order that every facility should be given to each side for thoroughly sifting the question, he should name Monday week, as that on which he should nominate the Committee.


There was a report on the subject of the hon. Gentleman's Motion in the year 1828; and he believed the city of Loudon had adopted many of the improvements suggested in that report, and had enlarged the area of the market. But still it was undeniable that there remained great ground of complaint, both as to the safety for life and the health of the neighbouring district. He was, therefore, glad to find that the Members for the city of London did not oppose the Motion for still further inquiry. Still less was there any disposition on the part of Government to oppose any obstacle to the appointment of a Committee; but he thought it only fair to all the interests concerned that no proceedings should be taken without due consideration.


As the proposal of the hon. Gentleman very much affected the interests of the county which he represented, he should have thought it his duty to enter into detail, if the hon. Gentleman had entered upon the consideration of the question. As the hon. Gentleman, however, had not gone into detail on one side, he should avoid doing so on the other. But he thought it right to say, that none of those with whom he was connected, at all wished to avoid the appointment of a Committee; and he believed that that appointment would be productive of the best consequences.


He had been requested by a large body of his constituents to oppose this Motion; but he really could not, as he believed it to be of the greatest public importance that the evils of the present system should be exposed by a full and searching inquiry. The present practice was attended with great cruelty, and he trusted that the result of the inquiry would give full satisfaction, not only to the metropolis, but to the country at large.


suggested the propriety of the market being held on a Tuesday instead of Monday. At present, by the preparations for the market, the Sabbath-day was much infringed upon; and an old Smithfield drover once told him, that he had not either had rest or been at any place of divine service for forty years on the Sunday, having been always either on the road for Smithfield or preparing for it. He could not see any good reason which could be urged against the change.


suggested that if Smithfield market were abolished, abattoirs should be established in the outskirts of London, as otherwise the removal of the market from the centre to any extremity of London would increase the nuisance instead of diminishing it, by driving cattle from one end of the town to the other.


I beg to say that that idea is mine, and I am very proud of it.


recommended that Government should take this matter into their own hands.


replied, and said he should be extremely happy to leave the matter in the hands of the Government; or if the Committee were granted, he would take care that it should be impartial.

Motion agreed to.