HC Deb 24 March 1848 vol 97 cc1014-7

House in a Committee of Supply.

On the question that 40,000l. be granted for the scientific branch of the service,


wished to ask the hon. and gallant Officer (Col. Anson), whether any portion of this vote was to be given for the survey of London for the purposes of the Health of Towns Bill?


replied, that a portion of it would be devoted for that purpose; but the subject would come before them in detail on a future occasion.


wished, before the vote was put, some more definite answer was given to the question of the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Wyld), as to whether the ordnance survey of the metropolis was to be defrayed out of this vote. It was desirable to know whether it would be necessary to suspend the surveys in the other parts of the country to proceed with that of London. He hoped that they would not suspend the surveys in other parts of the country; for if they were stopped, it would entail great expense hereafter. He hoped the hon. and gallant Gentleman would explain more fully what was the nature of the vote now proposed, and what was the expense of the survey of the metropolis.


would in the first place answer the last question of the noble Lord. The whole amount of the charge in the Ordnance estimates for the surveys of the United Kingdom was 60,000l., and the charge for surveying the metropolis would of course form a considerable item. The expense of the survey of London was at present the charge for triangulation, upon which comparatively few persons were employed, and the expense up to the end of the month would be about 1,000l. The charge for block plans and engraving would be comparatively large. The block plans would cost between 4,000l. or 5,000l., and the engravings nearly 19,000l. He should state also, there were several other surveys going on for the purpose of engraving plans of large towns. He had been asked by an hon. Member whether the Government intended to have ordnance surveys made of other towns for the purposes of the Health of Towns Bill. There were already in existence a great number of ordnance surveys of large towns many of them engraved, or being engraved. There was a greater demand for such surveys for towns in the manufacturing districts than for those of less importance. Certainly it was not intended to propose such a survey for all the towns in England. It became a question of expense, and it was obvious that such a proceeding must be attended with great expense; but of course it was a matter for the consideration of the House.


had not yet heard a distinct answer to the question as to who was to pay for the survey of the metropolis and other towns. He certainly had heard that the survey was to be made by the Ordnance, but had never heard that London or other large towns were not to pay for the expense out of their local funds.


said, that the money came out of the Treasury. The Chancellor of the Exchequer gave to the Ordnance Department permission to draw on account of the expenses, which were estimated at 1,000l. to the 1st of April. But 500l. was the amount to be paid in advance for the present. How the whole of the cost was to be finally paid he could not say: that, he conceived, was a question which would lie with the House of Commons. For his own part, he thought the City of London might contribute a portion of it.


thought the survey for the Sanitary Commission was entirely unnecessary. It was calculated that it would cost 25,000l. But he was satisfied it would cost at least 200,000l. The Dublin survey had cost nearly 200,000l. with the cost of engraving; and it was proposed that there should be a simple block survey of the metropolis at a cost of 20,000l. [Colonel ANSON: it was 15,000l.] It could not be completed for the money. The whole metropolis had been already surveyed under the Parochial Assessment Act, and there could be no need of a further survey. That survey had cost the inhabitants 300,000l., and they would object to submit to a further demand. A level, indeed, was wanted; but that could be prepared from the parochial survey at a cost of 15,000l., without bringing a number of surveyors from the northern districts.


thought that with the uncertainty which existed with regard to the block plan, they would be blockheads if they thus voted 1,000l. to get in the wedge for this triangulation; and where the expense was to end, no person could tell. He did not think they understood what they were going to do, and submitted that the vote should be postponed.


did not intend to shrink from any representation he had made to his colleagues of the Government. He did not see that there was any injustice to the country in large in doing for London what the inhabitants of London were doing for the country at large. A certain sum was voted every year for the Ordnance survey of the United Kingdom; other towns in the country were now in the course of regular survey; and when it was considered of importance, with a view to sanitary improvements, that a survey should be commenced in London, he did not see the injustice of taking a portion of the sum voted for the whole kingdom, and applying it to the commencement of that work.


said, the noble Lord (Lord Morpeth) thought there was no injustice in taxing the rest of the country for this survey of the metropolis; but here, in reality, rested the whole of the question. In the noble Lord's Bill, at least as originally introduced, a provision was made that every town which was surveyed for sanitary purposes was to pay, by a rate imposed upon it, the expense of such survey. If the various towns throughout the country were, in pursuance of that provision, to be obliged to pay such expenses, then undoubtedly it would be a great injustice to take a large and wealthy city like London out of the category. If they paid for the survey of London, why should they not adopt the same rule with regard to York, Nottingham, Bristol, and other towns? In that case, instead of those towns being rated for the expense of the survey, they too must have their surveys paid for at the public expense. This was not a vote for 1,000l., but for a much larger sum, and he thought that the House ought to know what the whole estimate would be. It bad been stated at from 20,000l. to 25,000l. In a Bill which he had himself proposed to bring in six years ago, the original estimate was between 20,000l. and 30,000l., but it gradually rose to above 100,000l., when he pressed for a more accurate estimate. He trusted, therefore, that the noble Lord would be prepared with full information before he asked the House for a second vote.

Vote agreed to.

House resumed and adjourned at half-past One o'clock.