HC Deb 31 July 1851 vol 118 cc1780-2

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

Clause 1, authorising the Treasury to advance 137,000l. for the purchase of two Cemeteries.


wished to ask whether the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer did not think that the Board of Health would ask for money next Session? He fully believed that they would come to him for at least 500,000l.


said, that the important question for the House was, not whether they would ask for it, but whether they would got it. He willingly admitted that the present system was a bad one, but until they had a better let them not refuse the Board of Health the means of doing that which, if not essential to the public health, was at all events very desirable. They had only applied for this money because they had been unable to obtain it from other sources whence it was expected that they could have procured it. In order to entitle the Board to close any graveyard, they must have the means of offering another place of burial, and they could neither close one yard nor provide another without funds.


wished to know how it was that the Committee was asked to advance money out of the Consolidated Fund, when, by the Act of last year the Board of Health had the power of laying a penny rate?


said, that the Board of Health could not lay the rate until they had closed a burial ground; but they could not do that until they had opened another place of burial. That they could not do without purchasing the two Cemeteries in question, for which purpose this advance was required. The penny rate would not raise the purchase money.


thought that the Board of Health should have provided burial places at a distance of some miles from London; he believed that might have been done for a much less sum than was required for these two Cemeteries in the immediate neighbourhood of London.


said, that it was only requisite to close burial grounds that were full, and as he did not see that the owners of such grounds had any right to be compensated, he thought that all that was necessary was, to pass an Act enabling the Board of Health to close graveyards when full. He objected to this Bill that it had the effect of converting the Board of Health into a speculative joint-stock company of undertakers. He thought that, instead of passing this measure, they should give the Board of Health the supervision of all burial grounds throughout the kingdom, and that it should be in their power when a burial ground was proved to be a nuisance, to put an end to it by steps like those prescribed under the Nuisances Removal Act, without providing compensation; and the proprietors should be empowered to obtain another burial ground, at a suitable distance from the thickly-inhabited districts. He would give the Board of Health control over the the whole of the graveyards of the kingdom, and power to close them immediately they became a nuisance.


must call upon the Committee to look narrowly into the consequence of voting this large sum of money. He entirely agreed with the hon. Member for St. Albans (Mr. J. Bell), that the direct tendency of the Bill would be to convert the Public Health Commissioners into a great company of undertakers. He would not say it was a job, but the appearance of the Bill was most ugly: if he could get a respectable number of hon. Members to join him, he would divide the Committee against it.


thought if compensation were to be given to the Cemeteries, it would be far better to buy them out at once. He did not see how, under the circumstances, the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer could do otherwise than come to that House for the money. The money being thus provided, in the first instance, the Board could come upon the different parishes for reimbursement. He was at a loss to conceive whence the opposition to the Bill arose.

Clause agreed to; as were the remaining Clauses.

On Question, "That the Bill be reported,"


said, that the hon. Members who were opposed to voting this large sum of 137,000l., having done all in their power to resist the Bill, would now take the division on the present stage.


wished to be distinctly understood that the Members who now voted against the Bill were not in favour of intramural interment, but, on the contrary, decidedly opposed to it. They voted against the Bill on the ground that they were hostile to giving 137,000l., to be disposed of in the manner proposed.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman report the Bill, with the Amendments, to the House."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 42; Noes 7: Majority 35.

House resumed; Bill reported as amended.

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