HC Deb 20 May 1851 vol 116 cc1162-5

, in moving that the House at its rising do adjourn until Thursday, said it has been the custom for the last three years not to sit upon the Derby Day. He found upon looking at the paper for to-morrow, that there was really no business to be done, so that if they did not consent to adjourn, the effect would be to oblige the clerks of the House to sit there all day, even although there was nothing for them to do. It was not for the sake of the Members he made this Motion, for they would most probably go to the Derby whether the House sat or not; but for the sake of the clerks, who would suffer the inconvenience to which he referred, without any advantage being reaped by the Members or the public. He would remind them that they would be deprived this year of a holiday which they usually obtained, by the fact of Her Majesty's birthday being held upon a Saturday.


seconded the Motion.


said, he did not mean to divide the House against the Motion, but he thought it was not too much to give way to horseracing and horsemen to the extent that was done. Since last year a part of Kensington. Gardens had been taken possession of in a way that was most unreasonable. The noble Lord at the head of the Woods and Forests had given his assent in a most unaccountable way to the encroachment of riders upon those gardens; and he should have liked the House to meet to-morrow, in order that the noble Lord might slate who were the applicants at whose instance he had broken through a rule that had existed for so many ages, and by which pedestrians were permitted to use Kensington Gardens without being disturbed by people on horseback. He wished to know if the noble Lord had set public opinion at defiance, and made this innovation on the rights of the people of his own accord, or whether it had been done on the petition of the equestrians themselves. There was in this matter a kind of compact that ought to have been kept; but the noble Lord, disregarding the wishes of the people of Kensington and Marylebone, had consented, for the sake of a few individuals whom nobody knew, to break entirely through it. No public man bad ever treated with so much contempt the interest and claims of the citizens as the noble Lord had done. He would not put the House to the trouble of dividing, but he wished to hear some explanation upon this matter. He did not object to the horsemen going to the Derby, but he did object to their intrusion upon Kensington Gardens, in the neighbourhood of which many people had taken houses solely on account of the quiet and retirement they enjoyed there with their families. He was sure that if the noble Lord had known the strong feeling which would have, been created by his conduct in this matter, he would not have acted in the way he had done.


said, the lion. Gentleman seemed to think that it was a good opportunity for discussing every kind of horsemanship when they were on the subject of the Derby. As the House had listened to the hon. Member for Montrose, he hoped they would also listen to him, while he, as one of the public, tendered his thanks to the noble Lord at the head of the Woods and Forests for the accommodation he had extended to those who, like the hon. Member for Montrose and himself, liked to take exercise on horseback. He did not know whether the hon. Gentleman had yet extended his rides to Kensington Gardens; but, if not, he was sure that when he did so, be would come to the opinion that the accommodation for riders had been given without the slightest infraction upon the comfort and convenience of those who loved to walk in Kensington Gardens. So well had the matter been arranged, that the people had the most ample room to walk, while hundreds of acres were unencroached upon.


wished to add his thanks to the noble Lord at the head of the Woods and Forests for the very excellent accommodation he had given to riders in Kensington Gardens. The hon. Member for Montrose was quite mistaken on this subject, and he would venture to say that in point of numbers the riders accommodated were five to one of the pedestrians. He would undertake to say, that the pedestrians were just as numerous in Kensington Gardens now as before. He was a good witness in this respect, for he did not think any one had taken so much advantage of Kensington Gardens as he had done for many years past.


, said, there was only one point on which he wished to meet the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume). The hon. Member said he was speaking on behalf of the people who were excluded from walking in Kensington Gardens. Now, he had in his hands a memorial, which the hon. Member (Mr. Hume) had sent himself, for the purpose of inducing him to keep the gardens closed against riders. The great argument with the memorialists was, "that it would be impossible then to shut out the great public from the amusement of witnessing the display of horses and horsemanship so interesting to our country men." The House of Commons was the representative of the public, and he had now to ask that House of Commons to take the part of the "great public" against the hon. Member for Montrose, who was there on that occasion as the representative of the executive aristocracy of Bayswater. Then the hon. Member talked of innovation. A complaint of innovation from the hon. Member for Montrose! Why, what had he been doing all his life but insisting on innovation? He spoke of what had existed centuries ago. Now, he (Lord Seymour) had looked back to authorities on this point, and he found that 100 years ago Kensington Gardens were never open but on Saturday, and then only to those who went there in court dress. He really thought the interests of the public were best consulted by making such arrangements as had now been made. When the Exhibition was open at the reduced price, and great crowds of pedestrians were pressing towards it, it would be absolutely necessary to exclude the riders from that part of the ground which they now used, and therefore some other locality must be open for them. He usually consulted the police in all these arrangements, and he must say that on the present occasion the arrangement which had been come to, if imperfect, would at all events be supplied by the good sense of the people.


willingly bore testimony to the great improvament of the new arrangement as it affected the public convenience. The fact was that the hon. Member for Montrose was the supporter of a monopoly claimed by certain parties who lived on both sides of Kensington Gardens, who felt a peculiar pleasure in making these grounds their own private gardens. The hon. Gentleman had the audacity to propose that horse-riding should be allowed in Hyde Park instead of Kensington Gardens. Now, any person who was in the habit of going into Hyde Park would find that for one person who walked in Kensington Gardens there were twenty to be found in Hyde Park. It was, therefore, wisdom to accommodate the riders at a distance from the metropolis, and the pedestrians as near to it as possible.

Motion agreed to.

House at rising to adjourn till Thursday.

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