HC Deb 18 April 1856 vol 141 cc1184-9

said, that with the permission of the House he would occupy a few minutes in explaining what was proposed with regard to this matter. The Select Committee to which it had been referred had considered from plans which had been proposed with a view of affording convenience to the public in connection with a road through the park. The first line of communication was that commencing in Pall Mall, passing through the German Chapel, proceeding along the paved road into the Mall, and then, branching westward, going in front of the Palace and out by Buckingham Gate. The next was a foot bridge over the ornamental water in St. James's Park. The third was road from Waterloo Place to the Mall, terminating near Storey's Gate; and the fourth was by an opening at the east end of the Mall to Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square. Dealing with the last proposition first, he found that nothing could be done in that direction without an Act of Parliament, because the property did not belong to the Crown or to lessees of the Crown, and could be dealt with only by means of a private Bill. He did not propose, therefore, to take any Vote in relation to that estimate this year. It was also a question whether the expense of a matter of that kind ought not to be partially borne by the funds of the Metropolitan Board of Works. With regard to the road from Pall Mall to Buckingham Gate, it would commence, as he had already explained, in Pall Mall, pass through the German Chapel, proceed along the paved road into the Mall, and then go in front of the Palace, and out at Buckingham Gate. That line had been considered by the Committee, and the estimate of the expense at which it could be made was £21,900, a sum which included the expense of taking down and rebuilding the German Chapel, but which did not include the cost of a site for that chapel. That road was one which he proposed should be made, and it was his intention to move an estimate in relation to it. The next line was one which was proposed for the accommodation of pedestrians by means of a bridge across I the ornamental water, and he proposed to move an estimate for that line, which would, he believed, be a great accommodation to the public. When a bridge of that description did exist it had been found most useful, and he had seen documents which proved that there was a strong feeling against its removal, and also that requisitions had been made to the Treasury for its reconstruction, in consequence of which the Treasury had agreed to advance £8,000 for that purpose; but that recon- struction had never taken place. The other line proposed was one from Waterloo Place, through the Mall, and thence to Storey's Gate. The adoption of that line had been carried in the Committee by his casting vote as Chairman, and he felt bound to say that he still adhered to the opinion that that road would form a most useful opening, and would very materially relieve the increasing traffic in the neighbourhood of Charing Cross. He regretted, however, being compelled to say that some difficulty had arisen which might suspend the commencement of that undertaking. In the year 1826 George IV. vacated Carlton House for Buckingham Palace, and he then desired that the ground upon which Carlton House was situated should be let upon building leases; and consequently plans were drawn out and submitted to persons who were desirous of becoming lessees of the Crown, and in the leases a covenant was introduced that the lessees should have the enjoyment of an uninterrupted terrace from east to west. Representations had been made that it would be a great convenience that the public should have a road from Waterloo Place to the Mall; but that suggestion was not acceded to. Subsequently to that time, and soon after the accession of William IV., the proposition was renewed, and a road was commenced which cut the terrace in half, and the lessees protested against what they considered to be an infringement of the rights conferred upon them under their leases. The opinions of Sir James Scarlett and Sir Edward Sugden, the then law officers of the Crown, were taken as to whether the lessees could, under the terms of their leases, successfully resist the construction of the road which was then proposed, and those eminent persons agreed in thinking that they could make a successful resistance. In consequence of that opinion negotiations were entered into between the Office of Works and the lessees, which ended in the lessees withdrawing their opposition upon condition of having their ground rents reduced, and agreeing to the construction of that road by which the public could now pass down the steps by the Duke of York's column. He had himself been of opinion that the results of that negotiation were conclusive; but, in consequence of a statement which had been made by a noble Lord in another place, he had felt it to be his duty to look more fully into the matter, and he found that some difficulties might exist as to carrying nut the proposed line. Those difficulties, however, were not, he believed, insuperable, but still he feared that it would not be within his power to move an estimate for that road immediately. He thought, however, that when noble Lords and hon. Gentlemen who lived upon Carlton Terrace, saw that the Queen herself had consented to carriages passing tinder Her own windows, they would not throw obstacles in the way of the construction of this important thoroughfare. He knew that there was a great objection entertained to the removal of the Duke of York's column, and he found that the road could be made on either side of it as wide as many of those which led into the public parks, and, therefore, he should not propose the removal of that column. The roads, therefore, which he proposed to make were, first, a road commencing in Pall Mall, passing through the German Chapel, and proceeding along the paved road into the Mall, thence passing in front of the Palace, and running out by Buckingham Gate; and the other was a road for the convenience of pedestrians, which would run over the ornamental water by means of a bridge. It was his intention to move the estimates for those works during the following week, and, if it should be the pleasure of the House to agree to them, he would press forward the works with the greatest possible dispatch, and he believed that, when concluded, it would be found that they would provide accommodation sufficient for all requirements.


asked what the expense of the bridge across the water would be? He hoped the House would look narrowly into the subject before it sanctioned so large an expenditure for what were called improvements. The estimates, it appeared, would amount to between £40,000 and £50,000, and he did not think they ought to incur such an expense now, without necessity, seeing that the expenditure of the country, last year, was £88,500,000. He was afraid that a carriage-road into the Park, past the Duke of York's column, would encroach upon the comforts of pedestrians.


said, it would be a great convenience to Members coming down to the House if a scheme could be devised for relieving the traffic along Pall Mall. When the right hon. Baronet introduced the estimates he hoped this point would be taken into consideration.


said, that by a very simple arrangement great convenience might be afforded to the public, and which, at the same time, would obviate the objection made by the right hon. Baronet as to the danger of collision that would arise from allowing the passage of cabs by the Stable Yard, which was, that all carriages should be required to go from Pall Mall into St. James's Park through the Stable Yard, and should come from St. James's Park into Pall Mall by the road between Marlborough House and St. James's Palace. By this means all danger would be avoided, and it would obviate the necessity of expending a large sum of money for the accommodation desired by the public.


wished to impress upon the right hon. Baronet that he succeeded during the recess in obtaining the consent of the tenants of the Crown to afford this access to the Park, yet he should remember that this was a question bearing upon the convenience and comfort of the public; and he hoped, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman would not proceed to any ulterior action until the House had had an opportunity of considering it, and deciding upon it.


said, that it appeared to him, as a Member of the Committee, very strange that the right hon. Baronet should not have furnished himself with information as to the opinions of the holders of property in Carlton House Gardens under the Crown before he came to the House with a scheme upon this subject. With regard to the Duke of York's column, the right hon. Baronet proposed to the Committee a scheme for making a road on each side of the column, which, on being submitted to the Committee, was unanimously rejected; and he (Mr. Hut-chins) was very much surprised that the proposition was now brought forward to carry that scheme into operation.


expressed a hope that the proposition to alter the road at the Duke of York's column would not be readily assented to. If the right hon. Baronet was anxious to spend the public money by taking down statues he thought it was the general opinion of all strangers who visited London that the present position of the Duke of Wellington's statue on the Marble Arch was the apotheosis of bad taste in this country. It struck him that the statue of that great man should have been placed in Chelsea Hospital. He could conceive no place better, for there he would be surrounded by his own veterans who had fought with him in battle.


moved, "That this House will, at the rising of the House this day, adjourn till Monday next."


moved, as an Amendment, that the House at its rising should adjourn till Thursday next.


thought he was going to an extreme length with regard to the state of public business and with respect to the duty which he owed to his constituents, in giving notice that he would move on Monday next that the House should adjourn to Thursday. He was, therefore, by no means prepared to assent to the Motion of the hon. Member.

Motion agreed to.