HC Deb 10 March 1856 vol 140 cc2193-4

said, he wished the right hon. Gentleman the Clerk of the Ordnance would explain the intention of the Government with regard to barrack accommodation.


said, he had requested the Inspector General of Fortifications to provide greater accommodation in the new barracks agreeably to the recommendations of a Committee which had reported on the subject, and, as it was impossible to have a different system of accommodation prevailing in different barracks, it was intended to ask for a Vote on account, towards bringing up the existing to the same level as the new barracks, upon the principle of applying to that purpose £40,000 or £50,000 every year, instead of £1,000,000 or £1,200,000 at once.


said, he wished to know when the Clerk of the Ordnance would be able to lay on the table an account of the expenditure on the new establishment at Enfield?


said, he had received such a Return that day, and he should have no objection to present it to Parliament.


said, he wished to direct the attention of the Government to defects in the new barracks at Devonport. There was no accommodation for the wives of soldiers. The roofs were made of concrete, on the top of which was asphalt, and the asphalt was so bad that the water was continually leaking through and causing constant repairs. He was told by an officer of engineers, that the authorities of the Ordnance were warned against using this inferior asphalt, as unsuitable for the purpose; and events have proved the correctness of that opinion. The upper rooms were quite unfit to be inhabited. The moisture from the bodies of the soldiers ascended to the roof, became condensed and fell upon their beds, and the men suffered so much from damp arising from that cause that the major-general commanding had been obliged to order additional rugs to keep them dry. It was said that roofs of lath and plaster were to be put under the present roofs to remedy the evil. The yard, though long enough for three battalions in line, was not wide enough for half a battalion, so that it was perfectly useless for the exercise of the troops within the barracks. There was ample space for the yard to have been made of sufficient size, but as an expensive gateway had been built and the wall was up he supposed that there would be some difficulty now in enlarging it.


said, he had not quite gathered from the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it was the intention of the Government to provide specifically in the Appropriation Act that the Votes taken on account of one department should not be made applicable for another, otherwise it might be at the option of the Minister of War to apply monies voted on account of the army to the purposes of the ordnance, or vice versâ.


said, the division of the different items in the Votes for the War Department did not correspond exactly with the old division between the Army and Ordnance departments. The old division was objected to as inconvenient and founded upon no intelligible principle.


said, he would remind the House that on Friday night, the Clerk of the Ordnance having apprised them of certain painful disclosures with reference to the mortars supplied by a contractor, the Committee called for the name of the firm that had so grossly imposed upon the Government of the country. Now, he was one of those who objected to the name being given; but, upon reflection, he thought it ought to be so, and therefore he would ask whether there was any objection to lay upon the table a copy of the contract, as well as the correspondence with the parties concerned; and also he should like to know whether the mortars in question had been submitted to proof at Woolwich.

Resolution reported.