HC Deb 30 April 1858 vol 149 cc2095-7

Order for Second Reading read.


said, he rose to move the Second Reading of this Bill, which it could hardly be necessary to discuss at that stage, as it was not a new measure, nor founded on a new principle. It was merely an Amendment of the Board of Health Bill of 1848. The only novel provision in it was the abolition of the General Board of Health in London, and leaving it to every town in the kingdom to adopt the powers of local Government which it conferred, without reference to the General Board of Health, or without being subject to its control. No doubt, if any hon. Members were in favour of the retention of that Board, that would be a ground for delaying the second reading; but he believed that no such persons would be found. The remaining provisions of the Bill were merely matters of detail, which would be much more advantageously discussed in Committee, of which ample notice should be given. He would only add, that his official experience had quite confirmed all those objections which he had previously entertained and expressed to the exercise of the powers and functions vested in and performed by the Board of Health. He thought it was better to leave localities to settle their own affairs, than to transfer them to a central authority.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."


said, his opposition went to the principle of the Bill, hut if there were not other objections to its being read a second time, he thought it was a valid vice that the Bill had been so recently printed that the towns interested in the measure had not yet had time to express their opinion upon it. The present Bill would give to local Boards the powers which the right hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Cowper) by his Bill proposed to confer on a central Board, and if driven to a choice, he should prefer the central Board, as likely to be composed of persons of more general knowledge and less liable to be mixed up with local jobs. It was impossible at so late an hour (it was past twelve o'clock) to go on with a Bill of that kind, and he trusted another period would be fixed for its discussion.


said, that the Bill contained much to which he assented. The right hon. Gentleman assumed that the abolition of the Board of Health would be universally popular, but during the ten years in which it had superintended sanitary affairs, its proceedings had been such as to induce all friends of sanitary improvement to attach very great importance to the existence of such a department connected with the Government. He therefore did not think it desirable that the House should proceed to the abolition of that Board without the statement of any reasons, and without having the opportunity of at least pronouncing a funeral oration over it. He trusted that the second reading of the Bill would not be pressed at that moment, or that it should be understood that there would be a discussion as to its principle upon the Motion for going into Committee on the measure.


said, he hoped the second reading would not be pressed, seeing that the Bill had been but a very short time in the hands of hon. Members. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) might think it very desirable to abolish the Board of Health, but other persons might not be of that opinion. He (Sir George Pechell) begged to move the adjournment of the debate.


said, that he was connected with a town that had been waiting fifteen years for such a Bill as the present, but he despaired of ever seeing it passed, if there was to be a dogmatic opposition to its progress and to the cause of comfort and public health. He should give his support to the Bill.


said, he thought it quite reasonable to give an opportunity to the friends of the Board of Health to pronounce a funeral oration. He thought that the objects of all parties would be met by arranging that the Bill should be read a second time now; that a full opportunity for considering it should be given in Committee; and that it should not be taken in Committee till the 3rd of June.


remarked that there was a new principle involved in the Bill, as power was given to take lands without a previous application to Parliament.


said, he would support the Motion for the adjournment of the debate.


observed, that he would support the second reading, on the understanding that a discussion should be taken in Committee.


said, he would consent to the second reading on the same ground.

Question put, and agreed to:—Bill read 2°, and committed for Thursday, 3rd of June.

House adjourned at half-after Twelve o'clock, till Monday next.