HC Deb 24 July 1858 vol 151 cc2074-6

Order for Third Reading read.


said, he rose not for the purpose of opposing the Bill, but in order to protest for the last time against the drainage of the metropolis being handed over to a body in whom the public had no confidence. He entered his protest also against the plan of drainage by intercepting sewers which was about to be carried cut. The English people hailed with the greatest satisfaction the discovery of any now guano islands, and sent ships thousands of miles for a substance the elements of which it now proposed to throw away as useless and valueless. He protested against the wasteful and extravagant system of throwing away what had been justly called a "mine of wealth," and adopting at the same time a system of gigantic tunnels, which could only be beneficial to the engineer, while they would be most costly to the community and injurious to the public interest, and which would be setting a miserable example of incapacity to the whole civilized world.


said, he could not refrain from expressing his opinion of the very unsatisfactory organization of the Board of Works. It was most desirable, if this Bill were passed, that they should look forward to the time when the Board would be of greater weight, and would include among its members some with greater capability for carrying on the great work, and possessing in a higher degree the confidence of the country. As at present composed, the Board consisted, with few exceptions, of persons with no peculiar qualification whatever for the duties entrusted to them. He wished to give notice that next year, if the Government did not take up the subject of the local government of the metropolis, he should feel it his duty to bring the question before the House. He wished also to correct an erroneous opinion which had been entertained of what he had said during the previous debate on this Bill. On that occasion he by no means intended to express an opinion favourable to taking the City funds and distributing them over the large area of the metropolis; what he had stated was that it would be desirable the districts formed under this Act should be converted into separate municipalities, and that from each of these a delegate should be sent to the general Board of Works which might eventually be formed for the management of the metropolis.


said, that now that the Board was about to be entrusted with great and important duties he hoped they would talk less and do a great deal more than they had hitherto done.


remarked, that this Bill had been forced upon the Government by a panic rather than with dignity, and that it had been prepared with haste rather than with due consideration. He approved of that principle of the Bill which imposed upon the Board of Works the duty of carrying out these works without any restriction, for had it been otherwise the House would have been involved in the blame which must have resulted from the failure of the work over which they claimed to exercise supervision. He believed that notwithstanding the great array of engineering authorities in its favour the intercepting system would be found both costly and inefficient, and would, in addition, lead to the waste of a most valuable element of fertilization, and the expenditure of large sums of money upon works which would actually become obsolete before they were completed. He regretted that the existing Act had not received greater attention in the late Parliament. The present engineering advisers of the Board of Works would not, in his opinion, propose any scheme which would not be a most disastrous failure, and he earnestly hoped that the ratepayers of the metropolis, who were alone represented in the Board, would look very sharply after the conduct of their representatives.


observed, that in dealing with the metropolitan sewage they had begun altogether at the wrong end. He believed that the old system of carting away the sewage from the cespools at night might have been continued without inconvenience to the public, and would have avoided the wasteful throwing of the sewage into the river.

Bill read 3o and passed.