HC Deb 03 August 1860 vol 160 cc628-30

House in Committee; Mr. MASSBY in the Chair.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £39,597, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge for Works and Expenses at the New Houses of Parliament, to the 31st day of March 1861.


asked whether the coating now being put on the stonework of the Houses was done by contract, or how; and whether there was more than one kind of wash applied?


said, he wished to refer to the erection of the statues of British Sovereigns, and to ask whether it was intended to erect a statue to Cromwell, who had done more to introduce just laws into this country, and to lay the foundation of its liberties, than any ruler that had preceded him?


said, he thought it was in the very worst possible taste to paint the interior of the House. There was a charge for removing the mud of the river. Now the bed of the Thames belonged to the Crown and the conservators, and ho thought that they ought to remove the mud. He wished to know where the new stables for the Speaker were? He trusted an answer would be given to the question respecting the series of royal statues. Where would the series begin? At £800 per statue, the series from the Conqueror would cost no less than £28,000.


said, he wished to have an explanation as to the item of £4,300 for warming and ventilation. He found that the largeness of the item was a good deal owing to the imperfect state of the chimneys. Many of the rooms were uninhabitable on account of smoke, and it was found necessary to burn coke.


said, the system of ventilating and warming the House as arranged by Dr. Reed required the consumption of a great deal of fuel, and it could not be denied that it led to a great deal of smoke. The works were under the direction of Mr. Gurney, and ho did all in his power to economise the expenditure, but the expense was, nevertheless, very considerable. He did not, however, see how it could be obviated without very extensive alterations. The rule was never to let the temperature of the House fall below 56 degrees; and there was, therefore, a necessity for artificial heat during a great portion of the year.

As to the coating of the stone, a Vote of £10,000 was last year taken for that purpose, and the paper then laid on the table showed that great pains had been taken to ascertain the best process for the preservation of the stone. Under the advice of Professor Faraday and others he had entered into a contract for the coating of certain portions of the building, under the direction of M. Sczerelmy, at 1s. a yard and some extras.

With regard to the statues, it was unnecessary for him to follow the hon. Member for Lambeth into any historical discus- sion. The statues were to be erected in accordance with a Report of the Pine Arts Commission in 1845, and each of the Sovereigns of this country was to have one; but he was not prepared to say whether a statue to Cromwell would be included. However, a good many years would elapse before they came in chronological order to Cromwell. The charge for removing mud from the Thames was a very small one—£175.


complained of the want of a few rooms in which Members might receive their constituents. It was not at all clear that Sczerelmy's process was the best. It appeared to be only a sort of whitewash, whereas Mr. Dean's process acted chemically upon the stone, and appeared to harden it considerably. He would suggest that a court be done by each process, and then hon. Members might next year judge for themselves which seemed the most likely to answer.

House resumed. Committee report Progress: to sit again this day.

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