HC Deb 21 June 1861 vol 163 cc1419-20

said, he wished to ask the First Commissioner of Works, Whether it is intended to contribute Public Money towards the maintenance of the fabric of St. Margaret's Church, the religious service of this House being already provided for by an expenditure on St. Stephen's Chapel? And whether it might not be preferable to take steps for removing to another spot St. Margaret's Church from the Abbey Yard?


said, St. Margaret's Church had for many years been the place of worship used by both Houses of Parliament on public occasions, and there were also seats reserved in the Church for Members of both Houses at the usual services on Sundays. On those grounds it had been the practice for many years for Parliament to make grants whenever extensive repairs were made in that Church During the last 100 years there had been six occasions on which considerable sums were voted by the House of Commons to aid in the repairs of the Church. It was not in his contemplation to propose any grant for that purpose, because a sum was voted in a former year, and the sum to which the hon. Member had alluded was one which had already been voted. There had been some difference of opinion among persons of taste as to the general effect of the removal of the Church. It served as a foil to enhance the beauty and size of the Abbey, and it concealed the junction with Henry VII.'s Chapel. However, a Committee of this House some years ago recommended that the Church should be removed, and an estimate was made by the late Sir Charles Barry of the cost of another site and of re-erecting the Church. That estimate was a very large one, and nothing had been done, and he had nothing under consideration with regard to that question.