HC Deb 19 March 1861 vol 162 cc96-8

Order for Second Reading read.


moved the second reading of the Metropolis Local Management Acts Amendment Bill.

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


moved, as an Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time this day six months. In this Bill the interests of 3,000,000 people were involved, and although it might not be a question in which the House generally took an interest, still it was of the greatest importance to the inhabitants of the Metropolis. This was an attack on local self-government; it was an attempt to transfer from the vestries the power they possessed, and to transfer it to the Metropolitan Board of Works. That body had had transferred to them, some three or four years ago, the main drainage of this Metropolis. He wanted to know what they had done since that time. They had, according to the opinion of the late Member for Honiton (Mr. Locke), commenced at the wrong end. Instead of beginning with the low level sewer they had begun with the high level. There were other duties imposed upon the Board. There was the improvement of the Metropolis. What had been done to effect that? His constituents were unfortunately placed under the Board of Works. The sum of £94,000 was handed over by the Corporation of London to the Metropolitan Board to make a new street through the Borough from the High Street to Stamford Street, by which it would be continued to Westminster Bridge, and thus relieve the traffic in the crowded streets on the other Bide of the river, which, to some extent, would do away with the necessity of forming the Thames Embankment; but they had thrown the High Street in the Borough into a state of desolation. They had taken down the best houses; and for eighteen months matters had remained in the same state, and no further progress had been made, occasioning an immense loss to the ratepayers in St. Saviour's. They had also formed a little street from the corner of King Street, Covent Garden, to Long Acre, for which they also had a large sum of money advanced to them; but so imperfectly was this work executed that they had actually left a house standing which projected into the roadway. These were examples of what the Board would do when they obtained greater powers. But if the Members of the Board did little for the public they had done something for themselves. They had built a little palace for themselves in Spring Gardens which would cost from £40,000 to £50,000. It was monstrous for the Board to come to Parliament to ask for extended powers, when they could not point to any useful work effected by them, and without explaining to Parliament in what mode they proposed to exercise those powers. A Bill dealing with a subject of that importance ought not to be read a second time after midnight and in a thin House. The hon. and learned Member was proceeding, when Notice taken, that Forty Members were not present; House counted; and Forty Members not being present,

House adjourned at half-after Twelve o'clock.