HC Deb 21 February 1862 vol 165 cc600-1

said, he desired to ask the First Commissioner of Works, Whether there was any early prospect of the improvement of Leicester-square. Leicester-square was certainly not a fashionable quarter, but he had felt considerable shame, as an inhabitant of this City, at the state in which the square at present stood. It was worse than that of any place in any other city in the world that he knew of. The past history of the square had been a very mysterious matter. Since the statue, once erected as a memorial of one of our monarchs, had disappeared, and the large building at present standing had been erected, heaps of ashes, mixed with rags and shavings, and other decayed matters had been allowed to accumulate there. Foreigners were likely soon to visit that locality, and they would consider it perfectly fabulous that, while enormous sums were expended in sanitary improvements under ground, such an amount of rotting rubbish should be allowed to remain on the surface. It was I really a matter in which some steps should be taken with a view to removing the nuisance.


said, he quite agreed with the hon. Baronet that the appearance of Leicester-square was not such as could be desired for the head-quarters of foreigners; it had long been the stigma and opprobrium of the metropolis. The case was mysterious, and he was afraid he could not give any satisfactory account I of it. It appeared that there was some doubt as to the legal estate in the soil,; but some time since all the parties having rights over the square consented to the erection of a building, which they were told would be temporary and ornamental. A building had been erected, which certainly was not ornamental, and did not appear to be temporary; for although the lease had expired, there were yet no; signs of its removal. The Crown had no power to interfere, and he could, therefore, hold out no prospect of an alteration of the present discreditable state of things. He should regret that any square should be built upon, and had rather that the owners, imitating the example of the benchers of the Temple, should afford to the public opportunities of enjoying the advantages afforded by these open spaces.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

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